It’s not easy for residents to take over the management of their estate maintenance, even when the company set up allows it. As this example shows, you need determination and a willingness to dig into the specific set up for your development. The pay off is greater control of costs, better quality work and value for money. However self management does not remove the liability for maintenance of what is often sub standard infrastructure. Many other estates, although not this one it seems, include public open spaces.
Hornet’s goal is for these areas to be adopted, but many residents on existing privately managed estates want to self manage to get better value for money. They can then choose to run things themselves or on larger estates appoint their own managing agent, answerable to them. In this instance the residents chose to run things themselves. We thank you for sharing your experiences, which we hope will help others who wish to self manage…..
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!
In response to questions from supporters and fellow sufferers we have updated and expanded our slideshow to try to cover all of the aspects of the private estate scam in the UK. Everything we know has been gathered through our network.
One of the reasons for updating the presentation is that we are going to use it as the basis for a talk (via Zoom) to new build residents groups brought together by their prospective councillor. The aim is to inform them of their situation and help them organise appropriately to protect themselves from exploitation as far as is possible at the moment.
If this event is successful, we may be able to run it with other groups.
Entitled FAR FROM PRIVATOPIA: PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL ESTATES IN ENGLAND AND WALES this paper brings together research by Professor Susan Bright, Professor of Land Law, New College, Oxford and was published in January 2022.
The issues HorNet have learned and shared over the past 5 years or so are all mentioned, particularly the lack of transparency and redress and the fact that most buyers have not been aware of what they were getting into.
Very significantly the lack of sustainability and threat to community cohesion of this model are mentioned We are particularly keen to get this across to policy makers and are currently working on this.
We have been contacted by a Residents’ Group who have successfully taken over management of their estate. They thought their experience would help others, and so do we! We are very grateful for the sharing.
We would like to say again that there is huge variation in how the developers set up each estate, so not all will have the advantages in company structure that this example benefits from. In spite of having the required company structure the builder and their appointed managing agent strongly resisted the residents’ taking over. We have heard similar stories from others.
Also remember that it is developers who drive this model, whilst councils may have reduced landscaping and road mending costs, the community loose out when estates are retained privately because other potential section 106 benefits are lost. The estate in this example is not built up to adoption standards and we believe this also is a prime cost saver for the builders.
That said, if you want to know what worked for one group of residents, read on ….