July 21, 2024

‘You are all barrack-room lawyers with too much time on your hands’ – says ARHM president

At the House of Lords debate on Monday, Baroness Greengross, a Crossbencher peer and the president of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers trade body, caused outrage by claiming complaining pensioners in retirement developments were “barrack-room laywers” with too much time on their hands.

“She has a nerve,” said Julia Scott, who lives in North West London. “Her own organisation has been a fig leaf for rapacious practices for years, with a code of practice with fine-sounding words that are in fact almost entirely discretionary.

“The first question to ask it is: where does its money come from and, then, who pays it? The answer is pretty obvious to all who live in retirement developments.”

Baroness Greengross
Baroness Greengross said many complaints in retirement developments could be dealt with by a mediation scheme, as if the huge sums involved in stealth charges and assorted rip-offs were trifling.
“It is difficult, not least for the providers of schemes, who are dealing with people who are often prepared to spend 12 or more hours a day focusing on those issues and who can make amazing barrack-room lawyers – I do not want to be insulting – because they have so much time to concentrate on that. So it is a difficult as well as an important issue.
“Housing designed for older people whose needs change as they age faces an almost built-in conflict of interest. They need more services as they age, so the costs are going to rise as more care is provided.
“Their income tends to be less over the years. They wish to reduce the cost but they need more services. Older and frailer residents are more costly, so when residents manage the schemes themselves they may wish to sell to active, fit and therefore younger people.
”You could express what you think about this to her at greengrosss@parliament.uk (provided you have the time, that is).