Introduction

The Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM) is an organisation that represents most of the managers of private retirement housing in England and Wales, including registered social landlords and private companies. Private retirement housing means leasehold (and some freehold) residential properties specifically designed and designated for older people. Private retirement housing is housing for sale at a premium, and differs from rented sheltered housing in this respect.

The overriding objective of the ARHM is to promote high standards of practice and ethics in the management of retirement housing. To this end, the ARHM has published a Code of Practice setting out the standards required of its members. The Code has been approved by the Government as the benchmark for good management of private retirement housing.

Therefore when you contact us please be prepared to be very clear which section or sections you consider the organisation has breached.

What you need to know about the way we handle complaints

  • Our main focus in dealing with complaints about our members is the Code of Practice. We will consider your complaint if you believe that an ARHM member has breached the Code.
  • Any complaint you make should preferably be in writing and can be made by letter or email. However if you feel it more appropriate to speak about the matter then please telephone 020 7463 0660.
  • Whatever way you do make a complaint it needs to be specific about the parts of the Code of Practice that you consider have been breached.
  • All ARHM members agree to make a copy of the Code available to residents at all retirement schemes they manage. Ask your scheme manager for a copy. Or you can order a copy by ringing 020 7463 0660 or download a copy free of charge from our website.
  • We will only consider a complaint about a manager that is currently a member of the ARHM. If you are not sure please telephone our office on 020 7463 0660 or look on our website at www.arhm.org.
  • We will normally only consider a complaint if it has already been dealt with through the complaints procedure of the ARHM member. All of our members are required to have a fair complaints procedure and this should be used before turning to the ARHM.
  • We will not normally consider a complaint if it is currently being dealt with or has been dealt with by another relevant dispute procedure e.g. AGE UK, a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, the Housing Ombudsman Service.
  • Depending upon the nature of the complaint received we may decide it should be referred to an alternative dispute resolution procedure such as an ombudsman, mediation or tribunal. We will explain our reasons if this is so. If you are not happy with this approach we will discuss the matter with you, consider your views and reach a final decision about whether this is the most appropriate means of handling your complaint.
  • We will not consider anonymous complaints. We will consider requests to withhold your name if the matter could still be pursued in a fair and appropriate manner.
  • Any correspondence sent to the ARHM in support of or in reply to a complaint, will be copied to the other party involved.

Stages of the Complaints Procedure

Stage 1

  • If a complaint is received that the ARHM can consider as set out in section 2 above, then your correspondence will be copied to the ARHM member with a request for a full response to the ARHM within 21 days.
  • If a response is received from the ARHM member that the matter has been resolved, or actions have been or will be taken to satisfy the complainant, the ARHM will write to you with copy correspondence and ask if you are satisfied with the ARHM member’s reply. You should reply within 21 days. If no reply is received within 21 days, the complaint will be closed.
  • If you are still not satisfied, the complaint will be referred to the Standards Committee of the ARHM. At least two members of the Standards Committee will consider the complaint within 21 days unless there are exceptional circumstances. No member of the Standards Committee who is employed by a member which is the subject of a complaint, shall be involved in decisions about that complaint.
  • We will advise you of what we propose to do and provide a timescale if a full response will take longer. If there are several exchanges of correspondence about the complaint target dates for final submissions may be given, and no papers will be accepted within 7 days of the meeting of the Standards Committee to deal with the complaint.
  • The ARHM will then write to the complainant and the ARHM member with its decision.

Stage 2

  • Within 21 days of being notified of the decision of the Standards Committee, either you or the ARHM member, or both, may write appealing against the decision.
  • An appeal will be determined by an Appeals Panel,of two or more members of theBoard of Directorsof the ARHM who are not members of the Standards Committee, generally within 6 weeks of the receipt of a letter requesting it.
  • At the discretion of the Appeals Panel the complainant and the ARHM member may be asked to present their views face to face to the Panel or by telephone, as well as by written documents.
  • The decision of the Appeals Panel shall be final

What Sanctions does the ARHM have against its Members?

The aim of the ARHM is to improve standards of management. So our approach is to ask the member to put matters right. This includes changing their policy or practice to prevent a similar situation recurring.

We do not have the capacity to award compensation to residents whose complaints are well founded. We do have the ability when appropriate to discipline members and as a last resort to expel them from the ARHM.