Cornish Manor Owners’ Association
Minutes of Spring Meeting held on Sunday 21st March 2010 at the
De Vere Hotel Swindon
Present Jean Tolchard Chairman
Mike O’Neill Vice Chair & Membership Secretary
David Lappin Secretary
Trevor Healing Treasurer
Site Representatives: Les Rose, Paul Hunter, Barrie Hockley Liz Ashenden, Simon Arkell, Patrick Rooney
Attendance 55 Members
Madam Chairman opened the meeting and thanked all for attending from near and far.
Minutes The Minutes of the meeting held on Sunday 26th April 2009 were received and approved by the meeting. Mrs L Ashenden proposed acceptance and Mr P Bennett seconded.
The Secretary reported back to the meeting on matters that were raised at the last meeting. He reported that two meetings had taken place with JFH to discuss issues raised. Madam Chairman and the Secretary attended a meeting with Martyn Fowler at JFH head office in Ifracombe. The other was attended by the Secretary at the request of Tolroy management at Tolroy Manor.
Members raised concerns about the security of owner’s keys at Reception. The keys can be easily accessed whenever reception is unmanned. JFH have promised to investigate and take appropriate action.
Of major concern to one member was the lack of locally brewed beers available at the clubhouse. JFH were unaware of this problem and promised a full investigation. Local beers should be available to visitors before the peak holiday season gets under way.
The pool heating system was causing problems last season and complaints were received about the water temperature. A new heating system has now been installed and will maintain the pool temperature at 28 degrees C. The central heating system has also been replaced. JFH are planning to upgrade the changing facilities and renew the showers at the end of the season.
Members have been complaining for some time about the condition of the roads on site. JFH have now agreed to resurface the main entrance road and one way road adjacent to the Summer House. Because it is the main entrance road the work is likely to be done at the end of the season.
Most of the trees on Tolroy Manor are protected by preservation orders and JFH must obtain permission from Cornwall Council to carry out pruning or felling. Some owners have complained about overhanging tree branches on their property causing damp and perhaps structural damage.
If an owner is concerned about a tree near their property, then they are requested to write to the Manager of Tolroy using the following words in the letter. “The property is suffering from loss of light and the property is liable to be damaged” Mary Gee will then use your letter to get permission to remove the offending branches.
As with Kenegie members have been flagging up the deteriorating condition of the roads over the past years. JFH are now taking action and have earmarked 10 roads for resurfacing. 5 roads are in the process of being resurfaced and the remainder will be attended to at the end of the season.
In the main the switchover to Digital TV was a success, however some properties on St. Ives are still limited to 5 TV Channels which are received in analogue format. JFH have agreed to rectify the situation so that owners and visitors alike can enjoy the full Freeview service on a flat screen TV. JFH need to know the properties affected and members are asked to contact the Secretary to provide details for JFH.
Heather Miles is now responsible for the Housekeeping, as JFH had major problems with these services last year. To assist Heather with the overall site management a deputy has been appointed. The deputy manager is Matt Mitchell and owners are asked to contact him in the first instance with any problems etc. This change in management structure should improve communications with the site management.
Clubhouse and Entertainment
Members and visitors alike have remarked on the condition of the Clubhouse and also the quality and timing of the entertainment. Both have been recognised by JFH.
A refurbishment and restructure of the Clubhouse and facilities are planned. Planning permission has been obtained for the structural changes and the repainting etc. is underway.
The entertainment programme for all sites is being completely revamped and overhauled. See section on future developments.
The Golf Course fell into demise some years ago and it was intended for the area to be redeveloped. To this end the land was taken over by a private developer to build luxury holiday accommodation. New roads were laid; however the developer ceased trading before any properties were built. JFH now have new plans but it will be 4 to 5 years before any new work commences.
Odour and Damp
Visitor feedback last year complained about properties being smelly and damp. As most properties are of wooden construction and located in wooded areas, damp is an ongoing problem. Last years wet summer didn’t help. JFH have offered to try and find a solution and to this end are willing to install equipment in a members property at JFH’s expense, if successful it will be offered to others owners with similar damp problems if it is practical to do so and the cost of which will be borne by the owner. CMOA will provide details on proposed equipment to JFH.
Meeting with Mary and Tim Gee – Tolroy
The Secretary attended a meeting with Tolroy management to discuss issues raised by owners on Tolroy and Kenegie and also Management issues.
Contactors have now been appointed to clean gutters twice a year. November and February are considered to be the best times. The cost will be £20.00 per clean. Some owners already carry out the task themselves and can continue to do so if they wish, however the owner must inform Tolroy management before the Contractors commence work and if the guttering is shared with another property, both must be cleaned at the same time.
