THE HISTORY OF LAUREL MANOR
Laurel Manor was constructed between 1973 and 1975 by a local building company, Searle Bros.
The development comprises 68 flats divided equally between one and two bedroom and is arranged in five blocks (A to E ) split between two buildings. Between the buildings the service road leads to the garages at the rear of the development. Each flat has its own lock-up garage.
Block A was completed first and comprises Flats 57 to 68. (Don't ask!).
Two limited companies, Laurel Manor Management (No1) Ltd. (flats 41 to 68) and Laurel Manor Management (No2) Ltd., (flats 1 to 40) were set up in the early 1970's to safeguard the interests of the first Leaseholders which gave them one ordinary share per flat and a directorship of the relevant company. This is still the case today. The leases were originally 99 years from 1974/5 and consideration was given in 2005 to the purchase of the Freehold, but the interest expressed fell far short of the minimum 50% required.
In 2007 some 16 Leaseholders sought extensions of 90 years with no ground rent from the landlord under the Leasehold Reform Act 1993 (as amended). However, in view of uncertainties created by the Sportelli decision and subsequent appeal, those applications were withdrawn.
It has, of course, been possible to extend leases by arrangement with the Freeholder and over the years more than one half of the Leaseholders have gone down this route. The situation changed in January 2012 as a consequence of the Freeholder being placed into Administration and the leaseholders, in the name of Laurel Manor Freehold Ltd, took control in January 2014.
Laurel Manor Management was created to co-ordinate the maintenance of the "Manor" as a whole. Apart from a brief period of external management, an annually elected Committee of Leaseholders continued to manage the "Manor's" affairs.
Huge improvements to Laurel Manor have taken place. All common areas have been double glazed, carpeted and cleared of asbestos. External and internal decorations continue on their three and five year cycle and the internal common areas are cleaned regularly and the grounds maintained throughout the year. Between 2004 and 2009 four of the five roofs were replaced and the last, renewed in 1991, is regularly inspected and, to date, shows no signs of distress. External wood cladding was replaced with a light resistant washable plastic and the estate's trees have been cared for. The service road has been made wider, the garage area resurfaced, the security lighting has been upgraded and a security entry phone system installed.
In December 2009 a smoke alarm system was fitted in all blocks.
Late in 2015 we updated our Fire Risk Assessment which resulted in Laurel Manor Management paying for and installing closers to all flat doors and new emergency lighting to all floors in the development. In addition the fire and safety security of Laurel Manor is inspected each month by the company writing the Fire Risk Assessment. One year later the original fire risk outcome was lowered from Tolerable to Trivial.
The main security and garage lighting was upgraded to more efficient LED luminaires in 2016.
All this has been achieved through Laurel Manor's own management team and with possibly the lowest maintenance charge in Sutton!
In early 2017 the three principal officers of the committee began to discuss succession plans as each were in their seventies. A call to all leaseholders was made to consider external management after almost forty years of internal mangement. This was agreed and ratified at the June 2017 AGM. Candidates were interviewed and a shortlist drawn up.
On April 2nd 2018 a contract was signed with Harrow Mangagement Limited to look after the day to day business of Laurel Manor. The Board of Laurel Manor Right to Manage Company (RTMC) is still very much in control of maintenance policy and has a contract oversight role, as well as retaining the legal responsibility of LM maintenance.