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The NPPF Consultation: delivery of the homes people want and need, including seniors housing

The Government issued a consultation in December 2022 about its proposed changes to the NPPF. These represent the first set of changes to the NPPF that the Government intends to make in order to reflect its levelling-up agenda, and will be followed by a wider review once it has implemented its proposals for wider changes to the planning system, including the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.

Reforming shared ownership in the senior living sector

In the first of 3 briefings looking into the range of tenures available for use in developing new retirement accommodation schemes, this piece discusses the report published this month by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People called: ‘Making retirement living affordable: the role of shared ownership housing'.  The report results from an enquiry set up by the group in December 2021, supported by a panel of 6 independent members from both the profit and not-for-profit housing sectors, to investigate whether the shared ownership model could help make high-quality retirement housing in England accessible to a much larger market than the other main options of purchasing properties outright or renting from a social housing provider.

Are you ready for the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022?

Landlords, operators and managers of buildings in England that contain 2 or more residential units which share communal spaces will be impacted by the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (the "Regulations") that come into effect on 23 January 2023. They are laid under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 ("Fire Safety Order"), and implement the majority of the recommendations set out in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report.

Scanning the Real Estate horizon: look before you leap!

In this briefing we look at some of the key changes to law and practice that we anticipate taking place in 2023 which will affect the real estate sector, focussing on real estate development, real estate investment, real estate M&A, real estate occupiers, the senior living sector and the private rental sector.

A second bite at the cherry: Governmental consults again on the design of the Building Safety Levy

We reported last summer on the Government's 2021 consultation about the design and implementation of the Building Safety Levy (the "Levy"). It is intended to contribute to the costs of anticipated building safety expenditure to ensure that neither the taxpayer nor tenants have to pay for the remediation of safety defects in the existing high-rise housing stock. Since that consultation, the scope of the Levy has expanded to apply to all new residential developments that require building control approval (with a few exceptions). The Building Safety Act 2022 has also been enacted, section 58 of which gives the Secretary of State broad powers to raise a Levy on any in-scope building.

Care homes administration fees: exploitative practice or reasonable reimbursement?

Is it reasonable for care home operators to charge new residents an administration fee on admission, separate from the costs of care or accommodation? Do fees of this sort merely compensate care home operators for the internal costs incurred in managing the personalised admission of a new resident, or are they unfair charges which take advantage of the stress and complexities of arranging residential care? 

Beware of the LifeCare decision

The decision in the LifeCare appeal (APP/X5210/W/18/3198746 10 June 2019), in which the Planning Inspectorate held that future income should be included in a viability analysis, adds further fuel to the fire about how various kinds of retirement living and elderly accommodation, with or without care services, are classified under planning law, and the impact that this will have on the viability of such developments.

In a class of their own? The continuing care-home conundrum

The question of which use class applies to a care-home for the elderly or others in need of care has been addressed once more in a recent Cornish appeal decision, in which dwellings for over-55s were classified as C3 rather than C2, despite being intended for occupiers needing a minimum of two hours of care per week. This is subtly distinguished on its facts from a case in Devon last year, and highlights the need for national planning policy to classify care-homes as either a flexible C3-C2 use, or within a use class of its own.

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