LAUREL MANOR NEWSLETTER
Updated September 2019
This page is by way of a rolling news letter which is also full of information which we hope you will find interesting and useful. It will be updated from time to time to reflect changes and developments which affect Laurel Manor and its residents.
We recommend reading the whole newsletter as it contains much useful information about life in Laurel Manor. However, we offer here some short cuts to some of the more frequently asked questions.
Hover over a section and click.
Following a general call for support for the committee in early January 2017 it was decided to seek external management which was agreed by the leaseholders at the June 2017 AGM.
After extensive research and consultation with leaseholders a contract was signed in April 2018 with Harrow Management Ltd in Sutton who will manage the day to day business of Laurel Manor. An inevitable development after almost forty years of self management.
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.
In January 2014 the freehold of the development was purchased by Laurel Manor Freehold Limited with the help and considerable financial support from sixty of the sixty-eight leaseholders. This will allow each participating lessee to obtain a 999 year lease at any time and at a zero ground rent for a minimal £1 premium and to apply for membership of Laurel Manor Freehold Limited.
The Directors have been in discussion with local Solicitors in terms of procedure and cost. Our unanimous opinion is that Carpenter & Co of Wallington is likely to offer the best service at an appropriate cost, the latter ranging from approximately £460 to £550 including VAT and disbursements for the time being at least. The higher figure will apply to those cases where there is a mortgage and the mortgage company requires (as it will do) what is known as a Deed of Substituted Security, and quite likely will want to charge for the privilege. I am aware, incidentally, that historically many people may have paid off the bulk of their mortgages but kept a small sum outstanding for practical reasons, which could be an argument in some cases for repaying the small balance rather than incurring the additional £90 legal costs.
To apply for a 999 year lease from Laurel Manor Freehold Ltd write to the Secretary LMFL, Harrow Mangement, 6 Lind Road, Sutton. SM1 4PJ or e-mail email@example.com giving your full Laurel Manor address.
To apply for LMFL membership write to the Secretary LMFL, Harrow Management, 6 Lind Road, Sutton. SM1 4PJ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Laurel Manor Development was built in 1974 and looks as good now as when it was new. This has not been achieved without spending considerable amounts of money, while keeping the service charge at a reasonable level.
As part of our ongoing commitment to keep Laurel Manor as one of the most sought after developments in Sutton and to benefit both owners and residents, we have continued to carry out maintenance and improvements with a reasonable service charge increasing (if at all) at a modest annual rate. Our husbandry of resources enabled us to renew the "final" roof in 2009 under our planned programme. This was achieved, as usual, without any special levy.
In December 2014 we received a grant to insulate all the external cavity walls which were filled with micro polystyrene pellets at no cost to us. Within days reports were received of warmer rooms.
As a result of the new cavity fill the efficiency rating of the flats will have altered. To download a new Energy Performance Certificate for a particular flat either CLICK HERE or copy this address:
into Google or any web search engine, click on "Accept Terms" at the bottom of the page then insert the Post Code and then your flat number. From here you can either download the file or view it and print it. Remember you now have to have an Energy Performance Certificate for your flat before you can sell it.
We were pleased to see an increase in attendance at our Annual General Meetings in June which reflects the interest that residents have in meeting their Committee and neighbours and putting forward ideas and suggestions to make Laurel Manor a better place to live, and I know you all share in our commitment to keeping it one of the most sought after Developments in Sutton. To see the full Chairman's 2019 AGM report CLICK HERE.
It was with great sadness that we learned in late July 2011 that our beautiful Chestnut tree behind Blocks A and B was severely diseased. After seeking professional advice it was concluded the tree suffered from a fungal attack causing bleeding canker resulting in severe bark cracking and also an attack of Leaf Miner. The tree was dying and needed to be taken down. It had stood there, we think, for over fifty years, already a mature tree when Laurel Manor was built. A great inheritance. Fungal attacks on trees has grown to a national epidemic over recent years and Chestnut trees are not immune. To see the tree and its problems CLICK HERE..
Fire precautions. In 2010 following a committee driven safety initiative, we sought advice on appropriate fire precautions for Laurel Manor. We acted on that advice and installed Fire and Smoke detectors in the vestibules and common areas in each block. In September 2015 we were inspected by the Area Fire Safety Officer who recommended we update our Fire Risk Assessment. under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) 2005.
