When we first started networking together 2 1/2 years ago, we knew what we didn’t want. That is to be unfairly exploited by being forced to pay inflated estate charges to either predatory private companies or inept housing associations. The deeper we dug, the more horrifying the story for ordinary home owners, who were nearly all totally uninformed of what they were buying in to.
Now we are nearly 4000 strong and have learned so much from each other about how privately owned managed estates are being run.
We now know that it is not just about the home owners suffering from these unjustified charges, but that if estates are not put up for adoption, their construction is sub-standard and home owners are left to foot the bill for un-remedied liabilities. We also know that in spite of the large sums being levied for maintenance, the standard of service is low. The long term outcome is inevitably run down badly maintained estates. Predictably, homes will not gain value and will be harder to sell than “normal” homes which are not on a privately owned managed estate.
We have learned too from leasehold home owners that regulation does not work well in the interests of ordinary people who aspire to own their home.
Many HorNet members have worked hard to try to unravel this mess they are in. They have spoken to their Local Planning Authorities who granted permission for this model in the first place and have been told that they cannot compel the land owner (usually the developer) to put the land up for adoption. Councils are also not prepared to stick their necks out and refuse the developers recommendation for a private estate when they are in competition with other councils to deliver quantities of new builds.
The only measure which we all feel will address the inequity of the situation and the poor quality of estate development is to make it compulsory that new build estates are built to adoption standards and also put up for adoption unless there is a compelling reason, such as the developer not owning the land.
This is the ideal, the “gold standard” which we aspire to. A recent petition, set up by a local councillor calling for compulsory adoption has been signed by over 11,000 people with huge support from our campaign.
We don’t want to be left with the estates which have already been built as “second class citizens”. A robust remedy must be put in place for them too. Since both property developers and Local Authorities are responsible for our plight, we argue that the developers or their successors in title should be requires to pass the land to the residents who may then wish to put it up for compulsory sub standard adoption, or manage it themselves if they wish to continue with an established Residents’ Management Company.