The Management at Tolroy acknowledge that communication is not ideal and owners have been frustrated by the situation. In an effort to improve communication and speed up the handling and resolving of owner’s queries, owners are asked to adopt the following methods of communication.
The preferred method is for owners to email Tolroy@jfhols.co.uk. and to ask for a receipt of mail being received. This can done using the receipt option on your computer. Tolroy management have promised to acknowledge the receipt which will send an automated email to the sender’s computer. Tolroy management will endeavour to deal with the issue raised within 7 days. If this is not possible a reason why email will be sent to the owner concerned.
The second preferred method is by phone. Owners on Kenegie as well as Tolroy are asked to use the Tolroy number on 01736 753082 in the first instance. Ifleaving a message, then please speak clearly and repeat your contact telephone number. Now that the accounts department has moved to Ifracombe, access to owner’s telephone numbers is difficult. The management will endeavour to have the Kenegie telephone diverted to Tolroy whenever it is unmanned, i.e. during the winter season and outside reception hours.
For those owners corresponding by post Tolroy management have agreed to respond within 7 days, either with an answer or to advise the owner that the query is still being dealt with. Either way the owner will know that their query has not been forgotten.
The Management are sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of mail arriving addressed to owner’s properties and are now asking for members help to reduce the level. This situation has increased their workload, as they cannot enlist the help of the accounts department to produce address labels etc.
How can you help?
a) TV licences have traditionally been sent to the licence address. It is now possible by contacting the Licence people on Tel No. 0800 3282020 or go online to www.tvlicensing.co.uk., to have it sent to your own home.
b) If you have had goods and services delivered could you ensure that the provider has your home details if they wish to correspond with you.
c) If you have let your property for a number a weeks, please ensure that the tenant has a “care of” address to receive post while they are away from their normal residence.
There are number of long term residents who contravene the occupancy regulations. Cornwall Council has now issued eviction orders to remove them.
With members help in reducing the need to redirect post, then the management will have more time to interact with owners. There are sometimes legal requirements for post to be sent to the occupier and this cannot be changed. The recent issue of Business Rates evaluation is one example, but this only happens every 5 years.
CMOA was advised by Tolroy management last November of a change to electrical regulations compelling owners who let their property through JFH, to have a full electrical wiring test carried out on a yearly basis. This is in addition to the annual PAT test. Owners were advised of the charges being made. CMOA have investigated and discovered that the regulation has been misinterpreted to some degree.
JFH belong to the British Holiday & Home Parks Association and abide by their rules and recommendations. Under Electrical Wiring Tests, all properties on JFH sites are classed as “Park Homes” and the recommendation is for a full test every 3 years as against 5 years for other “off park” holiday homes. Visual checks for damaged outlet sockets, switches etc. will be carried by JFH staff on a routine basis. The full wiring test must be carried out by a qualified electrician. The electrician must the issue a test certificate for JFH management records. The electrician will issue the certificate through an approved body such NICEIC, ECA, SELECT or NAPIT.
The work can done through the owners own appointed electrician or JFH contractor. It can be incorporated with the PAT testing, thus avoiding an additional expense.
If the owner has added to or made changes to the hard wired electrical circuit at any time between tests, then it must be retested and a new certificate issued. The 3 year interval will commence from the new date. It is strongly recommended that old Consumers Units with wire fuses are upgraded for RCD Consumer Units. Please refer to the online Service Providers list for suitably qualified electricians.
As part the same recommendations issued by the British Holiday & Home Parks Association JFH are now responsible for the electrical safety of properties they key hold for who do not let through JFH. All electrical appliances must be PAT checked and labelled on an annual basis. The owner can have this work carried by a qualified electrician or use the services of JFH.
Honesty Envelope Scheme
It was reported in the last Minutes that JFH had agreed to a CMOA proposal of introducing an Honesty Envelope scheme instead of the much preferred deposit scheme. JFH were kind enough to have the stationery printed and to trial it at Kenegie. If successful, then it would be rolled out to the other sites. The scheme should have been implemented last season, but due to a misunderstanding it didn’t happen. Assurance has been given that all properties on Kenegie letting scheme will have the information and envelopes for visitors. If a visitor does decide to contribute and pay for any damage or breakages caused by them, then monies received by JFH will be credited to that owners account.
Tolroy management were pleased to advise CMOA that the grass cutting programme on both sites is underway and the problems suffered last year will not be repeated.
Some of the paintwork on Tudor properties on Tolroy started to peal off shortly after the work was completed. A Contractor has now been appointed to rectify the problem. The paintwork is to be taken back to the original rendered surface, sealed and re-painted.
After the Secretary had appraised the meeting of matters arising, he then went on to inform the meeting of plans that JFH have for the future.
