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Law Commission Review of Events Fees

 

  • 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.”

 

Ends

Notes to editors:

 

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. For more information: Please contact Michael Voges, ARCO’s Executive Director on 0203 697 1204 or at michaelvoges@arcouk.org.
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Older people’s housing comes of age

 

  • Housing white paper recognises need for serious debate on housing for older people
  • Many older people wish to downsize but face acute shortage of suitable properties
  • Encouraging supply gives older people choice, frees up homes, and eases pressures on mid-life carers and social care services

Today’s housing white paper was characterised by incremental improvements. Perhaps the most significant development is the white paper’s clear and consistent focus on the housing needs of older people, says ARCO, the trade body for retirement communities.

Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, said: “The housing white paper finally gives older people’s housing and support needs the attention they deserve. We welcome the government’s commitment to exploring ways of stimulating the market to deliver new homes for older people. This should free up homes for younger families wishing to trade up.

Retirement communities provide supportive environments and enable older people to live independently for longer. Increasing supply will also benefit the ‘sandwich generation’ caught between work or childcare commitments and caring for their older relatives. Taken together, these measures represent an important step in the right direction, towards a housing market fit for the future.”

Thirty-three per cent of over 60s would like to downsize if suitable properties were available, but many retirement communities (providing care and support) operate long waiting lists owing to shortage of supply.

The white paper spells out that planning authorities will need clear policies to meet the housing requirements of older people. In addition, the government has signalled its intention to explore ways to stimulate the market to deliver new homes for older people, including models of housing with support.

“The government has clearly recognised the need to increase housing supply for older people. We now need to move from conversation to construction, and start building homes that older people so desperately need,” said Michael Voges.

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

  1. Retirement communities, also known as housing-with-care or extra care developments, enable older people to buy or rent homes with access to on-site amenities and domiciliary care if needed.
  2. ARCO – Associated Retirement Community Operators –  has 28 members (both private and not-for-profit), who together make up 50% of the UK’s retirement community market. Please see http://arcouk.org/ and http://helptomove.org.uk/
  3. A Demos report found that 33% of over 60s would like to downsize if suitable retirement homes were available. If just half of those interested in downsizing were able to, 4 million older people could free up 3.5 million family sized homes. https://www.demos.co.uk/publications/topoftheladder
  4. Prevalence estimates of ‘sandwich caring’ vary but current indicators are that up to 10% of the population provide sandwich care. 84% of sandwich carers are women. Please see http://www.cpa.org.uk/information/reviews/CPA-Rapid-Review-Older-and-sandwich-generation-carers-and-the-impact-of-caring-review-and-references.pdf
  5. Research shows that residents in retirement communities experience better wellbeing and resilience than those in general needs housing. They are less likely to enter hospital and residential caring institutions, and overall likely to spend less time in hospital, compared to those in the community. See http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/establishing_the_extra_in_extra_care_perspectives_from_three_extra_care_hou and http://www.aston.ac.uk/lhs/research/centres-facilities/archa/extracare-project/
  6. Michael Voges is available for interview. Please contact Sarah Mindham on 020 3697 1204 (sarahmindham@arcouk.org) or Michael Voges on 07415 985 985.
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ARCO Response to Autumn Statement 2016

In response to today’s Autumn Statement, Michael Voges, ARCO’s Executive Director, makes the following statement:

“We are disappointed by the lack of attention given to older people’s housing and care in today’s Autumn Statement. Between 2014 and 2030, the number of people aged 65 and over is predicted to rise by 38%, and the number of people aged 75 and over is set to rise by 53%. This will impact on all of us.

If they are serious about building a ‘housing market that works for everyone’, the Government must now use the next Spending Review and forthcoming Housing White Paper to give the housing and care needs of our ageing population the attention it deserves.

Increasing the support for older people’s housing and care is a win-win for all generations: it efficiently frees up family homes, eases pressure on our struggling health and care systems, and enables older people, their families and carers to live happier, more active and less isolated lives.

ARCO are calling for:

  • planning changes including a clarification that housing-with-care developments should always be built under the C2 use class, and clearer enforcement of the principle that local plans need to take proper account of the ‘critical’ housing needs of older people; and
  • continued support for social rented supported housing and preventative benefits for older disabled people.”

Ends

Notes for editors

1. The Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO) is the main body representing the retirement community sector in the UK. There are currently 27 ARCO members, representing more than 400 retirement communities and over 50 per cent of all housing-with-care schemes in the UK. ARCO members include both private providers and not-for-profit providers.

Retirement communities combine high quality housing options for older people with tailored support services. Unlike care homes, they allow residents to rent or own a property and to maintain their privacy and independence. But in contrast to traditional retirement housing, they also offer the reassurance of 24-hour on-site staff, communal facilities (which could include dining options, leisure facilities, gyms or pools) and optional on-site care and support as needed. Retirement communities may also be referred to as retirement villages, extra care housing, housing-with-care, assisted living schemes, very sheltered housing, or close care.

2. Between 2014 and 2030, the number of people aged 65 and over is predicted to rise by 38%, and the number of people aged 75 and over is set to rise by 53%. Source: ONS 2014-based National Population Projections, Published October 2015.

3. Owing to their unique service offer, research has found that retirement communities reduce social isolation, and residents in retirement communities are around half as lonely as those living in the community. They are also healthier, and are half as likely to enter institutional accommodation such as care homes, compared to those in general needs accommodation. This benefits individuals, their families, and reduces pressure on struggling health and social care services.

Please see: Beach, B. (2015) ‘Village Life, Independence, Loneliness, and Quality of Life in Retirement Villages with Extra Care’. International Longevity Centre, London http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/village_life_independence_loneliness_and_quality_of_life_in_retirement_vill and Kneale, D. (2011) ‘Establishing the extra in Extra Care: Perspectives from three Extra Care Housing Providers’. International Longevity Centre, London http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/establishing_the_extra_in_extra_care_perspectives_from_three_extra_care_hou

4. A recent Demos report found that if all those interested in ‘rightsizing’ into a retirement property were able to do so, research suggests that about 3.29 million properties would be released, including nearly 2 million three-bedroom homes. See: Wood, C (2013) Top of the Ladder. https://www.demos.co.uk/files/TopoftheLadder-web.pdf?1378922386 

For more information please contact Maia Beresford, Policy and External Affairs Manager (maiaberesford@arcouk.org or 0203 697 1204) or Michael Voges, ARCO Executive Director (0203 697 1204)

 

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Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries please contact:

Michael Voges
07415 985 985
michaelvoges@arcouk.org