Heritage Management Ltd (Managing Agents) Report 2017/2018
Introduction: Heritage Management Limited [HML] is the managing agent and Company Secretary of Banstead Wood Management Company Limited. This report provides a summary of issues progressed on the estate since HML’s appointment.
Finance: Since the last AGM, there has been a significant improvement in the recovery of overdue service charges. Leaseholders are reminded that the terms of the Lease clearly state that all service charges are due to be paid in advance, in full, on the day they fall due (i.e. 1st January and 1st July). Whilst the option to enter into a payment plan is provided to those in financial difficulty, there are still a number of Leaseholders not adhering to the terms of the Lease. Thus, in the last financial year, it has proven necessary to take legal action against a few leaseholders for the non-payment of service charges, but this was only as a last resort after all other options had been exhausted.
Budget: HML have received numerous enquiries relating to the increase in the service charge budget. The figures were discussed at length and agreed with the Board prior to implementation and are based on realistic figures of costs required to ensure the proper upkeep of the estate, which is now over 10 years old. Leaseholders are reminded to take into consideration the 26 acres of gardens and woodland, the driveway, entrance gates which require maintaining, numerous lifts, fire equipment etc and the fact the estate and its buildings are Grade II listed. Given the cost of the recent decoration programme, and future planned maintenance works (e.g. carpet replacement in all communal areas) it is imperative that reserve funds are collected each year, to ensure sufficient funds will be in place as and when required, and to prevent the necessity for additional demands to be issued when major or expensive works are instructed.
Estate progress: HML work closely with the Directors to ensure smooth running and management of all estate matters in accordance with the Lease.
General Repairs: During the last 12 months a variety of maintenance works have been, carried out including (but not limited to):rectification of numerous aerial and television signal issues; the clearance of all gutters, gullies and surface water drains; various tree works undertaken, all emergency light fittings, fire alarms, smoke vents and dry risers maintained and tested in accordance with legislation and required works completed to ensure all equipment is fully compliant with Fire Regulations and the Law; all fire/water hydrants identified and painted to ensure visibility and maintained and tested in accordance with legislation. Thanks to John Box who continues to maintain and repair various communal electrical apparatus and light fittings at minimal or no labour charges. Tennis courts have been cleared and maintained; the water tanks and boosters have been tested and serviced. Over the course of the year, HML have obtained quotations for a variety of on-going maintenance contracts to ensure savings and value for money in addition to a high service. This has resulted in a change of contractors for the common parts cleaning, window cleaning and gardening, which we believe has improved the overall appearance of these areas.
Major Works: In addition to the minor, general repairs, there have also been some more extensive works carried out on the estate. The driveway lighting was replaced, with new cables and fittings installed throughout; extensive repairs to the lift pit of 13 – 20 Elizabeth House due to water ingress which had to be pumped out and the lift pit tanked before the lift company would put the lift back into operation. These works took a lot longer than we would have liked due to issues with contractors and HML are now actively liaising with the lift and insurance company to agree a satisfactory resolve. During the internal decorations of 6–12 Elizabeth House being completed, damp was identified in the communal
areas. Upon further investigations it transpired that dry rot was present and affecting the joists and floorboards of the communal hallway, which had to be treated and a new floor put in place. A second phase of works is currently being discussed, with a view to inspecting the staircase of the same block and the communal hallways of the neighbouring blocks to ensure that the dry rot has not spread any further. HML undertook extensive investigations and liaised with a number of parties with a view to these works being covered by the NHBC, Building Insurers or the Local Authority before ascertaining that the cost would need to be recovered from Leaseholders. There are sufficient Elizabeth House reserves to ensure an additional demand will not be necessary.
Bin areas: Apart from those using Shaw House bin store, the majority of residents recycle household waste and do not use the bin stores for disposing of items that the Council will not remove. The Shaw House bin store has major problems as some residents do not do this and dump televisions, furniture, vacuum cleaners, golf clubs etc. A contractor is required to attend, the cost of which all residents pay for through their service charges. Owners renting out their properties need to remind tenants of the arrangements for disposal of rubbish. If bins are full, we would request residents take their household waste to another bin store, rather than simply leaving bags on the floor, which is unhygienic and attracts vermin. HML are currently discussing with the Council measures to encourage residents to recycle properly and act responsibly.
