ARMA’s regulatory panel announced on Friday June 27 that it had admonished Y and Y Management following a complaint over “intemperate and unprofessional language” to a leaseholder who visited its north London offices.
A letter of admonishment has been sent to the company, headed by Joseph Gurvits, whose business partner is freeholder Israel Moskovitz. Both have been named in the House of Commons by Sir Peter Bottomley.
Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation and LKP have reported the two’s activities here and here. They have also featured in an article for the Sunday Times here
The panel detailed the complaint against Y and Y Management in the following terms:
“The Member Firm’s behaviour at the time of and in response to an alleged incident on 17th July 2013 at the Member Firm’s offices, involving a lessee raised concerns about intemperate and unprofessional language and conduct, indiscreet and potentially defamatory comments about the lessee and the inappropriate use of personal information.”
The ARMA regulatory panel was headed by former Labour housing minister Keith Hill, and assisted by barrister Claire Andrews and chartered surveyor David Dalby.
Y and Y Management “admitted in part subject to a claim of provocation” the intemperate and unprofessional language.
The allegation concerning inappropriate use of personal information was dismissed as the information was already in the public domain and “the Member Firm was entitled to respond to the issues”.
The panel’s statement adds: “The Regulatory Panel also noted that the Member Firm was vindicated at the First Tier Tribunal in a relevant matter.”
However, the Panel was less happy about Y and Y Management’s professionalism and intemperance. A letter of admonishment was to be sent to the company and the ruling continues:
“The Regulatory Panel particularly identified the following points as reasons for the sanction:
a) Professionalism and courtesy requires [sic] self-restraint as a primary requirement in all circumstances whatever the provocation.
b) Making un-evidenced and unnecessary, discourteous and defamatory statements to third parties is unacceptable.
“No costs were awarded, as the Schedule of Indicative Costs is not yet available.”
Sebastian O’Kelly writes … The case considered by the ARMA regulatory panel is of particular interest to LKP /Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation because both the leaseholder, Ms Jacquie Lacumber, and Mr Gurvits have discussed this particular complaint with us at length.
Both have been fulsome and frank in giving their versions of the incident.
LKP did not report these allegations, which were serious and involved a complaint to the police (which did not result in charges).
There was absolutely no legal impediment preventing us from doing so as both parties had freely discussed the matter.
However much we deprecate Y and Y Management, and the conduct of Mr Gurvits and Mr Moskovitz, we felt it would be unfair to report these conflicting versions of an incident that would be more appropriate for a court or tribunal to determine.
That has now occurred and ARMA has told Y and Y Management to keep its temper and mind its manners.
But how does the restraint of LKP compare with the conduct of Y and Y?
We have particular concerns over three retirement sites in Devon where Mr Moskovitz bought the freeholds at auction.
All have rebelled against Y and Y that manages the sites.
Numerous articles have appeared on the websites here and here
At Regent Court, in Plymouth, the pensioners won their right to manage in February 2012. Disgracefully, this was delayed until February this year as Mr Moskovitz resorted to every legal stratagem to frustrate the process.
He appealed the RTM, lost and then asked leave to appeal from the Court of Appeal, and was sent packing … but it got him another six months of management at the site.
At Elim Court, also in Plymouth, there is a similar situation, although it is the residents who are appealing to the Upper Tribunal to achieve their right to manage.
These issues have been reported in the Sunday Times here
Milton House, in Newton Abbot, is going down the same path, after a number of residents contacted Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation over various frustrations.
Elderly vulnerable residents are having to spend years in the tribunals fighting to rid themselves of a management that they heartily detest. Sir Peter Bottomley has had to spend hours involving himself in these issues (although he is not the constituency MP) and so has Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation / LKP.
This tribunal ruling at Elim Court gives a representative picture of what the pensioners have to face.
While a letter of admonishment from ARMA is not the most serious censure conceivable, it does put Y and Y Management on notice.
It is unlikely that the better companies accredited to ARMA would be sad to see it out of the door.
Leaseholders who receive threats or any form of harassment or intimidation from landlords and/or their agents need to make far greater reference to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Offences, civil and criminal are set out in Section 1. The threshold is not that high and a judgement against a landlord will certainly not hinder a service charge case taken to the FfT by a leaseholder.
Link to the CAB website