Pensioners in third escape attempt from Gurvits

Elim Court, in Plymouth has been asking for right to manage since June 2011. Several pensioners who began the action have since died

UPDATED WHERE INDICATED JANUARY 12 2013

Two retirement developments in Plymouth are engulfed in right to manage actions against London landlord and managing agent Joseph Gurvits.

It is the third attempt for residents at Elim Court, many in their mid to late eighties, when they face a contested RTM action at the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal on December 11. Nearby Regent’s Court has won RTM, but the issue is being appealed to the Land Tribunal for a hearing in March.

Some of the original applicants at Elim Court, who began demanding RTM in June 2011, have since died. It is understood Gurvits is deploying a solicitor and has instructed counsel to fight the action.

Gurvits and his associate Israel Moskovitz, who operate out of the same address in north London, picked up the freehold of Elim Court nearly two years ago and added it to the portfolio within Avon Freeholds (of which Moskovitz is a director). It was decided to appoint Gurvits as the managing agent in the form of Y and Y Management, even though he is based 240 miles from Plymouth. Gurvits is better known to many London leaseholders as the owner of Eagerstates.

Since the arrival of Gurvits/ Moskovitz, Elim Court has been beset with controversy and 29 out of 34 residents, many of whom are infirm, are demanding the right to manage.

A recent source of acrimony has been a £20,000 electronic door entry system that Y and Y declared was necessary. Two weeks ago the proposal was halted and property manager Elena Andreadis came down from London “to launch a charm offensive at a meeting to persuade the residents to drop their right to manage action”.

“Amusingly, nobody turned up,” added Keith Phillips, OBE, a former Whitehall fire and anti-terrorism expert, who is a director of the RTM company.

The residents have involved the local Tory MP Oliver Colvile, and last week Phillips, whose mother-in-law is an Elim Court resident, urged Colvile to press for urgent government action over leasehold issues.

Keith Phillips, OBE

“Since you and I first communicated on this, during which Elim Court’s landlord and managing agent have continued to behave obstructively towards its elderly leaseholder residents, a number of whom have sadly passed away. I therefore very much regret having let a gentleman down who, at one of our earlier general meetings, approached me saying, “thank you for what you are doing for us, I can only hope we get our right to manage … before I die”.

“I hope you will therefore understand why we feel the lack of tangible action by government and politicians on this issue is shameful.”

Colvile was not among the MPs who attended the Carlex / LKP meeting in Westminster on October 30. Many of the residents feel that he should have done far more to assist them over the issue.

The Elim Court RTM action is being taken by Dudley Joiner of the commercial company the Right to Manage Federation, and solicitor Margarita Mossop.

UPDATED INFORMATION

It will be third time lucky if Elim Court wins its RTM application. Its first action, begun in June 2011 and heard in December, failed because the Plymouth LVT (Mr LA Loveday) accepted the argument the notifications to non-participating tenants in four cases were not sufficient. The notifications had been sent to Land Registry addresses, with proof of postage, but there was no evidence that the tenants had received the notification.

The freeholder also claimed that notification of participation had not been served on two male tenants, who had died. But this was rejected as a basis for refusing right to manage as their widows were participating members of the right to manage action.

The full ruling is here

http://www.residential-property.judiciary.gov.uk/Files/2011/December/CHI_00HG_LOA_2011_1_08_Dec_2011_11_07_49.pdf

A second RTM application fizzled out in June this year as eight residents supposedly changed their minds over wanting it.

In contrast to the Plymouth LVT, the 12 residents at Choumert Road in Peckham, south East London, were unburdened of Gurvits at the first attempt at RTM in September.

Sara Baroni (left), from Rome, headed the action, which was contested on the grounds that one resident had a loan on his property and the mortgage company had not been informed of the RTM action.

Unlike Plymouth, the London LVT felt that this was irrelevant as the majority in favour of RTM was unaffected. A further argument that the RTM company ought not to manage the car park, was also dismissed.

“I am used to Italy, where we have one or two issues, but thank God we have nothing like leasehold,” said Baroni.

LKP is campaigning to assert the right to manage and to ensure that LVTs act as Parliament clearly intended: unless there is an overwhelming reason why RTM should be withheld, it should be granted.

Gurvits asked leave to appeal the Choumert Road case, but was refused.