This we did in December 2015 and we now had a more stringent timescale in which to fulfil its recommendations. The introduction of an emergency lighting system in all vestibules and hallways and the installation of automatic closers to the front doors of each flat to comply with the Fire Safety Order 2005 were obligatory and are now fully installed. The Committee decided to cover the cost of the supply and fitting of the closers.
The new closers caused your Committee to adopt a new Fire Policy, that of "DEFEND IN PLACE".
This meant that the manual fire call points were now redundant and, as a consequence, were removed. Thus, if a fire should break out in your flat, it is your responsibility to raise the alarm and call 999. Then leave your flat quickly but safely. The door will close behind you. If you are in your flat and you hear the alarm then you are advised to stay where you are. This is where you are safest; behind a fire door.
There are Fire Notices by the front entrance to each block.
To read the fire poster CLICK HERE.
To read what to do if the Fire Alarm sounds CLICK HERE.
The Fire Order added the responsibility on the management to appoint a Responsible Person to file a monthly report on the state of all common areas and to advise on areas of concern. To this end we have contracted the assessor to fill this post. Whilst Laurel Manor Management has a legal responsibility for safety, so too have the residents (owners and tenants) for keeping all common areas free from any obstacles such as shoes, boots, buggies and toys. Were any of these to cause an accident then their owners could be liable for any damages. To read the Fire Risk Assessment which has been edited to remove references to specific residents CLICK HERE.
In October 2016 we received a letter from the Fire Risk Assessor reclassifying the original fire risk outcome and lowering it from Tolerable to Trivial. This should comfort the residents of Laurel Manor knowing the actions taken during the year have made them even safer. To read the letter CLICK HERE.
As you will no doubt be aware, smoking in communal areas is now against the law, and to help those of you who wish to smoke under the porch, we have provided a wall mounted ash tray in each porch for you to use.
Parking has always been on a "First come, first served" basis on the access road and gaps in the garage area.
Please do not park (or let your visitors park) between or in front of the garages or next to the bin shed entrance at any time. The garages are in constant use and you will be blocking your next door neighbour and the two garages opposite making access difficult and sometimes impossible.
The Management team receive many complaints about unattended vehicles and notices placed on the offending vehicles and letters to the owners asking for their co-operation are ignored. In an attempt to improve / resolve the problem LMM have added new NO PARKING signs and are also considering using a specialist parking control company for private land, to patrol the garage area. Parked and unattended vehicles in the garage area could then attract a £130 charge.
Occasionally we have vehicles that are apparently abandoned, unroadworthy or with a SORN notice left in the access road or garage area. This is not tolerated as it causes considerable nuisance. After reasonable warning to remove the vehicles it is our policy to contact the Police, the DVLA and London Borough Council and between us the vehicles are either just removed or removed and crushed under Section 3 Refuse Disposal (Amenities) Act 1978. In 2016 we successfully used this Act to remove two offending vehicles.
If all the spaces are taken, did you know that for only £55 (2019) you can park on Devonshire Road in the residents' parking bays for 12 months? The permit is valid anywhere in the Green Zone, subject to the terms and conditions. There are some free visitor parking vouchers included in the fee. Roadside parking is free on Devonshire Road before 8 a.m. and after 6.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and all day Sunday. There is a sliding scale of fees for up to three permits per flat. For more information call Sutton Parking Services on 020 8770 5070.
Garages should be secured at all times. It is rare to have thefts from garages and it is usually the ones that do not have a lock and/or bolt fitted. If you would like to have floor or side bolts fitted, leave contact details with Harrow Management (email@example.com) and they will give you details of a local handyman. If your garage door needs a little attention, there is a local garage door company at Banstead. "Wessex Garage Doors", Tel. No 01737 373444 or 020 8644 2322. (All costs relating to garage doors and/or locks and bolts are for the account of the flat owners). Please, under no circumstances climb on the garage roofs (including the Bin Shed)! They are fragile and will not stand much weight before they break.
There is a cold water tap behind the bin shed for car washing and garden watering.
Entrance halls must be kept clear at all times of bicycles, buggies or other hazards to avoid possible accidents and to give the emergency services unhindered access. Failure to observe this could result in prosecution in the event of an accident.
The standard Lease (Clause 2-11) prohibits the hanging or displaying of washing, towels etc. from balconies or from windows. This also explains why you do not see Agents' "For Sale" or "For Let" boards at Laurel Manor.
