- The Law Commission is advocating for greater regulation of event fees – it has set out a number of transparency and disclosure requirements that operators will need to comply with.
- The Law Commission is urging the government to crack down on rogue landlords who are not transparently disclosing event fees.
In response to today’s Law Commission report on Events Fees in Retirement Properties, Michael Voges, ARCO’s Executive Director, makes the following statement:
“ARCO has been saying for years that we need more regulation on event fees, not less, so we are very supportive of the proposals to add statutory requirements for the disclosure of event fees. It’s been long overdue, and we believe that an event fee that has not been transparently disclosed should not be charged.
In other countries, event fees are a well-established mechanism that can enable older people to use their housing equity to ‘enjoy now and pay later’, for example by reducing their service charge or deferring some of the costs of building communal facilities. We believe that the Law Commission’s reforms will lead to increased supply of specialist housing that addresses the housing and care needs of our ageing population.
ARCO already runs a Consumer Code scheme, which we assess our members against, and this includes clarity up front about event fees. However, this is only applicable to our members and thus not compulsory for organisations outside of ARCO. Therefore, we support the Law Commission’s proposals to make disclosure compulsory, as we believe this will increase consumer protection and thus confidence in the sector.
As an additional step, we would like to encourage the Government and Law Commission to introduce additional regulation in the form of a Retirement Communities Act or similar, like we see in other countries.”
Notes to editors:
- About ARCO: ARCO (the Associated Retirement Community Operators) is the trade associations of operators of housing-with-care developments for older people, comprised of 28 private and not-for-profit operators of retirement communities. (Please note that we do not represent the more traditional retirement housing model, where no care is delivered.)
- About retirement communities: Retirement communities are designed with the needs of older people in mind. They typically consist of individual one or two bedroom flats or small houses, located in a community of similar properties. Residents have access to a range of services and facilities, which will usually include optional on-site care, 24-hour staffing, and dining and leisure facilities, and may also include bars, gyms and craft rooms. Retirement communities are also sometimes referred to as retirement villages; extra care housing; housing-with-care; assisted living; close care apartments; or independent living apartments. They sit in between traditional retirement homes (which have less extensive staffing and leisure facilities) and care homes.
- Benefits of retirement communities:
- Meeting the needs of an ageing population: Older people need and want choice in their housing for later life. However, at present housing options for older people are limited. Retirement communities are an important element of housing choice for older people. Developing the capacity of the retirement community sector is vital to ensuring that the UK’s housing market is fit to meet the needs of an ageing population.
- Promoting independence, security and wellbeing: Older people living in retirement communities are likely to experience lower levels of loneliness and social isolation. A 2014 study by the International Longevity Centre found that 82% of respondents in retirement communities said they hardly or never felt isolated, and only 1% often felt isolated.
- Reducing costs and encouraging more efficient use of resources: Residents in retirement communities are able to receive specialist care in their homes if needed, enabling them to return home from hospital earlier. They are also less likely to enter hospital. For example, one way in which retirement communities improve health is by preventing falls. Retirement community properties are designed and built with adaptations to support independence and research shows that those living in these specialist homes are between 1.5 and 2.8 times less likely to have a fall than those living in homes without adaptations. This helps to reduce pressure on NHS services. A recent study found that NHS costs were reduced by 38% for those moving into retirement village housing and NHS costs for ‘frail’ residents had reduced by 51.5% after 12 months.
- Responding to the housing shortage: Older people moving to a retirement community will typically ‘downsize’, freeing up much needed and under-occupied family sized homes. If all those interested in moving into a retirement property were able to do so, research suggests that approximately 3.29 million properties would be released, including nearly 2 million three-bedroom homes.
- For more information: Please contact Michael Voges, ARCO’s Executive Director on 0203 697 1204 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.