JFH do not at the present time enjoy the reputation they would like in the Holiday Market and therefore intend to reposition the business. This season has seen an increase in letting charges of 10%. Unfortunately the traditional January booking fell short of expectations. This has been put down to the adverse weather conditions affecting the country at the time.
To recover the lost bookings additional money is being spent on advertising, which is over and above the budgeted spend. Major efforts are going into Internet advertising, which will put John Fowler Holidays at the top of the list for people seeking this type of self catering holiday.
Past customers will be sent regular email updates to entice them back as customers. JFH are determined that the new pricing structure will hold and will not be lost through discounting.
The entire entertainment programme is being revamped this year. New entertainment equipment has been purchased costing £100,000 plus. The intention is to provide seamless entertainment for all age groups starting at 6pm each evening which will include two high quality Cabaret shows during the busy part of the season on most evenings.
During the next few years St. Ives will see some major changes taking place. Starting this year new Lodges will be erected to replace the old ones. The programme will continue and be led by sales demand. The new Lodges will come fully equipped and on sale from £75.000. They will be available on a 35 year lease and instead of paying ground rent the owners will pay a pitch fee of £3000.00 plus Vat per annum. If existing owners wish to renew their property to this type JFH will offer a good incentive.
The site is to be equipped with an LPG gas main supply so that all properties will have gas cooking and heating available.
Chairman’s Report (see attached)
The Treasurer explained to the meeting that as this was not the AGM and that as CMOA’s financial year had not yet ended, he was not in a position to present a full financial statement. He did however summarise stating that the bank current account was in the order of £430.00 and the deposit account stood at £18000.00.
The addition of a website forum was costing £900.00 including Vat. and was yet to be paid.
He also said he was in the process of sending out membership renewal forms. Members will receive with their receipt of payment a new membership window sticker for their property and a new CMOA website password. The new password will be in operation on Monday 19 April. He reminded members, that it was a good opportunity and incentive for members to pay promptly.
The Secretary offered the meeting an apology before presenting the topic, because the title was somewhat misleading. He explained that the subject was proposed by a member and it was hoped that some advice could be given as to how to get around the new tax changes for Furnished Holiday Letting coming into effect on 6 April 2010.
The Secretary explained that he had sought the advice of a Tax Accountant and listed below are the details.
Historically in the UK, Furnished Letting Businesses have been treated as being a trade for tax purposes as long as they met certain specific criteria.
With effect from 6 April 2010 this treatment is being withdrawn and Furnished Holiday Letting Businesses will be treated the same as a general Furnished Letting Business.
The main changes are as follows:
- Losses arising from the Furnished Holiday Letting Business will, from 6 April 2010, only be available for relief against profits arising from the letting business.
- Capital Allowances will no longer be available for expenditure on capital items used in the Furnished Holiday Letting Business, although existing Capital Allowances Pools will continue to be available until exhausted.
- Capital Gains will no longer receive relief available as a trading business: this means any capital Gains arising on the disposal of a Furnished Holiday Letting Business asset will be taxed at 18% and not the 10% rate available to trading businesses who meet certain criteria
- Furnished Holiday Letting Businesses will not be able to make use of the Rollover relief available to Trading Businesses on the disposal of business assets.
- With effect from 6 April 2010 Furnished Holiday Letting Businesses will be able to make use of the 10% wear and tear allowance available to general letting businesses.
There is no change to the way income and expenditure accounts are calculated and owners will be able to claim for the same types of expenditure as before.
The provision of services will not change the status of a letting business and the following are treated as being normal for a landlord to provide.
- Arranging new tenancies, including advertising and taking bookings;
- Rent collection;
- Provision of hot water and heating;
- Arranging repairs to property;
Other services which could be provided which could be provided with a holiday letting would include:
- Provision of clean bed linen;
- Provision of leisure facilities;
- Cleaning of property prior to each letting;
- Meet and greet for new guests;
These additional services would not make the Furnished Holiday Letting Business a trade for taxation purposes under the new rules as they would be considered to be part of the holiday experience.
It is possible to provide a separate business of providing service, but, this would have to go well beyond the services mentioned above, e.g.:
- Regular cleaning of rooms when they are let and not just between change of tenants;
- Regular supply of clean linen during the visitors stay;
- Provision of a laundry service;
- Regular provision of meals;
However, these additional services would not make the whole activity a trade and the core business of providing Furnished Holiday Lettings would still be treated as being a lettings business; it would only be the additional services provision that would be treated as a separate trade.
At the last meeting members asked for the provision of a forum to the CMOA website that had been launched earlier in the year. Members were circulated for their views and as no one objected the project was pursued.