Waste collection. Laurel Manor has a contract with Sutton Councel to provide a weekly bin collection, usually TUESDAY. The bins in the bin shed are for black bag non-recyclable rubbish. These bags must be placed IN the bins, rather than on the floor. The lids on the bins do lift up. If you have children and send them down with rubbish please remind them to put the bags in the bins. The bins are usually emptied on Tuesdays. For more information call Sutton Council on 020 8770 5000.Next to the bin shed there are green bins for recycling to take cartons, food and drink cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles and jars, but not plastic bin liners or sacks. Separate blue lidded bins are for your paper and cardboard.
In 2017 Sutton Council began a food waste recycling system providing each flat with a separate 7 litre brown plastic container. Biodegrageable bags for food waste are available in local supermarkets and these must be placed in the brown food waste bins. Each flat has been issued with a green bag for re-cycled items. This should be emptied directly into one of the re-cycling bins when full. This will mean that it is no longer necessary to use carrier bags or sacks as they should not be left in the re-cycle bins.
The collection of domestic bulky items is carried out by Sutton Council on Saturdays. Up to 5 items can be collected at one visit, they are priced individually. Fridges/freezers are collected separately on Wednesdays and are charged at £20 each to cover the cost of environmental disposal.
It is no good leaving large items by the bin shed without making separate arrangements and paying the fee! The refuse collectors will not take them. For more information on this service call 020 8770 5070 (the same as the parking number above). Please mark the items with the reference number and date of collection so we know that an arrangement has been made. Please do not just dump large items by the bin shed and walk away!
DO NOT LEAVE old car batteries in the bin shed!!! They will not be collected and pose a danger to the children who live here. Sutton's Re-Use and Recycling Centre in Kimpton Park Way off Oldfields Road (next door to Tesco) will take old car batteries for a fee of £5.
Replacement door tokens can be supplied at £15 each. Please contact HARROW MANAGEMENT with your name and flat number, together with a cheque for the appropriate amount, made payable to "HARROW MANAGEMENT LTD".
For security reasons the main entry doors should not be hooked open for longer than necessary - for example when tenants are moving in/out or during deliveries.
Did you know that you can gain access to any Block by using the Trade button? This now operates from 5.30 am to 2.00 pm all year round and is useful for deliveries.
There are gardens and garden benches to sit on and enjoy the sun shine behind the Blocks for the enjoyment of all residents. The playing of ball games is not allowed except with a soft ball or shuttlecock. During the hot weather you need to be aware of the large windows on the ground floors being open and avoid walking/running into them. It hurts! Please also try to keep noise to a low level. Barbeques are not allowed.
The TV system we have, enables residents to receive all the freeview channels. If you require more channels, there are satellite dishes on the roofs of the Blocks, supplied and paid for by Management. It is not permitted to add additional private satellite dishes to the property. If you wish to be connected to SKY or FREESAT, please e-mail Harrow Management (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, flat number and contact details and details will be supplied. Please note that there will be a charge, payable by the Flat Owner to the Installer, to connect you and run the cable down the outside of the Block and to supply and fit a new connection socket. You may, of course, require the appropriate set top box. NOTE. There are no current provisions for SKY Q connections.
Cleaning windows is sometimes quite difficult. Sutton Window Cleaners have worked with our resident's windows for many years. Contact: 07494 341 592.
You can contact the Site Management by writing to Harrow Management, 6 Lind Road, Sutton. SM14PJ. Your committee are a team of volunteers who genuinely care about the quality of life at Laurel Manor and give our time free of charge. We all stand for election every year at the Annual General Meeting, usually held in June at the Sutton Tennis and Squash Club, so if you want to meet us and some of your neighbours, come along! Details are in the AGM documents all flat owners receive prior to the meeting. Tenants are also welcome; just contact Harrow Management and they will let you know the date and time.
And finally . . . I would like to thank warmly all my colleagues on the Board of Directors and all other residents who have, in countless ways, contributed to the continuing improvement of our "Manor".
In fact, you may be able to do more because the Board is not at full strength numerically and enquiries from interested owners or residents through Harrow Management would be most welcome.
Laurel Manor is not just a Development of flats, it is so much more than that. We have heard reports of buyers waiting for a flat here to become available rather than live somewhere else, such is the magic of "The Manor". So please keep in touch and together we can make life here even better.
With kind regards.