Here is the feedback that we received to the survey of owners and residents regarding the:
September 2020 Annual General Meetings and
Management of the estate
Note we have avoided repetition of similar issues.
Annual General Meeting
“The Board has - without explanation - taken the most extraordinary approach to the AGM. It maintains that the AGM is an appropriate time to adopt revised Articles but not an appropriate time to appoint new directors. I see no relevant difference for the different treatment of the two topics”.
“New Articles are offered but with no description of the changes being proposed or the advantages to be gained by adopting them. If learned counsel, the company's solicitors and a sub-group of directors have all come to the conclusion that we would be better off by adopting these proposed Articles, they should have given us their reasons. This is a board which should know that its reputation for PR is abysmally low and that this stems from its consistent failure to explain its actions”.
“I am disappointed about the way the AGM is being handled, particularly the appointment of directors and changes to the constitution”.
“The Board have missed a trick. It would have been a good idea to circulate the proposed Articles and invite comments/observations. Presenting new Articles to owners for the first time at an AGM without consultation runs the risk that if there is just one sentence that an owner thinks not to be correct, they will vote against the resolution”.
I am not happy about the arrangements for the AGM and I have voted against the proposed amendments because I do not think that has been enough discussion”.
“I am deeply uncomfortable about the AGM. I do not understand why new directors are not being elected nor why the existing directors are not retiring by rotation”.
“They can hold informal Zoom meetings, so they could have organised virtual AGMs with shareholders attending. That the directors are not retiring by rotation is a breach of our Articles which incorporate Table A”.
“Why is it proposed that only two directors take part in the AGM? Why is an updated Memorandum not shared? Why is a list of changes to the Articles not circulated? Why is it not proposed that one third of directors retire by rotation, whose provision is clearly set out? What precisely are the Board’s clear selection criteria (penultimate paragraph of their letter) for short-listing candidates for Board membership? Where are these written down?”
“I am disappointed that the board has not planned a live AGM with members attending by videoconference and that they have missed an opportunity to build bridges and mend fences after the EGM late last year, where the majority of members voted against them”.
“The board have not sought candidates for director positions in advance of the AGM and allowed a free vote of members to elect new directors”. The board have proposed new Articles of Association and have not provided members with a forum to highlight errors or propose amendments”.
Management of the estate
“I cannot understand why the beautiful previous design of the N block foyer, with brass, mirrors and marble/travertine floors, were not simply copied and refurbished in keeping with the original designs by the original architect George Gilbert Scott“.
“The failure to renovate the gym - characterised by smothering the area in black”.
“The Estate under the ’new’ regime has been grossly inferior to that which went before and has been disastrously amateurish”.
“Communications from the board always seem so muddled that for the most part I'm not sure what they are saying”.
“The diminution in the value and saleability of the flats is directly attributable to the bad decisions of this poor and inadequate board and management”.
“The general upkeep is not of the standard required although I do have a certain amount of sympathy given current circumstances”.
“Management (and cleaning staff) have done an excellent job with improved hygiene and cleaning around the estate and I think that their approach to COVID has surpassed that of other developments (e.g. hand sanitisers in communal areas). The outdoor gym has also put other developments to shame (who blanket closed facilities) and the table tennis, deckchairs etc have been a wonderful addition. It has been splendid to see so many residents and their children enjoying the gardens that we're so lucky to have”.
“The Porters Lodge is thankfully finding its feet again after a turbulent 12 months of attrition”.
“It is great to have an expanded maintenance team and it feels like having them available to investigate leaks promptly”’.
“The Development and common areas particularly in North and South are generally looking tired and dated.
- Communal fire doors are battered, chipped and dented. Hinges need servicing and the doors generally need a good refresh.
- We're still seeing light bulbs out in corridors which is disappointing
- We are completely behind on Project 2020. The gym could have been refurbished during the 6 months it was closed as (many restaurants and pubs etc have done).
"Refurbishment to Gym has not taken place during the COVID closure period even though this was in my opinion the right time to do so. I will be very disappointed if the gym is closed further to do renovations at another point".
"I would like to know when corridors leading to the apartments are going to be decorated?"
"Ceilings in the corridors leading to each apartment look dreadful and are in desperate need of painting".
"The whole estate is in decline. This needs to be remedied as a matter of urgency to avoid costs escalating. Scrimping on maintenance is a false economy as it only becomes more expensive in the long run. An external, professional managing agent should be appointed to provide oversight".
"The board should communicate clearly with owners and whilst CHORA represent the interests of the residents and owners, on both internal and external matters. We have over the past couple of years found communication with the board to have basically collapsed, which is very concerning".
"Decisions when made have been so poorly carried out that major problems still remain. A great deal of money is paid into County Hall, but where does it go. There is nothing left here to indicate any positive sign of care and attention. Just miserable lifts, still unfinished, plenty of damp, water damage, the answer to that simply a completely new roof".
"We flagged up issues relating to misuse of the courtyard....but nothing was done and ______ doesn’t even bother to acknowledge our communications. Water damage to the ceiling of our floor corridor remained unpainted, a large and unsightly scratch on the new door of the recently installed lift remains unrepaired... We also note regular security risks such as unattended luggage in lobbies".
"Security -> I note that there have been many instances now where I have had delivery drivers, guests etc. who have managed to tail-gate other visitors/owners into the apartment block and come straight to my door. This makes me feel very uneasy and given I travel for work makes me question the security when I am away".
"Cleaning -> I note that the windows for South Block (facing York Road) have not been cleaned for over a year. I have mentioned this previously in writing to the board and to the Porters and yet this has not improved. (Editors note: this is the same in North Block)".
"Water Pressure in South block is still low. We have been told the tank has been changed but there has been no personal change to my water pressure before and after this change".
"The upkeep and management of the estate seem reasonable in East Block".
"Really concerned. The lifts in South Block are far from a success as yet, a water stain in the corridor across from my apartment has been there, unpainted for over 2 years, despite being reported on numerous occasions. Standards do seem to be slipping, which whilst I understand is partly due to the building age, but does seem to be as a result of ’quick wins’ not being pursued (bits of painting here and there, door repairs etc). Prices of apartments in County Hall seem to be slipping in relation to similar blocks, which is very worrying".