Binning freeholders will leave residents worse off

first_imgAnti-leasehold campaigners have been quite vocal in the media recently, claiming that freeholders are unnecessary as they perform no function in residential blocks.It’s a familiar accusation which is often accompanied by the observation that the leasehold system is “ancient”. It still isn’t clear to me what the age of the leasehold system has to do with its viability but the growing prominence of building safety in the policy agenda is now making it increasingly impossible to argue that freeholders don’t do anything.The role of a freeholder is clear: to ensure that residential blocks are managed in a professional and efficient manner over a long-term period. Not only do freeholders ensure that the value of residential blocks is preserved for its entire lifespan, but they oversee the safety and well-being of the residents who live there.The reality in Scotland paints a useful picture of what happens when freeholders aren’t there. The law there is very different to England and Wales – residents in apartment blocks do not have a professional freeholder to look after the long-term lifespan of a building; a measure that came into place when the leasehold system was banned in 2012.This is causing serious problems across the country, as the Scottish House Condition Survey recently found that 50 per cent of Scottish housing is in a state of critical disrepair, and almost half of this demands urgent attention.Individual occupants are living in multi-storey blocks and many do not have the funds set aside to replace communal functions when they break, such as a lift when it reaches the end of its life. Professional freeholders, however, perform exactly this function, along with many other important services for residents.Queen’s SpeechFor the rest of the UK, this is a function that is about to become even more important. In the most recent Queen’s Speech, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to introduce a Fire Safety Bill and there is a clear consensus in Westminster that new regulation must be introduced to resolve ongoing issues with fire risks in residential blocks. We hope to see the next iteration of proposals in the form of a White Paper, Green Paper or draft Bill, and for the legislative process to begin in the current session of Parliament.Overall, these reforms have been welcomed across the industry and are a step in the right direction towards ensuring residents are safe in their own homes. But further progress is needed to monitor and manage fire safety risks in residential blocks.The question for those who believe that freeholders are unnecessary is simple: who is going to perform this role? Of course, in some cases, there will be resident-led management groups who can take on responsibility for building and fire safety. But is that going to be possible in every apartment block in the UK, including in the larger and more complicated mixed-use blocks?Under the Government’s new proposals, this role entails a range of significant financial and legal responsibilities which are usually performed by a professional organisation with the necessary expertise to deliver this function.In my experience, resident-led management groups are unlikely to have the qualifications, administrative functions and resources to effectively carry out the role. More fundamentally, residents simply may not want to take on these obligations.The challenge for policymakers is to ensure that progress with the building and fire safety regime is not consumed by flawed rhetoric about freeholders and the leasehold system. Of course, there are challenges within the leasehold sector, which is why reforms must be underpinned by comprehensive regulation to raise standards and protect consumers, but removing freeholders entirely is not the answer.Michael Gaston is MD of leading property management firm Estates & Management.Estates and Management Michael Gaston Leasehold Reform freeholders 2020-01-16Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » Guest Blogs » Binning freeholders will leave residents worse off Binning freeholders will leave residents worse offFollowing details of leasehold reform within the Queen’s Speech Michael Gaston, Managing Director of Estates and Management, argues that professional freeholders are about to become more important than ever.Michael Gaston16th January 20200877 Viewslast_img read more

Kissa steps into Cheptegei’s shoes in Netherlands race

first_imgIt was Cheptegei’s fourth win in the event, and he tme pocketed a bonus 50,000 Euros (Sh213 million) prize for the record.The Seven Hills Race Zevenheuvelenloop is considered the fastest course in the world, and the best time held before Cheptegei was by Leonard Komon of Kenya who ran a time of 41:13 in 2010.Share on: WhatsApp Uganda long distance athlete Stephen Kissa crosses the finish line to win the 36th edition of the 15-kilometer long Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) in Nijmegen on November 17, 2019.  PHOTO AFPKampala, Uganda | LOUIS JADWONG | Long distance ace Stephen Kissa today stepped in the shoes of Joshua Cheptegei, continuing a Ugandan tradition of winning the 15km NN Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Race) in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.He won the 36th edition of the even Hills Race in 41:49, a race Cheptegei won in world record time last year of 41.05 minutes, taking 8 seconds off the previous mark set in 2010.last_img read more