The case can be read here:

 

And, here are a selection of the 25 odd LVT actions in which the Gurvits / Moskovitz companies appears: 

Utter shambles from Gurvits / Moskovitz’s  “weave of companies”

Case Ref LON/00AN/LSC/2008/0133
March 10 2011

Applicant: H Moskovitz, represented by J Gurvits, of Y&Y Management
Respondents: leaseholders at Flat 3 Ivy Villas, Ilford Essex, IG3 8DQ

Gurvits was claiming £3,468 in alleged arrears in service and administration charges. The tribunal ruled that none should be paid and that the leaseholder (in fact, a property company) should not pay costs for the action out of the service charge.

The case had been referred to LVT by the county court and “at the outset of the hearing there was some confusion about Mr Gurvits’ role and the validity of his appointment as managing agent”.

This was partly due to the many different companies employed by Gurvits and Moskovitz, his business partner, which send out the demands for payment.

The tribunal expressed its exasperation in this fashion:

“Contrary to these letters, it appeared that the freeholder was not Triplerose and a question arose whether YandY had been properly appointed as managing agents. There were no letters of appointment and no copy of any management agreement. Confusingly, Mr Gurvits said that the “Mr I. Moss” of Triplerose was the same person as Mr Henry Moskovitz, the Claimant before the county court and the applicant in these tribunal proceedings.

“Mr Gurvits also said that Avon and Triplerose were wholly owned by Mr Moskovitz, who also claimed 75% of the shares in YandY, although no evidence was presented to the tribunal to support these assertions. Mr Gurvits said that in effect it was all the same person, namely, the applicant.”

A raft of insurance premium service charges did not need to be paid “by reason that no proper demands for payment had been made to the respondents”, the tribunal ruled.

“Subsequent to the hearing and the tribunal’s determination, Mr Gurvits faxed a short witness statement from a Mr Israel Moskovits, a director of Avon (who may or may not be the same person as the applicant, Mr Henry Moskovitz) together with four documents purporting to be service charge demands dated February 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; this despite Mr Gurvits’ evidence that the Avon computer system was unable to produce copies of old demands, after the event.”

The tribunal slashed the annual management fee to £25 a year as “there was very little evidence of any management of the building by Avon”.

“With regard to Y & Y the tribunal felt that there was a total lack of transparency about the identity of the lessor and the company or companies which were responsible for managing the property and insuring it. The tribunal can sympathise with Mr Williams’ (a leaseholder) comment that he is “caught in a complete weave of companies”.

 

 

Here he gets his fees cut in half …

Case Ref LON/00BA/LCP/2011/0004
April 4 2011

Applicants: Mr and Mrs Moskovitz, represented by Conway & Co solicitors. (Gurvits, Moskovitz’s business partner, is the managing agent)
Respondents: 75 Worple Road RTM, 75 Worple Road, London SW19 4LS.

The Moskovitz were seeking legal costs after a Lands Tribunal appeal found against the residents’ exercising right to manage owing to a technicality. This action was for the £4,418 costs charged by YandY Managing Agents, where Gurvits was charging his own services at £125 an hour.

In addition, there were costs of £1,733 for solicitors.

The residents, who were legally represented, argued that YandY management fees “should be significantly reduced as they were disproportionate, unreasonable and fall outside the fees recoverable under section 88 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002”.

The residents argued that “much of the work could have been undertaken by an administrator, and insofar as Mr Gurvits undertook to carry out legal work that involved research this should not be charged to the respondent”.

The tribunal limited Gurvits’ hourly fee to £75.

Furthermore, “In respect of … Mr Gurvits’ cost schedule the Tribunal have determined that the time taken for considering LVT application and applicants documents, researching case law and meeting clients and taking instructions ought to be limited to 3 hours.”

“The Tribunal find that the total sum of £2,431 is payable by the respondent under the cost schedule produced by Mr Gurvits.”

… then there’s a letter that goes missing (that would have blocked leaseholders achieving RTM)

Case Ref LON/00AZ/LRM/2010/0014
October 18 2010

Applicant: 21 Gillian Street residents, represented by Dudley Joiner
Respondent: Assethold Limited, represented by J Gurvits of Eagerstates

The residents at 21 Gillian St gave notice of their claim to exercise right to manage on February 19 2010.

They specified the date March 22 2010 by which the landlord should serve a counter claim. And specified June 22 20120 as the date on which the company intended to acquire right to manage.

Mrs E [Esther] Gurvits, a director of Eagerstates, claimed that she did serve counter-notice “said to be dated 1 March 2010”, and as there had been no application to LVT after serving the counter-notice Eagerstates assumed the RTM had been withdrawn.

