It can be read here. Please do comment on it (and here, of course).
Written by Fleet Street veteran Liz Hodgkinson, the article addresses the points raised by Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation – which every would-be buyer of these products should be aware of.
Sadly, too many families buy retirement flats in a hurry to address an immediate crisis.
Only afterwards do they become aware, as Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation points out, that they could have made “the single worst financial investment you ever make”.
The PR men for the housebuilders, the property managers, the assorted trade bodies etc will say that Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation’s concerns are either exaggerated or largely addressed.
But if they are right, why does Carflex get 300-400 visitors every day; why have there been two Office of Fair Trading investigations – and one ruling of collusive tendering by Peverel / Cirrus – why the court cases, and the parliamentary debates?
Why does Peverel / FirstPort own a portfolio of house managers’ flats, with leases created in 2009?
These were in sites built in the 1980s and 1990s, and the flats were a communal asset for which the residents paid, just like the passageways and hall.
In December 2013 the OFT ruled protractedly and pathetically – it took four years and Peverel was absurdly given “leniency” – that lucrative contracts were doled out to Cirrus at Peverel sites after a sham tendering process.
Since then nothing has been done to avoid a repetition of that scandal.
Freeholders of retirement sites fight to the last to avoid handing over the management to the residents through right to manage.
The Telegraph has at last asked the right questions and they cannot be ignored – as has been the case hitherto – in discussions about retirement housing.
On a personal note, I thank Liz Hodgkinson for this article.
When I was at the Mail, she came to me with the story of retirement flats being on the market in north Oxford (the fancy part) for £15,000.
This alerted me to inquire into the wider scandals of retirement housing provision.