Mrs Benning took the chair; all committee members were present, with a further 15 society members in attendance.
Minutes of the previous quarterly meeting were confirmed and signed. Proposed by Mr E Gaten and seconded by Mrs I Gaten.
Mrs Benning began her report by informing the meeting that we have three properties empty at the moment. 6 Chestnut Avenue has been empty for a considerable time, as there were problems contacting the next of kin, but the property has now been handed back to the estate. As you may be aware, 4 Chestnut Avenue is now also empty. We repeatedly tried to make contact with the tenant, but to no avail. The committee visited the property and it was found to be in a poor state. A lot of the furniture had been removed and the tenant was no longer there, so the estate took steps to regain possession of the property.
It has been mentioned before about the fence boundaries. If your property borders land that does not belong to Anchor Tenants, such as the allotments or those houses on Lilac Avenue, could you please make sure when erecting new fencing that it is put on the correct boundary line. If you are not sure where this is, you must contact the estate office and our maintenance men will mark out the correct boundary line at your property. We are having some problems at the moment with somebody trying to claim our property. We may have to go to court to resolve this issue, but I cannot say any more about this at the moment, only to emphasize how important it is that the external boundaries are kept in the correct place.
It has also been decided to increase the age for being eligible for a house to twenty five. It was felt that twenty one is too young, at this age it may be putting them under financial strain. As most of you are aware these houses need a lot of work doing to them when taken on.
Lastly, a big thank you to those who took part in the Centenary Celebrations, it seemed that everyone enjoyed the day, and it was lovely to see so many people taking part.
This concluded the chairman’s report.
Nominations are Mrs L Osborne, Mrs L Taylor, Mrs A Sheppard, Mrs R Wan and Mr M Carter. As a vote will be required, Mrs P Smith and Mr E Gaten volunteered to act as scrutineers.
Mrs Benning informed the meeting that there was a need for a rent increase of £1.75 per week, for the forthcoming financial year, this amount was the maximum that could be made for secure tenants.
We would like to be able to re-wire the hall, but this will be at considerable cost. Also there are more properties becoming vacant, and it is felt that the extra revenue is needed to cope with this.
Mr M Carter asked if the rent rise applied to all the rents to include caravans and garages. Mrs Benning said that at this point it had only been the house rents that had been discussed, but taking that point in mind it would be brought up later.
It was then proposed by Mrs I Gaten that there is a rent increase of £1.75 per week with effect from 2nd February 2009, seconded by Mrs J Ryan. Voting was as follows: 12 in favour, with 2 abstentions, motion carried.
Mr M Osborne asked if the re-wiring of the hall was urgent. Mrs Benning said that it was due to be done, but it will cost between £12,000 to £15,000 whether it will be undertaken next year will depend on the money available within the estate’s budget.
Mrs Goosey asked if the estate had considered giving the work needed on the empty properties to outside contractors. Mrs Benning said that we do use outside contractors where needed, i.e. plumbers electricians, with our maintenance men carrying out the rest of the work required. We do try to complete the work as quickly as possible, but there is more work needed as the properties get older.
Mrs Bradshaw brought to the attention of the meeting insurance for accidental damage to windows. She went on to say that it would be wise for tenants to check that their contents insurance covered this, along with cover for kitchen units etc. Mrs Benning said that it had been brought up at a previous meeting and tenants had been advised to check that their insurance covered these things.
Mrs A Cook asked if the age limit for being eligible for a house was the same as it used to be where married people were eligible if they are under twenty five. Mrs Benning said that the committee had not discussed the age limit with regard to a married person, but on reflection we may not be able to treat them any differently as this would be seen to be discriminating between a married or single person. Therefore the age to be eligible for a property may have to be the same regardless, of whether they were single, married or with a partner. She went on to say that the committee could look at this again and see where we stand legally.
Mr C Smith said that it was not long ago that the age to be eligible for a property had been brought down, what has happened to change the committee’s mind.
Mrs Benning said that there had been problems, which were mainly the financial commitment for young people, even though they may feel that they are capable of taking on the property, they may not have had the time to have the finances behind them that are needed to take on these properties, when they have also to take into account other expenses i.e. council tax gas and electric, they may find themselves overstretched.
Mrs Benning concluded the business of the meeting by thanking everyone for their attendance and wishing them on behalf of the committee an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, before declaring the meeting closed at 7.50pm.