In last week’s Lords debate on leasehold regulation, Baroness Greengross, the president of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers, said complaining pensioners were ‘barrack-room lawyers’ with too much time on their hands. She has today apologised to a Carlex supporter for her remark. Further details can be read here or visit www.carlex.co.
‘You are all barrack-room lawyers with too much time on your hands,’ ARHM president tells complaining pensioners
At the House of Lords debate on Monday, Baroness Greengross, a Crossbencher peer and the president of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers trade body, caused outrage by claiming complaining pensioners in retirement developments were “barrack-room laywers” with too much time on their hands.
“She has a nerve,” said Julia Scott, who lives in North West London. “Her own organisation has been a fig leaf for rapacious practices for years, with a code of practice with fine-sounding words that are in fact almost entirely discretionary.
“The first question to ask it is: where does its money come from and, then, who pays it? The answer is pretty obvious to all who live in retirement developments.”
Both the Tchenguiz family and Peverel were named in a House of Lords debate yesterday on leasehold service charges.
They were singled out by Baroness Gardner of Parkes (Conservative) – the only freeholders and managing agents named in the debate – when referring to landmark LVT settlements, including the £1 million pay-back to residents at the riverside St George’s Wharf, in Vauxhall, last September.
“In the Charter Quay case [in Kingston, Surrey] against the same landlord, Mr Tchenguiz, in December, the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal found that many interconnected companies were entering into contracts with other Tchenguiz family-owned companies and in that case received an excessive commission of 23.5 per cent for insurance.
“The chairman said: ‘The result of entering these contracts has been extremely damaging financially, because the break clauses are so onerous.’
“Peverel, the management company owned until recently by the Tchenguiz family, had a very poor record of dealings with its leaseholders.
“There are too many cases where intermediate landlords or management responsible for arranging services such as insurance have agreed contracts which mean that they are pocketing money themselves to the detriment of their tenants.
“Transparency is necessary to reveal these situations and stop this abuse.
“The organisation Leasehold Knowledge Partnership is actively working to ensure good practice.”
Rather than supporting regulation as the ultimate solution for the sector, Baroness Gardner urged a consolidation act to bring together the assorted leasehold legislation.
She pointed out that the support for regulation was unanimous in this area, with even the landlords’ British Property Federation in agreement – “yet it is often quoted by Ministers as opposing regulation”.