March 1, 2024

Your chance to say what you think about retirement housing before September 18

The government has launched a call for evidence in the retirement housing community, with responses in by a deadline of 18 September.

Please respond here: oph@levellingup.gov.uk And please copy your responses in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold reform, perhaps including your own MP: appg@leaseholdknowledge.com

The task force, headed by Professor Julienne Meyer, who began her career in nursing, will last for 12 months and consider:

the appropriate level of older people’s housing
the enablers and barriers to growth of supply and
options to increase the range and choice of specialised housing available to older people

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/older-peoples-housing-taskforce

The provision of private retirement housing in England and Wales has been entangled in the failings of the leasehold system.

There have been two Office of Fair Trading investigations. One into exit fees squirreled into leases with no services of any kind attached – now discredited, and discontinued by retirement housebuilders – and a second into a collusive tendering racket run by Peverel / FirstPort, the largest property management company in the country, to cheat retirement sites into buying new door entry systems from its own subsidiary Cirrus.

There have also been numerous court cases, some involving right to manage applications, and the utterly dismal resale values of retirement properties on the Land Registry has been reported in the media on many occasions:

Families suffer as values of retirement homes plummet

Tens of thousands of families have seen their inheritances decimated after elderly relatives paid inflated prices for new retirement homes that have collapsed in value, an investigation by The Times has found. Prices of retirement flats in developments built by some of Britain’s biggest housebuilder

Neither LKP nor the APPG were invited to take part in the task force, although there are chief executives of retirement community housebuilders, housing associations, assorted lobbyists, some local councillors and academics, and the Home Builders Federation, which prominently called for a retention of ground rents.

Apart from AgeUK, which once had an effective retirement housing team, there is no consumer group represented of any kind, let alone any actual residents.

The remit of the Task Force is explained:

“Currently there are 12.4 million people in Great Britain aged over 65 (18% of the population). By 2041, this is projected to rise to 20.4 million (26% of the population). But many older people live in homes that do not support them to live a safe, healthy and independent later life. We want to address that and ensure that all older people have access to appropriate and attractive housing solutions – now and in the future.

“The Older People’s Housing Taskforce has been set up to further understand the market in England for older people’s housing today and make recommendations for shaping it in the future – particularly for those of lower and middle incomes. This includes broadening provision and choice for older people, including supporting them to continue living in their current home if they wish to do so. The taskforce will also examine the issues faced by older people when seeking to move into more appropriate or specialist housing, and how these can be addressed.”

The first two issues the Task Force seeks to understand are: What are the most important issues the taskforce should seek to address? (maximum 250 words) Do you have specific recommendations for the taskforce to consider? (maximum 250 words)