Fire risk assessment: An annual inspection is carried out of all blocks of flats and the active fire register is updated, this being a legal requirement. The fire regulations require compliance with a range of issues and residents are reminded of the following:
· It is a legal requirement for all residential flats to have active smoke alarms. Owners are requested to ensure they have smoke alarms in their flats and they are tested to ensure functionality.
· If any person occupying a flat is disabled or infirm they must advise Heritage of any special arrangements that may be required.
· The front doors to each flat must be a fire door to 30 min (FD 30S) standard with a self-closing device (NB if your door is original it will comply)
· No items whatsoever may be left in the communal hallways as they will obstruct fire exit routes and maybe a fire hazard. This is also likely to invalidate the insurance on the building in the event of a fire.
· No items can be left in the riser (lobby) cupboards which contain electrical feeds and fuse boards as this can cause a fire and as such, breaches fire regulations.
· No fire doors in the blocks must ever be propped open as this defeats the purpose of them being there and is in contradiction to the signs on the doors (“fire door keep closed”).
· No smoking is permitted within any internal communal areas of the Estate.
If residents do not adhere to these regulations and a fire was to occur, they may find themselves party to legal proceedings surrounding damage (or death) to any property or persons. Following the devastating events of the Grenfell Tower incident, HML are ensuring that all regulations are complied with to the best of their ability and residents are requested to co-operate fully.
Parking: When undertaking an overview of existing contracts, the parking control company was also changed in early summer. There are numerous signs around the parking areas stating that, in accordance with the Lease, no commercial vehicles are to be parked on site between the hours of 6.30pm and 6.30am. No parking is permitted on red lines. Failure to comply with parking regulations will result in the issue of a penalty charge notice. As there are more cars than spaces, we continue to request that residents utilise their designated parking spaces (if applicable) other than simply using visitors’ spaces for their convenience.
Buildings Insurance: As advised in recent correspondence accompanying service charge demands, HML and the Directors have instructed solicitors to look into the possibility of recovering excessive building insurance premiums from the Freeholder and their agents. This matter is ongoing, and we cannot comment at this stage as to whether any refund will be obtained. Updates will be provided to all Leaseholders as and when further information is available.
Looking ahead: HML continues to work hard with your Board of Directors in managing the estate. The relationship between the Board and HML continues to strengthen and the input from all Directors is invaluable. If residents have queries, concerns or suggestions for enhancements to the estate, then these should be addressed to HML who will liaise as necessary with the Directors.
MANAGEMENT COMPANY LTD
AGM AND ANNUAL RESIDENTS MEETING
All welcome, Lessees and Tenants
Monday 26th February 2018
Refreshments from 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start. Finish by 10pm
United Reformed Church Hall, Woodmansterne Lane, Banstead, SM7 3EX
DIRECTORS REPORT FOR 2017
The last year has been busy for your Directors and we have summarised our work since the previous residents meeting along with some of our plans for 2018.
The opportunity for residents to have their say is important, as the Directors make decisions on your behalf so we hope you will be able to attend the AGM and Annual Residents meeting on 26th February.
As in 2017, Claire Utting from Heritage Management Ltd (Heritage) will attend the meeting.
FINANCES AND SERVICE CHARGE
Service Charge Accounts for the year ending 30th June 2017: The service charge (£310,000) was slightly up on the previous year and we spent (£432,000). Much of the overspend related to House redecoration incurred in 2016, which we had budgeted for and was met from Reserves.
The Estate will always take a large slice of what we collect and we have to top up the reserves every year to fund future Estate works and House redecoration, as well as unexpected expenditure we might have to cater for. Unlike in the 3 previous years, there was no House redecoration in 2017.
Whilst the Estate water bill has come down considerably following the fixing of a major leak, it is still high and the Directors have asked Sutton and East Surrey Water to help investigate further in case there is another, albeit smaller leak.
Service charge arrears have reduced from £76,000 to £39,000. Since 30th June 2017, the figure has come down even further and now stands at less than £22,000.
Statutory Accounts for the year ending 30th June 2017: These relate only to the rental income (£7,644) we continue to receive from the telecoms mast and the net profit (£5,930) is used to offset Estate Service Charge expenses.
Estate Expenditure: The largest expenditure items were as follows:-
Driveway lights replacement (£18,000):
Improved drive signage (£5,000):
Electric gates hydraulic arms (£4,000):
Water Pumps: four large electronic booster pumps distribute mains water to every property on the estate. This vital piece of equipment has to be regularly inspected and maintained. The pumps are approximately halfway through their working life and it is estimated they will cost circa £50,000 to replace in 10 years time (taking inflation into account). Next years service charge will start to make provision for this future expenditure.
