Mr Gee took the chair, all committee members were present with a further 18 society members in attendance.
Minutes of the previous quarterly meeting were confirmed and signed, proposed by Mrs J Bradshaw and seconded by Mrs J Goodwin.
The chairman commenced his report by saying that the painting programme for 71 to 111 Keyham Lane had been completed to our satisfaction.
All the work that was necessary on 111 Keyham Lane has now been completed and the house allocated to a new tenant. We welcome them to our community and wish them well. Renovating the house may seem to have taken a long time but there was a lot of major work required. Two other houses remain empty at the moment. One of these we hope to complete in the near future. The remaining house again will be a major operation and will probably not be ready for occupation until next year.
A number of people have asked the reason for taking over the repair and maintenance of central heating systems, so a little back ground information might be appropriate. The Gas Safety Act, when it was introduced, like all new government legislation, contained a number of grey areas. One of these was how to deal with tenants own appliances. Amendments to the Act were eventually brought in to clarify the situation. The new amendments put the responsibility for repair and maintenance squarely on the shoulders of the Landlords i.e. Anchor Tenants Limited. The gas safety check, which is done each year, gave us a fair idea with regard to what we would have to deal with. In order to enable us to do the work involved, we built up our reserves last year. It looks very much that we shall use most of this, but that was expected. It will not affect our ability to continue with the programmes and policies we have put in place.
You will all have received our recent letter with regards to the fitting of wood burning stoves. We have no wish, at the present time to stop them being installed, if the tenant wishes to do so. Fitted properly they are a safe and efficient method of heating, but building regulations do apply to their fitting and must be adhered to. This is the reason why we will only allow them to be fitted by a HETAS registered fitter. HETAS stands for heating equipment testing approval scheme. The fitter will issue the necessary certificate of compliance and safety.
We are at the moment experiencing a lot of problems with the chimneys and flues on some of the older properties. Chimney stacks are not a problem, they can be repaired. The biggest problem is when the flue liner has deteriorated to such an extent that the chimney no longer functions as it should do. We have a duty of care to our tenants and safety is paramount. At the moment, when renovating empty houses and installing central heating, the offending chimneys are closed down. This may not be the way to go with occupied properties. We are considering the options open to us at the moment and also how we may check the chimneys and flues on a regular basis.
We still find that some tenants are altering their houses without first obtaining permission and submitting details of what they wish to do. We do not wish to stop tenants from improving the houses, in fact we welcome it, but it is important that written permission is obtained before any work is started and that competent tradesmen are engaged to do the work. We need the details for our records and also to make sure the houses are a safe environment to live in. The tenant has a duty, under common law, not to damage the property and to take proper care of it and if they alter their house without permission they are putting their tenancy at risk. There is very little information that I can give to you with regard to the disputed boundary at the rear of Lilac Avenue. As far as the land at the rear of 15, 17 & 19 Lilac Avenue is concerned, this is still on going. We have set out our boundaries and have had no more contact with Mr Beesley.
There are various rumours going around about what he is doing but we can confirm none of them.
Will there be a rent increase this year? We are keeping a close eye on the money situation, inflation at 5% affects us as well as everybody else, cost of materials and contractors rise. We would hope to avoid an increase this year but so many factors are out of our control that one may be necessary.
Lastly it would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to our retiring chairman Mrs Benning, or Jenny as we know her. I do not know of anybody who engenders the true spirit and ethos of this community of ours, like Jenny does. She has given many years of service to the estate, both as a committee member and chairman. We may not always have agreed with her views but you always knew she had the true interests of the estate and its members at heart. I thank her for her hard work and effort on behalf of Anchor Tenants.
This concluded the chairman’s report.
Nominations are Mrs L Osborne, Mrs R Wan and Mr M Carter. As there are three vacancies and three nominations, a ballot will not be required.
Mrs J Gamble asked if there was a number for tenants to contact if they had problems with their central heating at a weekend. Mr Gee informed her that tenants should contact a committee member who will then deal with it.
Mr Parr asked if the concerns regarding the chimneys included open fires. Mr Gee said that they may have to be looked at. He went on to say that the committee had met with the maintenance men and service engineer to discuss the conditions of the chimneys and try to find a solution.
Mrs Gamble asked if tenants with wood burners were having difficulty in finding someone to check their wood burner, as she had found a company who will check wood burners and issue a HETAS certificate.
Mrs J Bradshaw asked if the estate paid for the scaffolding on a daily basis. Mr Gee informed her that it is a fixed charge regardless of the length of time it is in place.
Mr Parr asked if there had been any further thoughts on planting some trees on the Lilac Avenue allotments. Mr Gee said that the estate had looked into a scheme where trees are given free, but we were not eligible as the area where the trees are planted would have to be open to the general public. He went on to ask if anyone sees a sight on the estate that would be suitable to plant small types of ornamental trees to let the committee know.
This concluded the business of the meeting and Mr Gee thanked members for their attendance, before declaring the meeting closed at 7.15pm.