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Decision to regulate event fees welcomed by retirement community operators

April 1, 2019

A government decision to regulate event fees in the retirement housing sector has been welcomed by the Associated Retirement Community Operators (ARCO).

In late March, the Government announced that it had accepted the Law Commission’s recommendations on event fees, aimed at ensuring high levels of transparency and clarity for consumers.

This concludes two years of work by the Law Commission and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the event fees issue, on which many retirement community operators rely for their long-term business models providing housing, lifestyle, care and support services to older people.

Event fees, more correctly known as deferred fees, allow operators to reduce and control upfront and ongoing costs for residents by using some of the equity in a property when it is sold on. They are a very common feature of the retirement community sectors in mature markets like New Zealand and Australia.

“The Government is right to demand high standards of transparency on fees and charges,” said ARCO in a statement following the announcement.

“Any quality operator will welcome the announcement on deferred fees. Consumer protection and confidence need to be at the heart of the retirement community sector as it expands significantly over the coming years.

“ARCO has long argued for higher levels of transparency on all fees and charges, including deferred fees. We will now redouble and intensify our efforts to help make sure that these are implemented so that older people can make fully informed decisions about retirement living.

“Other countries have dedicated retirement community acts that safeguard the rights of customers – the UK does not. However, this announcement is a step in the right direction as we work towards sector-specific legislation for retirement communities in the UK.”

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