Contribution by a concerned family member of one of our residents

IMAGINE

Can you imagine… 

Buying a leasehold property on a lovely estate for the over 55s which is run by the community, for the community – sounds great doesn’t it?

 And the estate is actually owned by all of the residents since they each have an equal share in the not for profit company which owns the land – all good so far… 

And the estate is run by a Committee of residents who are elected each year by the residents at their annual general meeting – what a great, democratic way to organize things! 

And the Committee appoints one of their members as the Director of the not for profit company, who has the legal responsibility to ensure that the estate is run properly for the benefit of all of the residents – it all makes such good sense…

All that is required of residents who buy a property on this lovely estate is that they pay a monthly service charge to cover communal maintenance; things like insurance, gardening and external repairs – and that they comply with the terms of the lease, which includes an additional ‘sinking fund’ charge (a percentage of the value of their property) which is paid back to the company when their property is sold on. This money provides additional funds on top of the service charge to help with the upkeep of the estate. This all sounds so logical and reasonable... 

But, can you imagine… 

A community which elects the same people to the Committee every year, and a Committee which appoints the same Director: 

  • Of course these people must be well educated, decent, honest, caring folks who everyone on the estate knows will work in the best interests of all of the residents. I mean, the reason why they keep getting elected couldn’t be down to the residents living in fear, could it? – you know, older people just wanting to live a quiet life, not wanting to rock the boat – so they just keep their heads down and do what’s expected of them – no surely, it couldn’t be that, I mean – that would be awful! 

A Committee and Director who refuse to be transparent about the company accounts - even though they’re breaking the law by not responding to repeated requests to inspect the accounts: 

  • Surely they have nothing to hide, no fraudulent activities – of course not, I mean that would be criminal! So the only reason why they refuse to be transparent must be that they think it’s better that the residents don’t know how their money is being spent – after all, ignorance is bliss when you’re getting older, right? And of course – who cares about the law when you’re a law unto yourself? 

A Committee and Director who contract friends and even family members to do jobs on the estate, sometimes for extraordinary fees – all paid for by the residents:

  • Well, it’s up to them of course – I mean, the great thing about being in a position of power is that you get perks, and if that means being able to siphon off other people’s money to your friends and family – why not? 

A Committee and Director who give preferential treatment to residents who support them, and who ostracise, threaten and attempt to bully anyone who asks questions about how the estate is run – they even use residents’ money to pay their solicitor to threaten residents who ask questions with legal action in order to shut them up:  

  • Of course - when you have power – it’s important to keep it, so you need to keep your supporters onside, and slap down anyone who doesn’t toe the line, make an example of them to show others what happens if you don’t conform – it’s just basic (very basic!) human nature isn’t it? 

A Committee and Director who despite their legal obligation to run the estate for the benefit of all of the residents – instead run it like a private fiefdom, lord it over the residents, and behave like a gang of schoolyard bullies to anyone who criticizes or asks questions about their behaviour:

I guess now you can imagine how it works, so… 

…Welcome to The Sycamores Estate in Hartlepool!

 

February 17, 2020

Copyright  L Sherwood,  All Rights Reserved, 2017-2020