In June the landlords demanded unspecified payment of costs in dealing with the matter. Gurvits represented himself as “director of the landlord and Eagerstates”.

In support of the case, Gurvits presented a witness statement signed by Mrs Gurvits in which she said: “I received a completed counter-notice from Assethold Ltd dated 1 August 2010 [sic] and on the same day I prepared a cover letter to [the company] and counter-notice and sent it out first class post …”

The tribunal said:

“Now it may well be, as Mr Gurvits submitted, that ‘1 August 2010’ was an error and that Mrs Gurvitz intended to say “1 March 2010”, but her witness statement can hardly be said to provide support for the landlord’s assertion that the counter-notice was served by 22 March 2010, and she did not attend the hearing to give oral evidence.”

The tribunal added: “That is not to say that we would hold, if the question was open to us to decide, that the landlord was guilty of concocting a backdated counter-notice and covering letter. That has certainly not been established.”

And another failed attempt to block an RTM

Case Ref LON/00AY/LAC/2010/0002
June 8 2010

Applicants: Residents at 28 Ellora Road, Streatham, London SW16 6JF.
Respondent: Assethold Ltd, represented by J Gurvits of Eagerstate Managing Agents.

The three residents had employed counsel to represent them and Gurvits represent himself

“Mr Gurvits having advanced a number of arguments in respect of the Right to Manage application was informed by the tribunal that in its view these arguments were unlikely to succeed …”

Gurvits sends “abusive emails” … and loses another case

Case Ref LON/00AM/LCP/2009/0021
February 23 2010

Applicant: Daejan Properties (landlords)
Respondent: Carlton Mansions RTM Company

This time Gurvits was representing a right to manage application for residents at 33-40 Carlton Mansions … only to present documentation to demand RTM for the whole of Carlton Mansions.

This was just a “simple error”, according to Gurvits. Understandably the landlords fought back, who demanded repayment of £2,730 of costs.

The landlord had issued a counter-notice to right to manage because all the residents in Carlton Mansions had not been given notice to participate in RTM and the membership of the RTM company did not include at least half the tenants eligible to join.

Gurvits accused the landlords of “delaying tactics and bad practice”

The tribunal reported: “Mr Guvits alleged that ‘by deliberately avoiding explaining this issue [correcting his error with the address] the Applicants (landlords) deliberately and maliciously incurred costs unnecessarily in order to be able to inflate the claim against the Respondent.”

He added that the landlord and its legal representatives were “playing stupid” in order to increase costs to the detriment of the RTM company.

The landlord said that the RTM was “fundamentally flawed” as the company had been incorporated “for the purpose of exercising right to manage in respect of the entirety of Carlton Mansions.”

While this company was in existence no other blocks in Carlton Mansions could exercise right to manage, it pointed out.

The landlord complained of “unpleasant abusive allegations” by Gurvits.

The tribunal said:

 “Y&Y Management sent a series of abusive emails to the landlords’s solicitors and without consideration made an application to the leasehold valuation tribunal.

“… The landlord and their solicitors did all they could to prevent this case escalating further and prevented a full hearing at the tribunal of the application for the right to manage.”

The RTM had made a “fundamental error because the RTM company had not been formed correctly.”

Gurvits said his charges for being at the hearing would be £440 inc VAT

Gurvits argument that costs were not payable after the service of a counter notice “was in our opinion vexatious and/or abusive”, the tribunal said.

The RTM Gurvits represented was ordered to pay the landlord’s £2,730 costs and a sum of £400 in additional costs.

Insurance bill reduced from £1,000 a maisonette to £600

Case Ref LON/00AN/LSC/2008/0133
November 21 2008

Applicant: Residents at 1-2a Astrop terrace W6 7HQ.
Respondent: Triplerose (landlord), represented by Gurvits on behalf of Avon Estates

This LVT action concerned insurance costs where Gurvits was claiming a cost of insurance of £1,000 per maisonette: “In our experience this was an exceptionally high figure and in our view warranted a full explanation,” said the tribunal.

In claiming £250 costs for the case, the applicants “ran over the history of relations with the respondent, the previous LVT proceedings and the appalling accounts maintained by the respondents managing agents and unwarranted demands.”

The tribunal gave the applicants £250 for the case and ruled that insurance costs should be £600 for 2007 and £625 for 2008

Gurvits complains letter was sent to his wrong address … and loses again

27 March 2008
Case Ref LON/00AU/LRM/2008/0001

Applicant: leaseholder at 104 Tollington Way, London N7.
Respondent: Assethold Limited, represented by J Gurvits

Here Gurvits was arguing that a right to manage action had been sent to the wrong address – that of his accountants’ – and therefore the notice should be disallowed.

