May 28, 2017

Hanover: 21 house manager flats sold ‘after taking advice’

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The Hanover housing association has no set procedure for selling off house manager flats at its 104 retirement sites.

It has already sold 21 flats – more here.

As leases vary, each site is assessed individually and advice is obtained, Hanover has told Carlex in a statement:

“There is some variation in Hanover’s leases, because we have taken on responsibility for properties from other organisations. Hanover has obtained advice on a case-by-case basis in relation to the leases concerned.

“Furthermore, the sale of Estate Manager flats was carried out only where this met with residents’ wishes, following consultation with them which itself was governed by a legal process.”

Carlex deplores the practice of mining value out of retirement properties. It is particularly regrettable to see this happening in a housing association (and former charity) that declares itself

“an organisation known for its sincere, compassionate and respectful attitude to older people”

Elderly residents decide to agree to ending a resident house manager service – which is usually stated in the lease and was a planning consent condition when a site was built – in exchange for £15,000 paid into the reserve fund. A visiting house manager is a cheaper service.

In addition, service charges reduce because an additional flat is now contributing.

At sites where Peverel or Tchenguiz owns the house manager’s flat residents receive only £10,000.

In addition, Peverel’s refinancing in 2012 rested on a £25 million loan from Royal Bank of Scotland (who else?) secured against its portfolio of house managers’ flats. The leases for these flats were issued predominantly in 2009.

A senior Peverel executive is on record declaring that the property manager’s ownership of these flats could be challenged in court.

Hanover’s “sincere, compassionate and respectful attitude to older people” comes at a price, it would appear.

Here are a couple of rather well remunerated jobs on offer:

HanoverJobadverts


Comments

  1. Michael Hollands says:

    Surely the whole idea of these retirement complexes is that they are adequately managed and assistance is available or can be sent for in an emergency. On large complexes this is better provided if the Manager is in situ. One of the reasons the elderly purchase them in the first place.
    If the current occupants are persuaded that these flats should be sold ( for a small reward ) it mean’s that in following years other residents will not receive this benefit.
    If the lease lasts 99 years then this major change should not take place it has expired.
    The next saving could be , not even having a visiting Manager,nand eventually the complexes could become just an expensive version of non retirement complexes. Probably being sold to allcomers.
    This would defeat the whole concept of retirement living.

    .

    • Adequately Managed Developments, and Retirement Developments possibly with Peverel Retirement?

      I found it difficult ton put the three items in the same sentence.

      This is a headline regarding the Peverel / Cirrus connection:-

      The CMA study into residential management services partly originated in the public criticism expressed over the Office of Fair Trading investigation into the Peverel / Cirrus collusive tendering scandal.

      Owing to the prime minister David Cameron’s response to a direct appeal by Carlex, this resulted in a meeting with the OFT on September 2 2013. It was chaired by the Rt Hon Ed Davey and present were Clive Maxwell (OFT CEO), Cav Elithorn (OFT senior director heading the Peverel / Cirrus inquiry) and Stephen Blake (OFT senior director, cartels and criminal enforcement group).

      Mr Davey and Sir Peter Bottomley echoed Carlex’s view that the Cirrus inquiry was deeply flawed, particularly in regard to the leniency deal (and, given that there was full co-operation, the time involved to arrive at a finding).

      Sir Peter Bottomley MP has publicly stated his view that possible criminal activity was being alleged in the Cirrus bid-rigging.

      What do Peverel Retirement do, change their name?

  2. Michael Epstein says:

    Forgive my possible ignorance on this, but if a new retirement development consisting of 50 flats is built, and one of those flats is designated for a property manager, is that not factored into the selling price ie, the total value of the 50 flats is divided into the other 49 values?
    In addition Hanover say they have obtained advice on a case by case basis in relation to leases. I presume therefore, that Hanover would have no objection to putting that advice in the public domain

  3. Michael Hollands …

    When warden-assisted flats were first conceived the whole concept was very different to what legislation permits in 2014! No longer do Estate Managers work evenings, or weekends. The whole service is now geared to running the fabric of the estate, for which a standard managing agent could provide a better, and more cost-effective service. The 24/7 call-system is the most valuable ‘asset’ of our estate, but is remotely managed to a high standard. Estate Manager’s, who replaced ‘Warden’s’, are no longer permitted to assist residents … these matters must be dealt with by para-medics and emergency services. Sure, Housing Associations want the ‘power’ to control estates that provide them with a regular cash-source. The H&CA calculates an annual guideline figure for management fees currently set at £409, irrespective of what is actually spent! There are so many managers, middle, senior and assistant directors, no wonder they are no longer affordable homes for the elderly! Our estate has actually achieved more with a fully-transparent residents’ association working alongside the managing agent. Regrettably, Hanover Housing want TOTAL CONTROL and will not accept that leaseholders’ like to have an involvement, particularly when service charges have raced out of control … £210 per month, because our reserve fund was inappropriately managed over 33 years! Our ‘retirement flats’ are already sold to ‘all-comers’ … all that is attractive is the fact that purchasers are securing only 70% of the equity! We are seriously considering a RTM scheme as Hanover have no wish to accept our reasonable proposals of working together with them to solve ‘their problems over 33 years’!

  4. Michael Hollands says:

    Dear Peter
    When visiting many retirement complexes with a view to purchasing I have meet many pleasant Resident Managers who have been very helpful and appear very efficient. They also appeared to be much appreciated by the residents.
    For an elderly resident with no family and few friends the friendship of the manager who occasionally checks on their welfare can make all the difference.
    If all these resident managers disappear in return for a minimal reward then future old and lonely will not have the opportunity to receive the facility even if they are willing to pay for it.
    I have not visited a Hanover complex so maybe I would be disappointed if I did.

  5. The desirability of an in-house manager varies according to the experience of different sites. There are some really excellent house managers, some are – or have been – employed by Peverel.

    There are also some Peverel narks, who simply spy on the residents on behalf of their employers, and jobsworths determined to do as little as possible. Then there are those who half the residents hate, and half love.

    Carlex gets a surprisingly high number of correspondence from Peverel house managers, who provide a very useful insight into retirement property management.

    They are welcome to get in touch, and we ensure total discretion. We even helped one Peverel employee in Cheshire (and involved George Osborne) who was being booted out of her flat by the administrators of a freehold company. Peverel seemed curiously complacent about the imminent homelessness about their employee, or whether she could actually function as a house manager in such circumstances.

    House managers are often the catalyst for disputes at retirement sites. Another in Cheshire is going right to manage, mainly because the residents were so appalled that the supposed house manager – a Polish couple, as it happened – would do nothing in an emergency. The residents neighbours had to sort matters out themselves.

    None of the mainstream retirement housing providers offer in-house house managers any more. It is unlikely that the service in their hands was much more than tokenistic and a source of revenue, or to get planning consent.

    The house managers provided by the extra care providers – that is, the minority of retirement house builders who come from a care provision background – are probably very good.

  6. Michael Hollands says:

    With regard to Carlex statement that major providers no longer have an in house manager, this surprised me so I checked with M&S .
    Their sales information on their website definitely indicates that there is one on the Retirement (later living complexes) . Assisted Living Complexes have 24 hour in house cover.
    I have also telephoned them to check these facts and this is what I am told.
    Not all Later Living complexes have resident managers but where they do not a full time visiting manager is provided.
    Assisted Living Complexes have 24 hour in house cover

  7. I was imprecise: in the basic product they do have live-out house managers, whereas these were usually live-in managers.

    The assisted living ones obviously do have live-in staff. This is at a minority of sites, however.