On April 28 there will be a Carlex roundtable on retirement housing at Westminster.
The purpose is inform MPs of the issues in retirement housing, and to suggest how it could be further improved.
There have already been shifts in position by retirement housebuilders: 999 year leases are becoming more widespread, and some retirement providers are giving residents a (minority) stake in the management company.
There are also interesting new entrants to the sector, either from abroad or from the care providers. Both mark a change with the standard offering from volume housebuilders.
MPs and other key stakeholders will hear from two guest speakers at the roundtable.
Bob Bessell, founder of housebuilder Retirement Security, which has built 1,600 retirement flats across the country, will explain why he believes that leaseholders must control the sites where they live.
All his sites have been established with residents’ management companies in the leases. This means the people with the biggest financial stake in a site make the decisions concerning its management.
The other guest speaker is Professor Peter Wilson, who with his neighbours raised £2 million to buy out their retirement village after the developer went bust before it was completed.
The result is that Woodchester Valley Village, outside Stroud, is the first mutually owned retirement village in the country.
It can be run entirely by and for the benefit of the residents without all the habitual trappings of leasehold ownership: high ground rents; short leases; predatory service charges; handing maintenance contracts to related companies; monopoly estate agency; freehold owned offshore in a tax haven and all the rest.
We thank both Bob and Professor Wilson for taking part.