The tribunal disagreed and granted RTM.

 

The Moskovitz / Gurvitz companies

Joseph Gurvits (b 1965 or 1970)

MG GR LIMITED    Active

Y & Y MANAGEMENT LIMITED    Active

SQUIREHILL LTD    Active

SUREWORLD LIMITED    Active

EAGERSTATES LIMITED    Active

ASSETHOLD LIMITED    Active

TRIPLEROSE LIMITED    Active    (Director Resigned 31/03/2011)

AQUATIME LIMITED    Active    (Director Resigned 14/05/2010)

ARAZIM TRUST LIMITED    Active    (Director Resigned 21/10/2003)

 

Esther Gurvits (b1970)

Company Summary

Company Name    Company Status

SQUIREHILL LTD    Active

SUREWORLD LIMITED    Active

EAGERSTATES LIMITED    Active

EAGERSTATES LIMITED    Active

ASSETHOLD LIMITED    Active

ASSETHOLD LIMITED

96 WRIGHTMAN ROAD (FREEHOLD) LTD

 

Israel Moskovitz (b1964)

AVON GROUND RENTS LIMITED    Active

AVON FREEHOLDS LIMITED    Active

CITY GROUND RENT LIMITED    Active

1 TO 10 CLAYTON COURT LTD    Active

7 CASTLEWOOD ROAD LTD    Active

50-60 ESSENDINE MANSIONS FREEHOLD LIMITED    Active

NORTHBROOKE UK LIMITED    Active

9-16 LEITH MANSIONS LTD    Active

MILLENNIUM SEACON PROPERTIES LIMITED    Active

MILLENNIUM SEACON ASSETS LIMITED    Active

POWERQUEST LTD    Active

POWERQUEST LTD    Active

NORTHBROOKE LIMITED    Active

16 ST STEPHEN’S GARDENS LIMITED    Active

VICTOR HOUSE (RTM) LIMITED    Active

CHINGHILL LTD    Active

CHINGHILL LTD    Active

AQUATIME LIMITED    Active

SPACIOUS DEVELOPMENTS LTD    Active

MOTHERS LTD    Active

REALAIM LIMITED    Active

SOLARLIGHT LIMITED    Active

GLORYPEAK LTD    Active

CHASDEI YITZOK CHARITIES LIMITED    Active

SUSSEX COURT (MANAGEMENT) LIMITED    Active

TRIPLEBEAM LTD    Active

TRIPLEBEAM LTD    Active

TRIPLEROSE LIMITED    Active

EUROROSE PROPERTIES LIMITED    Active

WELLS HOUSE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION LIMITED    Active

WELLS HOUSE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION LIMITED    Active

AVON ESTATES (LONDON) LIMITED    Active

AVON ESTATES (UK) LIMITED    Active

LDM LONDON LIMITED    Dissolved

FIRSTQUEST ESTATES LTD    Dissolved

FIRSTQUEST ESTATES LTD    Dissolved

SLONEVIEW PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LIMITED    Dissolved

LAMINGREEN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LIMITED    Dissolved

BROADFIELD PROPERTIES LIMITED    Dissolved

CARLTON MANSIONS RTM COMPANY LIMITED    Dissolved    (Company Secretary Resigned 23/10/2009)

CARLTON MANSIONS RTM COMPANY LIMITED    Dissolved    (Director Resigned 23/10/2009)

CENTRAL CALCULATORS LIMITED    Dissolved    (Director Resigned 18/04/2007)

SHARPSOFT LIMITED    Dissolved    (Director Resigned 18/04/2007)

WENWELL LTD    Dissolved    (Company Secretary Resigned 18/12/2008)

WENWELL LTD    Dissolved    (Director Resigned 18/12/2008)

FIRSTPATH LTD    In Receivership    (Company Secretary Resigned 18/12/2008)

FIRSTPATH LTD    In Receivership    (Director Resigned 18/12/2008)

TOP ONE LIMITED    Active    (Director Resigned 11/01/2002)

TOPACTIVE ESTATES LTD    Dissolved    (Company Secretary Resigned 10/11/2009)

TOPACTIVE ESTATES LTD    Dissolved    (Director Resigned 10/11/2009)

SERIOUS ESTATES LIMITED    Dissolved    (Director Resigned 01/01/2004)

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