January 30th 2013 – AGM Summary

Hi folks, apologies for the delay in updating on the results of the AGM, but all of the big pile of work I’d been putting off to deal with the meeting crashed down on me once it was done. Full minutes will follow when I get a chance, but to summarise the results:

Choice of Factor

Obviously this was the biggest issue on everyone’s minds, and it brought out an unprecedented level of participation, which is great. Between those who asked me to act as proxy and those participating through Aspect’s website, there 55 properties represented, plus 43 properties present at the meeting. The final count of votes was 80 for Dunedin Canmore Property Management and 18 for Aspect Residential. As a result, the development will go through the process of changing to Dunedin Canmore over the next few months. The committee will be partly involved in that, and we will pass any information we receive relating to the transition, and obviously both Aspect and DCPM will be sending out their own communications. Obviously there are a lot of details to work out, but at the meeting DCPM suggested that we would be aiming for the 1st of April 2013 for the change.

Change of Insurance Excess Apportionment

This change was discussed in some detail at the meeting, and some very convincing arguments put forth for and against. While the general feeling in the room, including the factors, was in favour of some sort of change to the policy, and broadly supportive of the motion proposed by the committee, it was suggested that the policy being proposed was not yet specific enough and not clear enough in its details. Given that a) the escape-of-water excesses under DCPM will be £500 per claim instead of £2,500, and b) we will face some amount of upheaval while the factor transition takes place, it was agreed to postpone any decision on a change in policy. Instead, it is expected that a special general meeting shall be called in some 6 months time to consider this issue again, and any others which come up during the course of the factor transition. By that point, the committee should have investigated with DCPM and settled on a specific and workable policy that can be voted on, rather than relying on in-principle agreement from the proprietors.

Committee

We are delighted to welcome Pauline Thomas to the committee as a representative for Sinclair Close to fill the vacant spot that we’ve had for a while. As stated in the AGM notice, I am stepping down as Chair. My last task in that role will be to arrange the next committee meeting so that a new Chair can be selected, and we will pass along exactly who that is as soon as it’s decided. It has certainly been a busy 18 months for me since the committee was first formed, but I’ve been happy to see such great progress on the development and for the committee’s part in that.

Chris Chapman
Proprietors Committee Chair

January 30th 2013 – AGM Agenda

Hi folks, most of you will I’m sure like me have received the notice from Aspect regarding the upcoming AGM on 30th of January. I was surprised however to see that Aspect had chosen to omit the details of the two motions on which people are being asked to vote, replacing it instead with a 3 page critique of the Dunedin Canmore tender (to which DCPM was given no opportunity to respond). There was no consultation with the committee on that omission, and since without it proprietors who can’t attend are left without all the information they should have. The committee will endeavour to rectify that, as well as to give DCPM a chance to respond on the many points raised by Aspect, but in the interim please see below the section which was omitted.

Update: Please see here for the full set of documents received by the committee as part of the tendering process.

Chris Chapman
Committee Chair

Agenda for Annual General Meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 30th January 2013, to be held at Gorgie/Dalry Parish Church.

  1. Introduction
  2. Minute taker
  3. Committee report
  4. Motion to appoint Aspect Residential or Dunedin Canmore Property Management as the Factor
    1. Brief statements from each factor
    2. Any questions for the factors
    3. Vote
  5. Dismissal and re-appointment of the Sinclair Proprietors committee
  6. Motion to change the policy of apportioning escape-of-water insurance claim excesses
  7. Factor’s report

Further, more detailed, information on the AGM can be found on the development website (sinclairresidents.org.uk), but the most important points follow:

Dismissal and re-appointment of the Factor and Committee

This is the normal annual process of re-appointment as described in our title deeds and the committee constitution. At the 2012 AGM, the proprietors passed a motion instructing the committee to seek tenders from multiple factors prior to the 2013 AGM, to allow proprietors a free choice in the factor that would take care of the development. The committee have contacted 15 factors, 9 of whom were formally asked to tender. 6 of those factors provided tenders, including of course the incumbent factor: Aspect Residential.

To be clear, as per the deeds of conditions on all our properties, this decision relates only to the 306 properties in Sinclair Place, Close and Gardens. The committee cannot represent the Gorgie Road / Stewart Terrace properties, and unless 15 of those 40 properties attend the AGM, no decision can be made on their behalf. As such, this selection of factor will apply only to the Sinclair properties, and the incumbent factor will remain the factor for the Gorgie Road / Stewart Terrace properties.

