July 20, 2024

MP tells Metcalfe Court it has won ballot to end live-in house manager

AndrewStunellThe residents’ association at Metcalfe Court, in Romiley, Cheshire, has won its protracted and acrimonious struggle to end having a live-in house manager.

The count of the vote was supervised in the London offices of freeholder Fairhold by local LibDem MP Andrew Stunell (left). Fairhold is a freehold owning company of the Tchenguiz Family Trust, which owns the freeholds of 53,000 retirement leasehold properties.

In an email to the residents’ association, Mr Stunell writes:

I thought you should know that I supervised the count at 4pm this afternoon [June 13] and I am satisfied that it was conducted correctly.  For you information 7 had previously been opened in error – all of those were in favour of change.  The remaining 42 were opened in my presence and were all in the standard envelopes.

40 of those were signed, and two were unsigned.  Bearing in mind that they were both clearly enclosed in the standard sealed envelopes I was satisfied that they should be included in the count.   Of the unsigned ballot papers one was for and one against.

The result was

  • Retain existing arrangements:                   10
  • Change existing arrangements:                 37
  • No preference                                                   2
  • Total leaseholders votes received            49

Mr Watson [of Fairhold] was satisfied that a sufficient majority for the change had been shown.

There now has to be a formal process for changing everyone’s leases, so there WILL be another formal and legal process to go through before the new arrangements come into effect.

I hope you agree that this is a good outcome.

Best wishes

Andrew Stunell




  1. I am glad this has been resolved but wonder why the leases have to be changed? There is a provision for variation of the services in the lease and this is what has now been done. At most it requires a simple “Deed of Variation” . When Peverel balloted and removed Managers they never changed the lease. The lease already allows for the service charge fraction (the proportion paid by leaseholders) to be varied as there will, eventually, be one more flat paying a service charge once the Manager’s flat is sold.

    I think the residents should watch out as I suspect Fairhold will use this as an excuse to clobber them for some stiff legal fees. Meanwhile will Fairhold continue to collect the rent on the Manager’s flat whilst it is empty – I suspect yes.

  2. Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation says

    I suspect Andrew Stunell has confused the lease with the services contract. We are keeping a close eye on this.

  3. michael hollands says

    Whillst I congratulate the residents of Metcalfe Court on their victory I think there will be a certain type of resident who may be disadvantaged by not having a resident manager.
    I am thinking of those very elderly who are living on their own who rely on a friendly and efficient manager for company and friendship. And for immediate assistance in the case of an emergency.
    This could be the reason for them purchasing this lifestyle in the first place.
    If there is this type of resident in Metcalfe Court I hope the other residents will keep an eye on them.

    • trevor Bradley says

      At last. Well done to the residents and Andrew Stunell. I agree to a cerain degree of comments from Michael H but in reality it does not work like that. My mother lives in a retirement complex of 28 flats. Mom and a few others would like what Michael describes but it does not happen. Due to legilation the live in HM works 9 to 5. After 5pm if anyone pulls the emegency chord it goes straight thru to a “central control” who handle as appropriate. Between 5 pm and 9 am the HM is never involved. Hence in this day and age it is a total waste of residents money to pay for a live in HM

  4. michael hollands says

    Sorry to hear that the managers duties are not fully carried out in Trevor B`s mother`s retirement complex.
    Last week I went to view an apartment in a complex rmanaged by Anchor. I spoke to the Resident Manager who seemed very efficient and to some of the residents who thought she was absolutely wonderful.
    Being a person with no immediate family and with this complex a fair way from my current residence and friends, I asked the Manager if she though it would be a suitable place for me to purchase and live . She then proceeded to tell me what her duties were in respect of the very elderly and possibly lonely residents.
    These are some of her duties.
    1 To make conversation with and to befriend those who she thought would welcome it,
    2 If they were ill, to keep an extra watch out for them and to contact them each morning to see if they
    required assistance.
    3 To be their key holder and point of contact if the emergency services were required.
    4 In cases of extreme illness or physical or mental condition to advise them or the Authorities that they
    would need to move to more suitable accomodation.
    5 If necessary to advise them where they could get help for any services they may require. eg.medical,
    solicitors, accountants, etc
    6 Occassionally help with shopping or collecting subscriptions,library books etc
    Plus many other duties which were all written down in a handbook which she showed to me

    This sort of service might come in very handy for me in a few years time but I would be very upset if after purchasing this was all taken away due to some of the residents wanting to save on the management fees. I might as well have purchased an ordinary flat.
    I realise that the service provided in this particular complex may have been exceptional but it is what should be provided and is what the property sales people say is provided.
    The residents of Metcalfe Court may not have been getting value for money but I hope they will not forget those who voted to keep a resident manager for the reasons I have given above.

    • Trevor Bradley says

      Michael, you are wrong to say the managers duties are not being fully carried out where my mother is. As per her HMs job description, they are. The HM, like so many others, works 9am to 5pm. She will liase etc with residents within those hours. However so would an HM, with the same job description, who lived off site, which would cost residents far less. It appears not to be a simple matter. Some HMs do more than what is required within their job description others don’t, but why should they. Whether they live in or out I would advise seeing their job description before buying.
      In the case of where my mother is, like so many other sites, because of the job description, it is poinless and a waste of money having a live in HM

  5. michael hollands says

    I can understand there being no difference between a live in or live out manager if it is someone who treats it as a 9 to 5 job and has little interest in the personal welfare of the residents.
    But I think that many of those who take this sort of job are different to that .
    Many are single women probably been previously employed in nursing or caring. They do make friends with and take more of an interest in the residents during and after these working hours. So many would prefer to live in to enable them to give a better service which would be a greater benefit to those who would like more contact. eg. those without family or close friends.
    The EAC ( Elderly Accomodation Council ) have done a report entitled ” Live in manager versers Live out manager “. I will see if I can get a copy and ask Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation to post it on their website.

    It would be interesting to know how much money the residents of Metcalfe Court actually save.
    I can foresee the following savings.
    Rental on a one bed apartment . ( Girlings charge around £600 month for one of these) £7200 pa
    Power and water charges say £1000pa
    Total saving £8200 pa for 49 flats = £167 flat for not having a live in manager.
    If the flat was sold to an additional resident then the current overall management charge would be reduced by around 2%, as there would be 50 occupied.
    But this further reduction would not occur if Fairhold chose to rent out the flat and retain the rent money.

  6. michael hollands says

    Just one futher point to my last comment.
    A livein manager would get free accomodation as part of their remuneration.
    So if they resided in their ownoutside property I would assume that their salary would be higher.
    This could negate much of the £167 pa savingI i calculated in my last comment.