The toxic disputes between leaseholders at Canary Riverside and their freehold owner John Christodoulou had another airing over three days in the property tribunal this week.
At issue is the decision of Alan Coates, the highly respected veteran property manager, to stand down on health grounds from his section 24 court-appointed role to manage the site on September 30.
The question now is who will succeed him at the prime London Docklands site: a management company proposed by the leaseholders, or one congenial to Mr Christodoulou.
The tribunal is expected to rule in the next two weeks.
Canary Riverside has been the scene of repeated warring between the leaseholders and Mr Christodoulou, who is determined to regain control of the upmarket mixed-use site with 325 flats and a hotel.
But, as ever, it is an ill wind that blows no one any good, and the hearing and its cost was likely very welcome to the 12 lawyers who were present at one stage.
Leaseholders managed to wrest control of the site from Mr Christodoulou, who is based in Monaco, after the property tribunal booted out his property managers, Marathon Estates, in October 2016.
The tribunal appointed Mr Coates, a senior executive of LKP-accredited managing agents HML Holdings plc, as the court-appointed manager. This, in theory, puts the site under the protection of the court.
But since in September 2016 there have been 20 days of tribunal hearings, with another three this week.
“The landlord’s zest for litigation cannot be controlled,” Mr Coates has told the tribunal.
In a decision that may surprise leaseholders elsewhere, the Residents’ Association of Canary Riverside is advancing Felix Keen, of FirstPort, to take over the site as the court-appointed manager.
Mr Keen is a familiar figure at LKP organised events in Westminster, where he is thought to have a public policy role.
This decision is backed by Circus Apartments Limited, which owns 45 flats and has them run as serviced apartments.
Meanwhile, the leaseholder of four flats, Palm Trees Paradise Holdings Ltd (PTPH) believed to be based in the British Virgin Islands, proposed Shrewsbury-based Jon Edwards, of HLM Property Management. This is part of the Countryside group.
Mr Christodoulou’s freehold owning company Canary Riverside Estate Management Limited, represented by solicitor David Marsden and barrister Justin Bates, wants Duncan Rendall, of Rendall and Rittner, to take over.
Rendall and Rittner are also employed by Mr Christodoulou at his nearby West India Quay site, a point raised in the hearings this week as a potential conflict of interest.
Mr Coates has claimed that £3.1 million is owed in unpaid service charges, of which at least £1.6 million is due from companies related to the landlord.
Circus Apartments raised the issue of “whether it is appropriate for Mr Rendall to take over the site, who will be expected to chase the landlord for the arrears when he is their client at a neighbouring site”.
Mr Coates also told the tribunal that Mr Rendall had informed him: “Until the landlord gets his control back, it’s going to be war. The problem is not going to be solved.”
But later in the hearing Mr Rendall said that he did not recognise these words.
Palm Trees Paradise Holdings Limited raised the issue of Mr Rendall being the court appointed manager at Canary Riverside, while his company is employed by Mr Christodoulou at West India Quay.
Circus Apartments lawyer, Jonathan Upton, echoed this, saying: “Mr Rendall may well find himself unable to manage independently and fairly because of his appointment at West India Quay.”
But Mr Rendall told the tribunal: “I am my own man. I am not the landlord’s patsy. I will have difficult conversations with the landlord when they are required.”
The tribunal should rule on who will manage Canary Riverside in two weeks.
Anyone reading this from Canary Riverside, please just do some research on Firstport.
Residents have suffered enough!
Have a look at About Firstport, All Agents, Trust Pilot websites?
If that is not enough, google ” Firstport Collusive Tendering”
If that is not enough google “Firstport record fine for breaches of Health & Safety legislation.
If that is not enough google “Firstport Residents trapped by lift breakdown.
If that is not enough google “Firstport largest RTM action in the history of leasehold.
If that is not enough ask Jim Fitzpatrick MP? He is one of Firstport’s victims!