Worst may not be over for Penn State

first_imgby Tim DahlbergAP Sports Columnist (AP)—It seemed almost cruel, as if Penn State hadn’t already been punished enough.Reality intruded on Happy Valley once again Saturday afternoon. This time it was on full display for 97,186 of the faithful at Beaver Stadium to see.It was supposed to be a day to forget about scandal and celebrate football. It turned out to be neither for a school that might need many more Saturdays before the mostly self-inflicted wounds even begin to heal.On the field, the Nittany Lions crumbled under their first new coach in nearly a half century. Around the stadium, fans and former players seemed to be having just as much trouble letting the old coach go.No one expected it to be easy to move on from the cult of Joe Paterno that pervaded everything Penn State. There’s too much baggage, too many NCAA sanctions and, yes, even too much guilt to get past.But now everyone can see just how hard it will be.It wasn’t so much losing to Ohio, a team whose previous claim to fame was winning something called the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Not in the matter the Nittany Lions did it, either, though falling apart in the second half at home to lose a game that seemed well in hand can’t be the way Bill O’Brien imagined his head coaching career would begin.That’s fixable in the long run, though the NCAA sanctions will make it much more difficult. Penn State won’t have the depth of other teams because of scholarship limitations, and probably not the talent because top players don’t want to go to a school where they don’t have a chance of going to a bowl.The reality is that the penalties Penn State agreed to in an effort to put the child abuse scandal in the past will hurt, and hurt badly. What might not be fixable — at least in the near future — is the cloud of Paterno still hanging over the program. He may be dead, but he was everywhere Saturday, from the small bobblehead of Paterno where the big statue once was to the life-sized cardboard cutout that had a prominent place in a suite occupied by former running back Franco Harris.Loyalty isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it comes to a coach who did much good over his 46 years as head coach before a horrible ending spoiled it all. But there’s a difference between fondly remembering the good years and glorifying the very cult that allowed a monster like Jerry Sandusky to roam the locker rooms of Penn State for years.Still, fans brought flowers and other items to a makeshift shrine next to the bobblehead.To most of the country Paterno is either a villain who was more interested in protecting his program than young children or a doddering old man who had no idea what was going on around him. The things that happened around Penn State are so horrific that no one is particularly interested at this time in talking about his wins (409 of them before 111 were vacated by the NCAA), his influence on generations of young men, or his contributions to build the library on campus that bears his name.That might change some as the years go by, but that’s reality today. The sooner Paterno supporters understand that, the sooner the school and the football team can begin to move on.The opener against Ohio was the perfect opportunity to begin that process, at least on the field. The team was cheered at a big pep rally the night before, the run from the tunnel onto the field was electric, and the first half showed that it was possible for someone other than Paterno to coach Penn State football.Getting fired up was one thing. Staying fired up was another, and by the second half the emotional gas tank they had been running on finally went dry.An 11-point halftime lead became a 24-14 loss that doesn’t bode well for a program with bigger challenges ahead. For four long years, Penn State will be forced to compete at a huge disadvantage in the Big Ten, all with the knowledge that there will be no rewards waiting at the end of the season.The tough times won’t end with the games. Sandusky is in prison, but the scandal lives on. There will be settlements with victims, payouts from university funds. And it could all be replayed again as early as January when former athletic director Tim Curley and university vice president Gary Schultz are expected to go on trial on charges they lied to a grand jury about the scandal and did not properly report a 2001 sexual assault accusation to authorities.As painful as Saturday was for Penn State and its fans, what’s even worse is that the punishment is far from over.last_img read more

