A group of residents with a combined age of 428 have become directors of their own retirement home after becoming “fed up with being fleeced for essential services”.
The group took action after enduring expensive fees and long delays for minor jobs to be carried out at their 44-bed facility in Gloucestershire.
Together, they set up a management company which has control over all the services, including gardening, cleaning, window cleaning, electricians and utilities.
84-year-old director Marjorie Davis said: “We can already see the difference. We have been able to call in local contractors to fix faults with no fuss, at a far more reasonable price than before when we had to use big companies chosen by our freeholder.”
Rectory Court residents – Rosemary Nelson, 81, Lesley Whitehead, 85, Caroline Taylor, 90, Muriel Adams, 88, and Ms Davis – partnered with Home to Home Property Management to manage their monthly services, and together, they have navigated the legal process to acquire the right to manage their own services.
Managing agent Cherry Jones, of Home from Home, said: “Retirement properties should offer peace of mind and value for money. This is the last port of call for these people – it should be a happy place.
“It was amazing for us when we took over. The amount of money that old people were being charged for their service charge was totally unrealistic. We were able to half the service charge, whilst still maintaining services just by taking on local contractors and using local people to help take on the day-to-day running of the site.”
She added: “The whole atmosphere in that building has changed. They can now see the sums for each individual service, rather than services being lumped together.
“They’re really, really happy.”
A spokesperson for social housing provider Stonewater, the landlord of Rectory Court, said: “We are supportive of giving leaseholders choice and we are pleased that the residents of Rectory Court have been able to make savings in some areas by self-managing the scheme.
“Right to Manage has been available to leaseholders since 2002 and although taking this level of responsibility for managing a scheme is not for everyone, by investing their own time they have made some savings and we welcome that for residents.”
Following feedback from its leasehold retirement customers, Stonewater is currently retendering a number of service contracts, giving local contractors the opportunity to tender for the contracts.