Michael, This is from another Firstport Company “Bespoke Property Services Ltd” which seem to have the same problems as Firstport Property Services Ltd and Firstport Retirement Ltd
Quadrant Court (QC) 2018/19 Budget Q&A
Firstport is mindful that when a change in Service Charges has to be compiled and informed Firstport are keen to answers such questions in an informative manner and help all of our customers understand how the service charge budget has been compiled. Their ultimate aim is to ensure the development is managed and maintained to a good standard so that it is an enjoyable place to live and own.
1. Firstport decided to move the “Quadrant Court” Financial Year to the end of December which will mean a 9-month budget and a 7% increase, so to bring in-line with the rest of Wembley Park. This step was taken to ensure QC can benefit from future Economies of Scale across the wider estate when negotiating with all suppliers.
2. Firstport has increased the budgeted for electricity and changed Utility Companys which will benefit in the long run?
3. Firstport has now allowed a budget for cleaning Communal Areas not previously budgeted for adds £19k to the Service Charges?
4. Firstport noted the budget for lift maintenance had been underbudgeted in previous years, to overcome this FP have increased the coverage and frequency of preventative works.
5. Firstport is now budgeting for Professional Fees( to administer Asset Management Plan, desperately needed for effective management of the development, moving forward).
6. Firstport has increased the Contribution to Reserve Funds (to ensure reserve fund under collected to date and not sufficient for this development) occupiers contribute to major works, and to regulate the annual charges, avoiding large one-off bills, assisting with leaseholders’ personal budgeting, which is expected to be approximately 15% of the yearly Service Charge and to not drop below 30% of this amount at any time as seen in the RICS Code of Practice.
7. Firstport has increased Insurance payments (previously paid separately on an annual basis) are showing in Service Charges as Residents at Quadrant Court, therefore this split 9-month budget allows for 3 months of insurance payments to take us to the new year which is a more common approach for collecting insurance payments on residential schemes?
8. Firstport is allowing £7.5k (window, balcony, and communal cleaning – not carried out or done to a poor standard previously) for balcony glass has never been cleaned as a whole project before with the requirement falling to the individual apartment previously, this has a massive impact on the overall aesthetic of the Development after 10 years of grime and dirt build up.
9. Firstport, in summary, explained what the increase of 7% was for (to include Playground upgrade – Much needed refurbishment of playground flooring and metalwork following a recent legislative ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) review. The average annual increase of budget vs budget is 31%.
10. Firstport provided a number of items as below that were now included that previously were not:
a. Insurance – previously paid separately on an annual basis.
b. Reserve fund – Under collected to date and not sufficient for this development.
c. Window, balcony, and communal cleaning – Never carried out or done to a poor standard previously.
d. Professional fees – Asset Management Plan is desperately needed for effective management of the development moving forward.
e. Playground upgrade – Much needed refurbishment of playground flooring and metalwork following a recent legislative ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) review. Including the above additions and others of lesser value. The average annual increase of budget vs budget is 31% and budget vs last year actual is 7%.
Trust Pilot Comments to Date 463
Trust Pilots first comments for Firstport was recorded on 29/02/2016 and gave it 1 Star.
Many have since given Firstport no stars but the comments were blocked as there has to be at least
I wonder how many would have given No Stars if they could.
Since 2016 there have been 463 comments:-
Excellent-1% less than 5
Great – 1% less than 5
Average – 1% less than 5
Poor – none
Bad – 97% a total of 449 Complaints
When a choice is between Poor and Bad is offered and POOR was not used because BAD was worse. What does it say about the CEO of Firstport Property Services Ltd and the Customer Services Management?
Another Firstport company is in trouble this time in the London Borough of Brent where Firstport Bespoke Property Services Ltd has put in an “Asset Management Plan” for Arcadia Court and Forum House where the future maintenance of the developments and Service Charges have increased by 47%.
It is believed that the Brent Council Leader Mr Muhammed Butt had recently welcomed Firstport Bespoke into London as Managing Agents for developments.
A massive fan has been switched on and residents are up in arms. An open meeting at Forum House turned hostile where residents were angry and insurrectionary as Firstport Management were unable to answer the questions asked, but didn’t deny the 47% increase in Service Charges. The Development Manager stated an Asset Management Plan was an absolute requirement.