Say Your Piece Update

The CMA team looking into the housebuilding market have advised us that they welcome evidence from home buyers past present and future describing their specific stories. Please write in ASAP to have your evidence considered. The investigation is in to the way this market works and not focused on any particular company.

Email to housebuilding@cma.gov.uk

We Suggest the Subject Line of: Evidence on Estate Charges

Attach relevant documents – small files if possible.

Remember someone has to read it and analyse the content so try to be concise.

You need to put in some basic details, your name and address, the name of the developer, management company and managing agent. When you bought into this, and how long you have been charged. Fake freehold or leasehold??

Tell them your story. You don’t need to use all of this – just what applies to your situation or is important to you.

Start with what you were told in the sales office.

Was your property described as freehold?

What were you told about the estate charge? Was it described as a service charge, or what?

Was it glossed over/minimised?

What did you know about it at the time of reservation?

Did you reserve your plot based on a sketchy (or no) description of the estate charge like “a small charge to cut the grass”?

Were you persuaded to use the builders recommended solicitor? If so how did they convince you?

Were you put under pressure (positive or negative) to exchange contracts quickly?

What did your solicitor/conveyancer tell you about the charges?

Did you know the full extent of the liability you were signing up to, or did you think it was just grass cutting?

If you have a rent charge, were you told this is a charge on the property, and that it could be repossessed if you defaulted on payment for any reason?

Were you given a detailed breakdown of what you would be paying for?

Did you know part or all of the estate was not going to be adopted by the council/water company?

Did you realise that you would be paying for the upkeep of public open space?

Did you understand that the management company/agent was not going to be accountable to you?

Did you realise the charges are uncapped and the figure you may have been given in the sales office was only a projection/estimate?

Did you know that you had no statutory rights like there are for leasehold service charges?

Do you have the option to take over the company when the estate is completed?

If not, do you have any choice in managing agent/contractor provision?

Have you had any difficulties gaining full control of your RMC?

Next would be how the estate is being managed and what problems you have had.

Do you get value for money?

Can you choose your managing agent?

Do they respond to complaints/queries?

Have you tried to make them accountable by with holding payment or suing them in small claims?

What did you do, and was it successful?

How did they respond?

Legal Framework/Option to self- manage

If you know what your set up is, can you describe it briefly – rent charge/chain of covenants/agreements with council under section 106 or section 38 (roads adoption)

Who owns the land? Who owns the rent charge?

If you have an option for self-management how is this working for you?

Are you a leaseholder or “fake freeholder”?

Then you could go on to describe how and when you found out the true picture and how this has affected you.

Has it affected the sale/value of your property? If so please describe.

Have there been any major unforeseen rises in estate charges since you bought your home? Please describe.

What have you suffered?

Financial loss? Can you quantify?

Health/relationship problems?

What would put it right for you?

Mandatory adoption?

Common hold ownership of estates?

Regulation of the current system??

Other??

You can download this article in Word to use as a template if you wish:


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4 Replies to “Say Your Piece Update”

  1. I live on the Silverwoods Stour Valley Estate in Kidderminster, as I live on phase 1 we are subject to an extortionate service charge which covers almost nothing except the scandalous management fees which account for the lion’s share approximately 90%, I have been asking for the last 7 years what they do, where they do it, and how often they do it, I withheld my payment and was threatened with court action, I think we have had 5 or 6 different management companies in the last 7 years and a new company is taking over as of next month. If you disagree with anything they say well you signed the TP1, the sales staff skip over this information when you are buying and the solicitors give you the impression that the fees are fixed this is not the case the fees have tripled in the last 7 years. This system takes away freehold property buyers rights and these Crooks must be stopped.

  2. I live on an estate that is partly adopted by the council and we pay our council tax the council have lamp posts that are maintained by them and we are also paying a management company to cut grass and do small areas of shrubs also the management company are saying they are litter picking the estate but the council are doing the same thing why are we paying a management company fees for nothing

  3. Our estate was built in the 70s and now has a resident run property management company. The problem is that the contractor lives on the estate and is a director of the management company despite this being against company rules .
    She bullies the other directors, who are all getting on a bit. This means that there’s no contract and no means to judge whether she’s done everything. All the money collected is given to the contractor. The accountant has their accounts audited by someone who lives with them!
    The council maintains some areas and the company some more but often they each do each others area!
    The contractor dictates what will be done despite being asked many times to do alternative things like wild flowers.
    This isn’t as bad as other estates but it would be far better if the council just adopted it all

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