Housing: Older People

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Altmann Baroness Altmann Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the problems facing owners of retirement properties who are unable to sell such property; and whether councils are able to rent such properties to house older eligible individuals in need of housing.

Photo of Lord Greenhalgh Lord Greenhalgh Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government recognises the benefits of specialist retirement housing, however, we are aware that some owners of retirement properties have experienced difficulties in selling or renting their properties due to a range of factors.

The Law Commission published a report in 2017 of their review of event fees in retirement properties. The Government responded to the Law Commission in March 2019, agreeing to implement the majority of the recommendations.

We would encourage all prospective purchasers of retirement homes to take legal advice on their purchase and ensure they understand any restrictions on the use or sale of the property. The Government’s How to Buy Guide (attached) has further advice on what to look out for when buying specialist retirement properties.

Where existing covenants are preventing the property being sold or rented there are a variety of potential remedies and the owner should take their own legal advice. For instance - it may be possible to vary or reduce restrictions through an application to the land tribunal.

Local authorities and housing associations already provide specialist accommodation for older and disabled people who are in need of it. The Government is committed to increasing the supply of affordable housing and has recently confirmed the details of £12.2 billion of investment. This includes a new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme providing up to 180,000 new homes across the country, should economic conditions allow, and 10% of delivery will be used to increase the supply of specialist or supported housing.

How to buy guide (pdf, 957.0KB)

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