Law Commission publish analysis of responses to consultation on event fees

Thursday 02 June 2016

On 25 May 2016 the Law Commission published analysis of the responses received to their Consultation Paper on Residential Leases: Fees on Transfer of Title, change of Occupancy and Other Events. The Law Commission received 168 responses to the consultation including a submission from the NAEA.

As previously highlighted by the NAEA to members via Property Professional magazine and NAEA newsletter, event fees are common in specialist housing for older people. Smaller event fees are found in simpler retirement flats. A higher percentage fee is payable in full-service retirement villages where there may be a gym, swimming pool and 24-hour care available on site.

Event fees can allow people to use some of their housing wealth to pay for a higher standard of living in their later years. However, evidence shows a lack of transparency about such fees in the sales process.

The Law Commission’s analysis highlighted key areas the NAEA mentioned in its response to the consultation. These include:

On line database
The Law Commissions’ proposal that one way to make information about event fees available to estate agents would be to require the landlord to establish an online database of properties with such information. NAEA supports this proposal as do the Law Society and the TPO. We think that a public database would allow for transparency as well as accessibility over information for the prospective purchaser concerning event fees.

Disclosure document
The Law Commission proposed that when prospective purchasers first visit the property they should be given a disclosure document that details information about all the event fees applying to the property including explaining their effect, alternative options and give contact details for advice organisations. NAEA is in favour of including contact details of advice organisations including local authority trading standards services, Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice Bureau.

Face-to-face discussions
The Law Commission asked when a retirement lease is sold through the vendor’s estate agent, how far agents and managers hold face-to-face discussions with prospective purchasers. The Law Commission received 24 responses which reflected varied practices among landlords and managing agents.

NAEA said many specialist retirement houses are marketed by the developers or advertised by local estate agents. Prospective purchasers can contact sales teams directly to receive further information and/or set up a meeting with the manager of the development.

The need for Reform
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) support the Law Commission’s view that in order to comply with the Consumer Protection Regulations 2008, disclosure of event fees ought to be made in advertisements, viewings and meetings at the estate agent’s office.

>> READ THE 65-PAGE ANALYSIS DOCUMENT IN FULL <<

The Law Commission aim to publish a progress report drawing on the consultation responses in Summer 2016.

NAEA are pleased to provide our views on this important issue. If you have information about event fees that you would like to share with us please contact Tim Douglas, NAEA Policy and Campaigns Officer timdouglas@naea.co.uk