Estate Expenditure (Buildings Insurance): premiums almost doubled in 2017 to £82,000 following rebuilding valuations by the freeholder’s insurance brokers. This was the prime cause of the increase but Heritage sought alternative quotes with the new valuations from their own brokers and the premiums were found to be much cheaper. With help from our Lawyers, it was also discovered that it is BWMC (through Heritage) who should obtain quotes for the buildings insurance with the freeholder choosing which to accept. Our Lawyers are now seeking an explanation and requesting a refund of the high ‘unreasonable’ premiums plus the return of control to the management company, so we can ensure that leaseholders are getting value for money when the insurance is renewed.
Service Charge Income/Expenditure for the current year ending 30th June 2018: We will provide details of any unforeseen items of expenditure at the meeting.
Service Charge for the forthcoming year commencing 1st July 2018: It is too early to say what this will be. With assistance from Heritage, the Directors will have a better idea by May as to what expenditure might be for next year.
Gardens and Grounds: JB (James Blakeley) Garden Services started as our new gardeners in early August. We had been unhappy with the previous gardeners for some time, mainly due to their lack of leadership from the top and no real plan for the upkeep of the grounds.
You will have noticed that James and his team of 6 have worked to get the grounds and gardens back into shape and will now start on jobs that we have needed doing for some time, such as clearing moss on the roadway, paths and car parking areas plus tidying the driveway borders, which have been neglected in the past. Bulbs have been planted along the edge of the driveway, so look out for them in the spring.
In addition they have allocated one man to be in charge of the Water Garden and already he has cut down the large bamboo and trimmed back many of the overgrown shrubs.
A new pond maintenance company has been contracted for 2018.
The BBQ was cleaned and repaired in 2017 and paving laid around the area. This has made a big improvement and the old grills will be replaced in time for this summer.
The tennis courts surface is maintained by a specialist contractor. It is good to see the courts being used but please remember they must only be used for tennis and appropriate shoes worn. Other sports may damage the surface which would be costly to repair and even more to replace. Please also look after the nets and ensure you wind them down after use to avoid damaging them and lock the gate when you leave.
Parking & New Red Lines: Heritage have reported on the parking position in their report. We have nothing to add other than reminding all leaseholders who rent out their flats, that they are responsible for notifying letting agents and their tenants of the parking rules relating to the development.
Bin Stores: Heritage have commented on some of the problems that we have with the disposal of rubbish. In conversation, the Council have confirmed how important it is that all residents recycle their household waste correctly. It is unacceptable and selfish that some residents continue to leave refuse bags, or items that the Council will not remove, on the floor of the bin store. Whilst the Directors do their best to limit increases in the service charge, that task is hampered by having to pay the council to remove such items and it is happening more frequently. Accordingly, we intend to install cameras in the bin areas in an attempt to deter such unreasonable behaviour.
It is the responsibility of all residents to dispose of their rubbish in accordance with Council recycling guidance and to keep bin areas clean and tidy.
Entrance Gate: Since new heavy duty arms were fixed early in 2017, the gates have been working much better. To alleviate wear and tear and to prolong their life, they will remain open at busy times in the week (6-9am and 5-8pm) and at the weekends (8-5pm). If the gates fail, they should default to remain open but if not, then call Heritage on 01737 850260. An out of hours service on this number will also be able to help, although please only use this in an emergency as it a chargeable service to us.
Driveway Lights: New lights and wiring were installed along the drive in 2017. The original wiring was found to be old and predated the conversion of the hospital into apartments. Deterioration resulted in the lights frequently ‘tripping’ which required ever more costly maintenance. The new lights are far more energy efficient which should see a saving in our electricity costs. The plan is to change the rest of the lights around the Estate within the next year or so.
New Signs and Site Map: The new signs at the junction with Holly Lane are bigger, more visible and give a better impression when entering the development, plus they have reflective lettering making Elizabeth Drive easier to see at night. There were 13 all different sized road signs along the drive and these have been replaced with 6 even sized and more relevant ones to meet current regulations and improve driver awareness of the speed bumps, pedestrians and animals. A lot of time and effort went into making sure the new site map was correct and easy to read and it has received positive comments. Replacing the remainder of the Estate and House signs will be considered for the coming year.
