Developers are not offering estate land and amenities up for adoption, so are free to construct sub standard roads, paths, sewers and landscaping. This saves them a great deal of money. Although there may be agreements about standards via local authority planning departments, the developers know cash strapped councils will not enforce them. We end up with estates constructed to a much lower standard than if they were going to be adopted.
After the builders move off, the land is handed over to their choice of managing agent. Are these agents taking steps to ensure the estate is constructed to a good standard, asking for guarantees or indemnity insurance? We do not believe they are. Why should they, they want more future custom from the developers and they will not be footing the bill for remedial work, the home owners will.
We are already hearing of examples of estates where there have been additional large expenses for remedial work due to poor quality construction.
We believe that more questions should be asked about the handover process. There is a huge conflict of interest and lack of independent scrutiny. It is often the case that the managing agent is chosen by the developer before the first home is built – a rather cosy relationship set up before a Residents Management Company (if there is one) could have any say in the matter.
In the long run, this issue could well turn out to be the most important defect in the private estate model.