I am writing to ask for some advice from anyone with any relevant
experience or for that matter from anyone who has any thoughts.
I moved in to my new build house three years ago. There are some
communal areas which are maintained by a ground maintenance company. All
of the houses pay £100 each per month for this. There are 41 houses
between two small sites. The communal grounds consists of one large area
of grass planted with some trees and then 2/3 areas planted with shrubs
and very small areas of grass.
The ground maintenance company do the absolute minimum and less. I have
reluctantly paid the £100 but have done so with resentment. They arrive
and cut the grass once a fortnight at best. They will walk past trees
that are lying at angles because the tie backs have been snapped and
they take no pride in the area....
I attended the yearly meeting with the company last year and made my
feelings known but there has been no improvement. The grass was cut
yesterday but the guys (3 of them) took 4 hrs to cut it as they had to
cut it three times as it was so long (they had left it3-4 weeks). I know
a number of residents have not paid due to the lack of maintenance.
Ok, so I keep a large garden at home, I like to think I keep it very
neat, cut the lawn at least once a week and do all the edging and
maintain the beds and shrubs. My gardening knowledge is relatively
limited, I mainly experiment at home and plant what I like and maintain
it accordingly. I am not afraid of hard work and I take pride in my
garden and enjoy it looking well.
Re the communal area I feel angry that it looks so bad. I believe it
could be lovely if it was only maintained regularly. The work needed
involves a weekly cut and the shrubs trimmed and weeding of the beds....
I estimate that 3-4 hrs per week would have it lovely. This said because
it has not been maintained it will take more work initially to get it
nice. For instance the grass quality is very poor lots of weeds and moss
so it would need to be treated and fed so more work to get it in order
but I believe when this is done it could then be well maintained.
Clearly my motivations are because I live here and want it to look well
and for my family and neighbours to enjoy.
Anyway to the point, I contacted the owner of the maintenance company, I
made my points and asked him if he would consider paying a resident to
maintain the area. He nearly snapped my hand off and was very positive
to the idea. This concerned me a little. However on the face of it I can
see that the site must be a headache for him as others are not paying
and he must have a number of complaints to deal with. He said he would
send me the schedule they work to ie how much alloted time to each task
and would welcome a quote from me.....
So here is where I need advice. I would like to explore this for the
above reasons. I realise that I will not be able to retire on the money
I will bring in however I don't want to be taken advantage of. I planned
on studying his schedule closely and seeing if I felt this was
realistic. I considered that I would need to factor for the use of my
equipment and maintenance of same. I will also want to talk to him about
a budget or factor for feed/weedkiller/plants etc etc... I am also
wondering if insurance becomes an issue, would I be covered by their
insurance (at the meeting last year when we asked them how they spent
the £4k fees they collected he made a big play of the public liability
insurance for the area).
I also recognise that if I take this on I am likely to have additional
responsibilities ie residents approaching me to complain or raise
issues. I am prepaired for this. I also believe that because I will
maintain the area well this should not be a huge issue.
So does anyone have any views, experiences observations they could