Belfast Telegraph

Ensure you read the small print when it comes to care

The contract we signed specified payment of "community fees" of £1,500, which is a one-off contribution towards the maintenance of shared areas.

I now find that other residents are not charged the community fee.

I have complained to the care home but it refuses to answer my questions about how many residents pay the community fee. I also find that not all the residents pay the same for each room. The home, however, says that this depends on location and size. What can I do? AN

We can see no reason why the care home cannot negotiate different charges according to residents' needs or ability to pay.

Indeed, it is common for private paying residents of homes to be charged more than local authorities, which may negotiate lower prices for a group of residents.

Care homes are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, but it is responsible for regulating the quality of homes, not their prices. Given the high cost of residential care, it is important to negotiate properly before agreeing the contract and its terms. We offered to take the matter up with the care home concerned, but warned this could create problems for your relative.

You have accepted this view, and therefore not provided us with the name and address of the home.