Adoption Now!

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.



4 Replies to “Adoption Now!”

  1. Just read this & agree this just what is needed, up an till now I had not sure what the difference is between Hornet & NLC, which I also support.
    I live in Canterbury where these estates you describe are appearing everywhere.
    Taylor Wimpey have just started a estate 500 houses & flats, a new scam which they are introducing is that the freehold houses don’t own the front garden, instead it is owned by First Port ensuring a never ending income stream, this information is not being explained to new buyers.
    I have contacted local council who were not aware of this scam, & e mailed local papers.
    I believe this could be the new model for Taylor Wimpey which needs to be stopped,
    What more do you think I can do ?

    1. HorNet’s primary focus is estate charges, which affect both leasehold and “fleecehold” homes, NLC primarily is campaigning for the abolition of leasehold across the board and we support them in this. There are many people who belong to both groups.
      Thanks for commenting and highlighting this front garden device. We have heard from other members of similar arrangements, all in the interest of future control and income stream for the land and property industry. We don’t think it is a new tactic, but please continue to make a fuss – every single piece of action taken by members all adds up – even if there seems to be no immediate response!

  2. Despite there being a sec38 bond between Linden homes and the council to adopt the roads, they haven’t as yet. The estate has been completed for approx 2 years, but they are coming up with excuses as to why it has not happened yet. I suspect that the longer they allow it to continue under the developers control, the more the developers, the management company and the council benefit financially, leaving the residents at the mercy of what must be the worst management company, FirstPort. Even if the council do adopt, it still leaves residents tied to this awful company for management/non management of the playground area, which in itself is a battle and a total rip off.
    A letter from FirstPort to residents is alarming us because after explaining that our payments are credited to an interest bearing bank account, which is independent of FirstPorts trading accounts, it goes on to say “as with all bank accounts, if the account goes into overdraft, the bank will charge interest, which unfortunately has to be paid for as part of the service charge.”
    Am I to understand that because of incompetence on their part, we could all receive bills for god knows how much? Surely this cannot be legal!!
    Any advice or comment on this would be welcome, as we are about to hold a residents meeting to discuss all this.

  3. Our estate was completed 2001. Took years for the roads to be adopted.

    I’ve only recently registered on Firstport website to find that up to 2016 we were being billed for blocked drains! That we have a communal septic tank?! I pay Thames water for sewerage fees! What this is about I don’t know. Must have stopped now as other neighbours had to pay private contractors to deal . Very confused . Any insight anyone?

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