Elizabeth House: Heritage have commented in detail on the problems relating to the lift (13-20) and dry rot (6-12). The Directors appreciate and understand the frustration of those residents who have been affected and apologise for the inconvenience caused, although the delays in repair were beyond Heritage and our control.
Lifts: Following costly repairs to many of the lifts in 2016, surge protectors were fitted in each lift lobby to protect the sensitive equipment in the event of a power surge.
Replacing water meters with Water Board SMART meters: Our water supplier, Sutton and East Surrey (SES) will be replacing, at no cost, our existing meters with SMART meters during the week of 5th March. Disruption will be minimal and all work will be carried out in lobby areas with very short disruption periods when the water will be turned off. There will be a final reading of each old meter on the installation day and residents will be billed accordingly by Heritage when the 2018/19 Service Charge statements are sent out. Thereafter leaseholders will be billed directly by SES. Estate water will continue to be charged half yearly with the Service Charge.
Broadband: As you are no doubt aware, the broadband speed in Banstead Wood is very slow. Open Reach are connecting fibre to their box at the bottom of our drive and faster broadband will soon be available via your own service provider. It may help to speed up the process if you register your interest with Open Reach by completing their short form.
PROJECTS AND WORKS ‘WISH LIST’ FOR 2018:
All these will be discussed by the Directors over the coming months but the go-ahead will depend upon finances being available within the service charge budget and reserves for the Estate or Houses.
· Recarpeting all lobbies and stairs
· Replacing remainder of roadway and estate lighting
· Replacing ground and building signs
· Repainting white lines and parking bays
· Replanting area beside the back wall of the garages
· Review/repair/replace wooden structures around the grounds i.e. fencing, bin stores, rose pergola structure
· Planting around Shaw/Elizabeth quadrangle centrepiece
· Review/repair/replace seating around the grounds including those in the water garden
· 5-10 year plan for Woodland and Tree management
www.bansteadwood.com Password is 54321 : The website has been updated and, in future, this will continue on a regular basis including information from Directors meetings.
BBQ – 2017: Again, the annual BBQ held on 6th August was a huge success with over 70 attending and the weather was good too. A big thank you to Elaine Orr and her team for their efficient organisation, to chef John Box and his family, and to all those who made delicious salads and desserts.
BBQ – 2018: Sunday 26th August. It’s the bank holiday weekend so make sure you put it in your diaries – no work on Monday!
HERITAGE & BWMC
Heritage – Our managing agents: Heritage have now been our managing agents since 1 July 2016. Unlike their predecessors, they have actively sought to understand properly what is involved in managing Banstead Wood and work closely with the Directors to ensure value for money in respect of all expenditure.
This has been a revelation compared with the experiences we have had with all previous managing agents and gives the Directors confidence going forward.
The development does not look after itself and requires a lot of work to ensure that it runs smoothly. Heritage have taken much of the burden away from the Directors in this regard, who, in turn, are delighted with this outcome.
Claire Utting is the ‘go to’ person at Heritage and questions and concerns should be addressed to her.
Banstead Wood Management Company: the Directors continue to meet at 6 weekly intervals. Rob Pelosi and Ramin Ramanzani were appointed as Directors during the year. Whilst not Directors, Anita Mohindra and Andy Thompson also attend meetings and work closely with the Directors. Charlotte Latham and Nigel Simpson resigned as Directors. We thank all for their time, commitment and valuable contribution.
As some of the Directors wish to step down we are asking for volunteers to come forward and help with managing this lovely development. If you would like to become part of the team, then please speak with us to find out more.
Directors: John Sutton, Chairman (15 Shaw), Diane Drain, Deputy Chairwoman (30 Rendel), Ron Springall (33 Elizabeth), Erica Reid (31 Rendel), Kay Tramontano (37 Rendel), John Box (22 Rendel), Roberto Pelosi (20 Elizabeth), Ramin Ramazani (21 Rendel). Other committee members: Andy Thompson (11 Elizabeth), Anita Mohindra (18 Shaw)
18 May 2017
‘As residents will be aware, the NHBC completed last year, extensive repairs to leaking terraces in Rendal, along with the issue of guarantees as to the quality of the work. These are now held by Heritage on behalf of Rendal leaseholders, should sight be required of them. It was predominantly down to the persistence of Maggie Watson, along with Diane Drain( both affected leaseholders)that NHBC agreed to carry out the work, which otherwise would have been very costly to Rendal leaseholders’.