In the light of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and continuous industry change, everyone could be forgiven for overlooking the imminent change to the Code.
The management of retirement housing relies on the Code which is published by the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM). The ARHM comprises 55 members with a cumulative portfolio of 105,000 units and the Code, approved by government in 2005, is designed to promote best management practice in the retirement sector.
The Code applies to both private companies and housing associations and sets out the statutory obligations for housing managers. The Code also forms a benchmark for the First Tier Tribunal in the exercise of its role in adjudicating retirement housing disputes. However, this valuable resource for both housing managers and leaseholders is soon to change.
The Approval of Code of Management Practice (Private Retirement Housing) (England) Order 2016 comes into force on 1 June 2016 putting into effect ARHM’s new code of practice - the Private Retirement Housing Code of Practice – England (the New Code). The first copies of the New Code will be available at ARHM’s event on 7 June 2016 to launch the New Code and we understand that copies will be also available to the public from 7 June.
Unfortunately, there is minimal information on what the New Code will address. However, the recent draft amendments to the Code on ARHM’s website suggest that further provisions relating to the tendering process may be inserted. The New Code may contain additional obligations on housing managers on how they receive and action tenders for long term service contracts. This would certainly align with recent price fixing litigation in the sector.
This is, of course, speculation about the potential changes and we urge housing associations to carefully monitor ARHM’s website for the release of the New Code on, or shortly after, 7 June 2016.