The management of Beechcroft developments, including the employment of the Estate Managers, is handled by ELM Group.
With a history dating back 50 years, the ELM Group which includes the Retirement Leasehold Housing Association and Ethical Leasehold Management Ltd, provides a comprehensive property management service to all sectors of the residential property market.
Today, ELM Group is one of the country’s leading estate management companies, providing a tailored approach to all sectors of the residential property market, working with developers, leaseholders, right to manage and housing associations.
In 2009, Beechcroft was searching for a thoroughly ethical organisation to be a managing partner and was attracted by ELM’s excellent reputation, and vast range of experience.
The agreement between the two organisations was signed on 1 May 2009 and the partnership has proved highly successful. ELM provides a not-for-profit management service which means that residents only pay for the services provided and prospective buyers arriving at Beechcroft developments are always surprised by this.
The Estate Management Service is paid for through the development’s service charge. At Beechcroft, there is a careful balance of service and affordability. Residents only pay for the services provided and the charges are used to maintain the development to a high standard. The Estate Manager plays a vital role.
Beechcroft’s Estate Managers do not live onsite or work full-time because this would increase the costs of the service charges considerably. They work five mornings a week but are available by phone or email should an emergency arise outside working hours.
Service charges cover the cost of the estate management including cleaning of the communal areas, any maintenance work, the upkeep of the landscaped setting, cleaning of the communal areas, lighting and water charges associated with the communal areas and the cost of any maintenance agreements in place for lifts.
The charges also cover some of the things you would have been paying for in your own home, including the upkeep of your private garden, buildings insurance and external windows cleaning. There will also be a ‘reserve fund’ – an amount of money set aside for future works.
No, the service charge is not profit-making and is calculated to cover the annual costs for the included services.
Residents sometimes ask for information on the local area or they may need help moving furniture, clearing rubbish, assistance with minor plumbing problems or operating their home heating or appliances because there’s so much to learn when first moving into a new property.
All of us worry about leaving our homes unattended when we go away on holiday or to spend long periods at a second home. For second homeowners, the Estate Management Service is one of the most important factors when they go away for months at a time.
If the Estate Manager makes regular, recorded checks on an empty home whilst the owner is away, home insurance remains valid.
When owners are going away, the Estate Manager has permission from the resident to check there are no leaks, that the post isn’t piling up and, if its cold, the Estate Manager may turn the heating up.
When owners return, they may ask the Manager to get them some bread and milk and put the heating on ready just before the owners return.
Estate Managers come from all walks of life, some are semi-retired or changing career. They may come from the Armed Services, the Health Service, Customer Service or from backgrounds in practical trades or business.
They are selected because they are able to ‘turn their hands’ to most things from minor repairs, cleaning of the communal areas and gardening of both private gardens and landscaped settings.
Estate Managers need to be friendly and helpful because they’ll do so much more – they’ll provide information on the local area, organise meetings and social events for owners, write newsletters, drive the shuttle bus on those developments that provide the service, look after properties whilst owners are away and help residents with a host of small tasks.
These vary from retirement community to retirement community but, generally, estate managers work five mornings a week from Monday to Friday.
However, all homeowners have the manager’s contact details – mobile phone number and email address in case they need to get in touch.
Creating a safe and positive environment is a priority for all Estate Managers. They check fire alarms, emergency lighting, water supplies and liaise with contractors including gardeners, window cleaners and other contractors ensuring that they work quietly without disturbing residents.
In addition, the Estate Manager provides ‘softer services’ which means being a ‘good neighbour,’ checking on properties whilst owners are away, lending residents a hand, preparing and despatching newsletters, helping residents create their own community by organising coffee mornings and social events. On developments with a shuttle bus, the Estate Manager will manage this service, taking residents on shopping trips.
At the start of the day, the Estate Manager will walk around the development checking that everything is clean and in good order.
A professional gardening team comes in monthly but, on a daily basis, the Estate Manager will carry out general gardening tasks like tidying the grass, clearing the leaves in autumn and the snow in winter.
The Estate Manager will organise cleaning and the regular external window cleaning – and everything that is necessary to keep the development and setting in good order.
“At Beechcroft, you’re able to get together with your neighbours without having to pay for expensive onsite restaurants. We have plenty of local restaurants if you want to eat out. I find the service charge here very reasonable – you get a lot done for you including gardening and cleaning of the communal areas and the external windows. You also have the services."
"If I was giving someone tips on moving in retirement, I would say location is very important and also to look for a development with a good sense of community rather than lots of facilities which cost a lot of money in terms of service charges. Retirement living doesn’t have to cost the earth. "
Annie Inglis, Beechcroft homeowner, Windsor
“Linda, our Estate Manager, is marvellous, absolutely brilliant. We couldn’t have anyone better."
"Nothing is too much for her – she really helps our community and the residents."
"I have been to the coffee mornings she sets up – they’re great, she takes boxed games.”
Mr and Mrs Elderfield, Beechcroft homeowners, Watlington
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