Size Matters!

Congratulations HorNets! We have reached over 10,000 supporters in our FaceBook group.

This not only shows how many people support our campaign to abolish privately managed estates in favour of adoption by councils, but gives an indicator of the size of the problem nationally.

If we want a change in the law, we need to demonstrate a large number of people are disadvantaged by the current system.

The bottom line is that estate dwellers regardless of tenure end up footing the bill for maintaining cheaply constructed estate infrastructure, sub standard for adoption. Developers maximise profit at the consumers expense.

Who knows the size of this rapidly growing problem? Neither the government nor the local authorities are counting, so we are in our own small way and now have a good representative sample of C800 estates.

The government do count completed dwellings and from their statistics we find that between the start of 2001 and the end of 2021, 3009750 dwelling were completed – yes that’s over 3M! If we accept that private estates were not universal near the beginning of that time span and not all dwellings are on estates we could round it down to 3 million. Three million disadvantaged!

From our own data we have 677 estates with clear information on estate charges per home per annum and the average is £273. We began collecting this data over 5 years ago, so this is almost certainly below the current figure.

However we could use it to get a feel for the size of the “industry”. 3 x 273 = 819. We calculate that managing agents are collecting £819 million per year in estate charges. Little wonder there is resistance to change.

Let’s make 2023 the year we work together using this data to create change!


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6 Replies to “Size Matters!”

  1. I have sent our reply in that highlights the lack of professional ism of our management and excessive costs.
    Sladden Close, Badsey WR11 7AQ
    Patrick Smith, Chairman of Residents Association

  2. Highcroft in Wallingford, Management Fees are now £934 for a three bed semi. This is an increase of 28.92% over last year.

    1. This is above average. Our data shows huge variation and it seems to depend on what infrastructure is being maintained. Simple gardening is the cheapest, but pumping stations, electricity for lighting and gates, community facilities all add to costs. If there are estate roads to maintain, especially if block paved, a reserve fund may be established as well.

  3. Hello,

    Today I have been familiarising myself with the documents published to date in the Housebuilding Market Study on the CMA website.

    Specifically, I have noticed that there is no real mention of what is likely to be a common scenario of when Local Authorities CAN afford to take on the Public Open Space but the Developer chooses deliberately not to even approach them for adoption feasibility. In our case in Leeds, the developer Keepmoat told us repeatedly both during the sales process and afterwards, that the Council could not afford to take on the POS due to cuts (à la Northamptonshire Council who famously went bust and are having real financial difficulties) and that was their only justification for the “grass cutting fee” during the sales process.

    They said that it was worth it because the Landscaping would be managed professionally (In the Section 106 Agreement relating to our site’s planning permission conditional discharge 16/03861/FU it has a very specific Landscape Management Plan). This plan has never been followed and the Management Company say they only have to maintain what is left by Keepmoat.

    It was never explained that Keepmoat had never even tried to get it adopted, so they bare faced lied to us and mis-sold us the service charge under false pretenses. We only found out 3 years later that Leeds City Council say that they would happily adopt greenspace but were never even approached by Keepmoat. LCC still say they can afford to adopt the site if Keepmoat approach them.

    I have messaged the CMA to include this in the scope of wrong justification for Service Charges in their study, as surely the preferred outcome for any new build development (at least in the interest of the consumer) is that it is adopted by the Local Authority in the first instance, and only if that is demonstrably not possible, for example in Northampton where the council have had big financial problems, should they then even be considered for private management.

    Our development is the Keepmoat New Forest Development in Leeds, LS10 4HF and our Management Company is Middleton Park Management c/o Blueproperty Managment of Nottingham.

    I also notice that in the responses from developers so far published on the CMA website, neither Keepmoat nor Blue Property Management have provided comment yet, so I have urged the CMA to make sure that they are included.

    Keep up the good work!

    Al Murray
    Fleecehold Homeowner on Keepmoat New Forest Leeds site

    1. Thank you for your comment –
      The home building industry like to perpetuate the myth that councils do not want to adopt as they are strapped for cash. This is simply not true. When councils have been asked, most are willing to adopt, but the developer has to request it, build up to standards which are higher than for 106, put right defects and pay a commuted sum representing usually 20 years maintenance. So on all counts, it is the developer who has most to gain by not requesting adoption.

  4. Hi,
    We are on Gulliford in Lympstone, Devon. The developer was KD Homes, we are a mixed development of 10 social houses and 5 privately owned, we all get on really well and there is a great feeling of community.
    KD Homes did not even approach East Devon District Council about adoption and the development is still not signed off as complete, the developer also signed an agreement with South West Water to adopt our sewers and then the road would then get adopted but did not tell us. When we asked to take over the management as we did not trust them they handed over the management company without completing any of the steps necessary. KD Homes have not finished the development, so we have done most of it and in the process of suing them for the costs of fencing etc. they have lied to our MP about who owns the common areas, which have been transferred from the company to the private individual who owns the company.
    We have now found out by chance about the sewers adoption and the social housing provider and the county council seem to be sorting out, they are talking about using the bond that the developer put in place.
    We have had 4 years of nothing from the developer who has now gone on to do another development locally, so l am going to go and put some HORNET leaflets through their doors, so it might prompt them to ask some questions of the developer. The advert for that development says that there are costs for management of the development etc, so she is going to do it again and get away with it.
    We have also found out that she is trying to avoid paying the Community Infrastructure Levy on the latest development.
    We are going to fight on and hope to get some money back.

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