Millstream Property Management's big bill

Millstream Management – Review

Millstream Management – and a story of their utter MISMANAGEMENT

Millstream Property Management's big bill
Millstream Management presented their bill a year later

They are a successful management company run by the prestigious Churchill Retirement Living homes, and recently celebrated a move into £4million new offices. So when my mother, 84, got a leak in her top floor flat which unfortunately caused some damage to the flat below, we had no worries Millstream Management would sort it out.

Indeed Millstream’s manager of her retirement block quickly called out a plumber reassuring my mother everything was taken care of under the block’s building insurance, which my mother pays for in her hefty £2000 plus annual service charge. She had nothing to worry about apparently and nothing to pay.

That was until a YEAR later when my mother bumped into the woman from the flat below who said Millstream Management had still not repaired the water damage to her ceiling. Shockingly she said it was because Millstream were waiting for my mother to pay the insurance excess of some £250 – something until then she knew nothing about.

My mother was horrified to think this lady hadn’t had her ceiling repaired and even more upset that this lady believed it was because she hadn’t paid.

When we queried it Millstream Management apologised for the distress they’d caused and once again reiterated there was nothing to pay. Ian Payne, Churchill Retirement Living PR & Communications Manager wrote to me: ‘We would like to apologise unreservedly to you and your mother for the error we made in requesting a £250 insurance excess payment in relation to the leak in her apartment. We are very sorry for the distress this has caused.’

At the same time my mother and I were told the work to the lady’s flat below was being undertaken immediately.

The debacle was over – or so we thought.

Incredibly two months later one of the Millstream Managers turned up unannounced at my mother’s flat. My stunned mother did need to pay up, she said. A mistake had been made and the bill had somehow gone up. It now stood at some £382!

My mother of course immediately offered to pay. She is a physically and mentally fit lady but who wouldn’t feel intimidated when you are widowed and 84, living alone – and someone in authority turns up out of the blue demanding money?

Millstream Management tell me they believed a ‘personal conversation’ to tell my mother about the error was the best way but why not call or message to check it’s convenient? My view is they wanted to ensure my mother was caught off guard and without her daughter by her side.

Whether the money is owed would probably be a matter for the courts. There is much written online about whether individual leaseholders are responsible or not for leaks in blocks of flats.

But for me that isn’t the issue because my mother is very old school and always pays insists on paying even when bills aren’t due.

The problem is the sloppy, disorganised and utterly uncaring way Millstream Management dealt with this issue. Giving the wrong advice. Changing their advice. The way they let it drag on for over a year. The fact they left the lady below my mother waiting for so long for her flat to be repaired. The intimidating way they turn up at someone’s door without ringing first to see if it’s convenient (or messaging – my mother is as good as anyone I know with text, WhatsApp, Facebook and so on). The way they don’t check legal issues before acting.

An online search reveals other similar worryingly poor reviews about Churchill Retirement Living and Millstream Management.

In October 2019 – when Millstream Management could have been busy sorting this leak repair – they were busy moving into new £4 million offices. So my view is they are certainly sharp business operators who know how to make a bob or two out of the elderly and aren’t short of money.

When I told Millstream I was writing this article, Operations Manager Tammie Dunford said: ‘Millstream Management takes very seriously the quality of service that is offers and extent to which it assists people like your mother, for whom it ultimately works. However in this instance it has fallen short in how this insurance claim has been handled and for that we apologise.

‘In light of the time it has taken to resolve this issue and that your mother was not correctly advised that it was outside the terms of the insurance policy, Millstream is happy to pay the £382 … as a goodwill gesture.’

Needless to say all of the 63 flats where my mother lives have decided to part company with Millstream Management and from next month have employed another company.

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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