The committee have considered the details of all of those tenders and at the AGM will be asking the proprietors to make the final choice. The choice presented will be a straight decision between the incumbent factor and Dunedin Canmore Property Management. A majority of votes is needed to select a factor.

After careful consideration, the committee, barring the abstention of the Chair, is unanimous in the opinion that the tender from Dunedin Canmore Property Management (DCPM) is the best of those presented. The tender from Myreside Management was appealing, but on balance the committee felt that its merits did not warrant inclusion in the AGM. The tender from DCPM distinguished itself most obviously in that they are able to offer us insurance as part of their large portfolio of properties rather than as an individual development. This results in a yearly cost substantially below all of the other tenders (some £150 per year cheaper), as well as providing security against our continuing worries about being able to secure a common buildings insurance policy given our poor claims history. In addition, DCPM would not require an up-front maintenance float, which would mean that the refund of the current maintenance float at the end of the incumbent factor’s tenure should be more than sufficient to cover any debts currently owed by proprietors (at worst around £75 per property, but likely to be much closer to £25). The development would still have the option of pursuing the £7,000 of old (>90 days) debt independently even after a change of factor, although obviously this would take time and incur cost.

The committee feels that the reduced yearly cost, attractive insurance situation and DCPM’s solid reputation makes them the best option for our development. While the committee appreciates that Aspect have improved the quality of service provided since the change from McBrides, they do not feel that the improvement has been sufficient to outweigh the other benefits of changing factors.

The committee would like to encourage all proprietors to participate in this decision, the choice of which factor to select is an important one and all points of view should be represented. If you cannot attend, please nominate a proxy to make sure that your wishes are taken into account. The details of all of the various tenders are available from the committee, and any questions relating to the tenders or the reasoning behind the committee’s opinion are welcomed.

The committee will resign and a new committee be appointed for 2013. Both Chris Chapman and Chris Hutton are stepping down from their positions as Chair and Treasurer respectively due to other commitments, and we are still without a representative for 1-6 Sinclair Close. However anyone from any building can stand for the committee, so we urge anyone else wishing to stand for the committee in January is more than welcome, please send an email to committee@sinclairresidents.org.uk if you wish to do so. The amount of time and energy needed to participate is not large, and by doing so you ensure that the development can continue to see the positive improvements we all want.

Insurance excess apportionment

Given our continuing rising insurance premiums and terrible claims history, Aspect has suggested and the committee agrees, that the current policy of equally apportioning insurance excesses 332 ways should be re-visited, specifically in regard to escape of water excesses. The motion to be considered at the AGM is intended to lessen the financial burden on properties that have been maintained well, and to encourage all proprietors to be pro-active in checking their property’s plumbing for potential or actual leaks.

Our current insurance policy has an excess of £2,500 for each escape of water claim. Split 332 ways, the amount paid is around £7.53, but every single flat pays that amount. As such, the cost of letting an escape of water happen is very low, and proprietors have little incentive to pro-actively check their plumbing to minimise the risk of a leak. Those checking the invoices for the last year will have already noted tens of thousands of pounds this year already on water damage claims.

We propose that if a escape of water claim occurs, where the source of the escape is clearly attributable to one or more properties, that those properties should bear a much larger share of the excess, £500 per property, and only the remainder of the excess should be split amongst the rest of the properties. Claims where there is no clearly attributable source would continue to be split amongst all properties as they are now. To allow for leaks which could not reasonably be prevented, it is proposed that if a property has their plumbing inspected and cleared by a factor-approved plumber, if a water escape from their property occurs in the two years following the inspection, they shall not be liable for the higher excess share. It is also proposed that if the same property is the cause of more than one claim in any two year period, their share of the excess should double each time (so £1,000 for the second escape, £2,000 for the third).

The motion before the AGM is to approve in principle this change in policy, although the final amounts and periods involved may change after discussion with the factor and committee.

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For those unable to attend but who still wish to vote, please use this form to nominate a proxy to vote in your place. The proxy should bring this signed form to the meeting.

I, ____________________________, proprietor of _________________________________, assign the authority to vote on my behalf to ________________________, for the meeting occurring on the 30th January 2013.

Signed: _____________________ Date: _______________

If you have no suitable proxy available, please pass your signed proxy form to Chris Chapman (4/10 Sinclair Place), who has offered to act as proxy for anyone who wishes to vote, along with an indication of how you intend to vote on the proposed motions:

  1. Motion to appoint a new Factor – Aspect Residential  /  Dunedin Canmore
  2. Motion to approve in principle changing the apportionment of escape of water insurance excesses – YES / NO