Long Process of Emotional Recovery Begins for Area Residents

first_imgBy John BurtonRecovery from the emotional impact of Sandy is expected to take a long time, according to mental health professionals.For many, life is beginning to return to something resembling normal. The power is back on, kids are back in school, homes are being straightened up, people are going about their lives.For others, however, nothing about their lives seems normal. Homes and personal effects are gone. They are living in shelters with no idea of what the future may bring.“What we’re seeing and what we’ll continue to see, because this is only the beginning,” is disbelief, stress, trauma in many people, said Wendy DePedro, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County in Shrewsbury. “And then we know – down the road – we’re going to be seeing a huge increase in cases of post-traumatic stress, because this is a traumatic event.”Lynn Miller, a disaster response crisis counselor and retired director of Monmouth County Division of Social Services, has been working with those who find themselves living in shelters, in Wall and at Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport.Mental health professionals are available to help those who have been traumatized by the recent events.“People here are very calm,” she said about the racetrack where approximately 260 people are being housed.“I think they’re past the shock stage, they’re past the high-pitched emotional state.“They’re saying they want to move on with their lives,” Miller said.But under that surface calm, Miller said, “I think people are afraid. … They don’t know where they’re going to go next.”As a counselor, her role is to listen more than to offer advice at this point in the process, she said.“We’re just trying to talk to people, to take the edge off what they’re feeling,” she said. “We don’t have the answers for them but we just allow them to express their emotions and tell their stories.”The stories have been compelling.Miller said she heard about a family of five – parents, teenage and young adult children and pets – that was stranded in their small attic for 11 hours as rushing waters rose. Police told them to stay put until the water receded, Miller said.“Each story is so unique, it’s like reading a novel of short stories,” she said.Later some will begin suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.“That takes a while,” she noted. “Right now you’re seeing people trying to survive.”“In spite of their circumstances, what I’m hearing over and over and over again is ‘It could have been worse, we’re still here,’” said Denise Wegeman, a licensed clinical social worker.Wegeman, a counselor at Manasquan High School, has been hearing people’s stories about their losses and the struggle to move on. “Really, the only comfort you can afford them is you’re still here, the most important thing is you’re still here,” Wegeman said.She said people are responding to that message. “I think it boils down to the basics, to what is actually important to them,” Wegeman said. It is “realizing that everything else – although it’s really nice to have nice things – it’s just we are here. Are we healthy? Where can we go from here?”People will be dealing with this for quite a while, Wegeman said.She is constantly reminding those she counsels that “this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.” Dealing with the trauma has to be addressed in increments. “What you have to do is encourage people to take it one day at a time, not to get too overwhelmed.”She recommends people keep a notebook with lists of things that have to be done daily and other important information. Those with children should explain the situation and stay calm, she advised. For younger children, their access to media images should be limited and adults should be mindful of what they are saying within earshot.“When you have a tragedy or loss of this magnitude, you will find there will be more alcohol and drug use,” Wege­man said. “Unfortuna­tely, people are going to medicate, because they’re trying to deal with it.”“The road to recovery is going to be long and it’s going to be hard for many of us,” DePedro said.The Mental Health Associ­ation of Monmouth County will concentrate on providing treatment for victims and is working with other not-for-profits, including the Mon­mouth County Office of Addiction Services, to identify counselors willing to volunteer their time.People will be feeling disbelief, irritability, sadness, de­pres­sion, a sense of powerlessness, and that’s going to be seen all across the socio-economic strata, DePedro said. “This is a bipartisan disaster.“What we’re going to need to see is supportive counseling, where we bring people back to the level of functioning that they had prior to this disaster,” DePedro said. “That’s really the key thing.”Another key thing is asking for help if needed, DePedro, Wegeman and Miller each stressed.Information about mental health services is available by contacting the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County at 119 Avenue of the Commons, Suite 5, Shrews­bury, 732-542-6422 or by visiting counseling is available by calling 732-923-6999.last_img read more


first_imgHOW DID HE ARRIVE AT THE NAME, HOW ABOUT ZERO:  “A friend of mine sent his kid over to me to work as an intern (in his financial business). When he asked me how much he was going to be making, I said ‘Ten dollars an hour.’ He said ‘How about 15?’  So I told him, ‘How about zero?’(Reddam also noted “the kid” was in fact hired at $10 per hour and that he “worked out fine.”) MARIO GUTIERREZ, HOW ABOUT ZERO, WINNER:  The post position was good, everything was good. She settled nicely and we had a good pace, which we thought we would. She’s a really nice filly and she proved it today.” TRAINER QUOTES JOCKEY QUOTEScenter_img DOUG O’NEILL, HOW ABOUT ZERO, WINNER: “Mario (Gutierrez) did a great job with this maiden. He took advantage of the 10 post and kept her in the clear. Mario thought after the last race that maybe a set of blinkers would do the trick. She came up empty the last time, but we had a lot of confidence in her.  She showed today coming down the lane that she is still a little green. I think the blinkers made her focus more. Those Square Eddie horses really run. That’s like in baseball having the Mickey Mantle bloodline. She is a big stout filly and really mentally and physically tough. I will talk to the Reddams. I think you might see this filly in open company the next time.”PAUL REDDAM, WINNING OWNER/BREEDER: “We were high on her last time, but she was very green and she wouldn’t change leads. I was absolutely shocked we were 10-1 today. I thought she’d be 4-1, even with me betting! This was a nice way to break your maiden.” NOTES: Winning owners Paul and Zillah Reddam reside in Irvine, CA.last_img read more