The Secretary then presented the new forum by carrying out a live online demonstration of the site and its facilities.
After the launch and general discussion Madam Chairman asked the meeting to give some thought at the side meetings as how it can be best used and to establish a set of ground rules for members. The committee agreed to monitor the forum on a regular basis to ensure it was not being misused or abused.
During the online demonstration the opportunity was taken to check on JFH owner’s bookings website page. This facility although launched last year has yet to function correctly. CMOA addressed the problem again with JFH and were given assurances yet again that it would be resolved hopefully in time for CMOA spring meeting. Alas it was not to be and the facility is still out of action. Further investigation has revealed that the problem lies with the non-compatibility of the computer software for JFH own website and the link to the owner’s booking page. A new programme is in the process of being written and ‘should’ be ready by the end of April. Members will be kept informed via CMOA website Notice Board.
St Ives Liz Ashenden and Patrick Rooney (site report attached)
Members present were pleased that JFH had plans for investment and redevelopment of St. Ives.
They also welcomed the new forum and came up with a suggested list of uses as well as unsuitable ones. Please refer to site report for further information.
A member present has volunteered their property to try and find a solution/remedy to remove odour.
Kenegie Manor Paul Hunter and Barrie Hockley (site report attached)
Members present were happy to report the grounds are gardens are in good shape for the time of the year. However there are still some problems with the lighting on site.
Some members were also concerned about the cancellation provision offered to visitors when booking a holiday. It is felt the visitor can easily cancel a booking at the last minute without penalty and this may have added to the reduction of booking last year.
Action: David Lappin
Although Honicombe is no longer part of CMOA, Madam Chairman asked Patrick Rooney, former site rep on Honicombe, for an update.
Patrick reported Honicombe Owners Group enjoyed a strong membership and owners were now putting a bid together to buy Honicombe from its owners Domain Leisure.
Tolroy Manor Les Rose and Simon Arkell (site report attached)
Some members reported Estate Agents were asking for Energy Efficiency certificates when selling properties on owners’ behalf. CMOA clarified that the rules governing the requirement for Energy Efficiency certification, does not apply to holiday homes being let for a short period of use. If owners encounter a difficulty with an Agent, please refer them to the Secretary who will provide the necessary information.
Members are curious to know what will happen to the vacated accounts area in the main building at Tolroy.
Action: David Lappin
Perran View John Youdell and Fiona Devlin (site report attached)
Paul Bennett chaired the Perran meeting and reported the views of the group. The consensus was that the entertainment at Perran was historically below par, however there was renewed hope that the new entertainment package announced by JFH would see a raising in standards for the better. They were also pleased to hear that a full investigation would be carried out by JFH into the missing “Local Beers” and look forward to drinking some of Cornwall’s finest offerings.
The Secretary took the opportunity to highlight a potential problem when having work done through a third party. A situation on St. Ives concerning structural problems has come to light – please refer to St. Ives report for full details. The work was undertaken through JFH, who appointed the relevant contractor. Structural problems have now arisen and the owner is seeking redress. The contracted company has refuted any blame and JFH had the work carried out for the owner in good faith.
The message from CMOA is for owners to check and be totally satisfied the work will be and is carried out competently and in accordance with building or other regulations. Trying to take legal action against a third party that the owner has no direct control over can prove to be costly and non productive.
A member expressed concern about the condition of the car park located by the Barns on Kenegie. As the owners of the Barns pay an annual maintenance charge for the upkeep of access roads in this area, then they should be properly maintained. The Secretary agreed to take this matter up with JFH management.
Action: David Lappin
Members on Tolroy also asked about the car parking surface as during the summer or dry spell the area can become a dust bowl.
Action: David Lappin
A query was raised on the letting of property during the winter season. The Secretary replied that owners are at liberty to use the property at anytime providing it meets the letting rules of Cornwall Council and their own lease. An example is letting the property for a period of 31 consecutive days or more. This would contravene regulations and would deem that the property is subject to a rental agreement and the owner would have to meet all obligations as a Landlord.
The subject of cleaning gutters and working at height was again discussed. Madam Chairman pointed out that many discussions had been held on this subject and under current health and safety regulations, it was not possible for JFH staff to undertake working at height and therefore qualified contractors had to be used.
One member raised a recent case of a satellite dish being installed on a three storey building without the use of safety equipment. In the process of installation, damage was caused to adjoining properties. Apparently permission had been given and the offending installation was removed by JHF staff and the damage caused was repaired at their cost, allegedly without using the appropriate safety equipment.
Please refer to attached working at height information.
As there was no other business Madam Chairman closed the meeting and wished everybody a safe journey home.
Next Meeting – St Ives – Date and location to be confirmed.