The Right To Manage Federation writes …
The Right to Manage Federation has achieved its biggest ever RTM at a Peverel managed development of 967 luxury apartments known as Century Wharf, Cardiff.
This eclipses England’s biggest RTM, the prestigious Metro Central Heights block of 422 flats at the Elephant & Castle completed by the RTMF in 2012.
The Century Wharf development comprises 19 buildings divided into 35 self-contained units confusingly known as houses.
Following numerous site visits the RTMF decided that three RTM Companies could manage the estate and in October 2012 three Century Wharf RTM Companies were incorporated.
19 claim notices were issued on March 11 2013 and on April 11 Peverel issued counter-notices challenging the right to manage on several grounds, including the right of one RTM company to manage multiple buildings.
This set up a familiar confrontation between the landlord’s barrister, Justin Bates and RTMF solicitor Margarita Mossop.
At an LVT hearing in Cardiff on November 27 2013, Mrs Mossop produced a 26-page skeleton argument in response to Mr Bates assertions that Century Wharf buildings did not comply with s.72 of The Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act because the various ‘houses’ did not constitute a vertical division due to the common under-croft.
Mrs Mossop said Mr Bates argument on vertical separation was flawed and based on the incorrect assumption that claim notices had been issued for each self-contained unit or ‘house’.
The hearing was adjourned pending an Upper Tribunal decision on whether one RTM company can manage multiple premises.
At a reconvened hearing on March 19 2014 the Tribunal decided that the Upper Tribunal Decision in the case of Ninety Broomfield Road confirmed Mrs Mossop’s submissions were correct and in its decision dated May 8 determined all three RTM Companies were entitled to RTM, fully rejecting Mr Bates ‘vertical division’ arguments in relation to s.72.
Commenting on this latest triumph, RTMF Director Dudley Joiner praised RTM executive Nick Bignell who successfully coordinated a very complex case and solicitor Margarita Mossop for her detailed preparation and accurate interpretation of the legislation.
He called on landlords facing RTM claims to accept the inevitable rather than perpetuate costly legal disputes in cases where a majority of leaseholders clearly want RTM.
Century Wharf Leaseholders have appointed Warwick Estates to take over the management of the Welsh estate of luxury apartments when RTM is formerly acquired on August 8.
Warwick will manage the estate from its office in Cardiff.
The RTMF has now acquired RTM for over 6,500 properties throughout England and Wales.
The full ruling can be read here: CenturyWharf
This is a brilliant result. The warmest congratulations are offered to all concerned.
This is an important victory at a complicated site.
It is such a contrast to the Kingsmere fiasco, in Brighton, in 2012 where ill-advised leaseholders ended up paying the freeholders’ legal costs.
Leaseholders contemplating RTM in multiple blocks should read this decision.
This fantastic result amply demonstrates, that in cases we have lost, we do not just take defeat on the chin. We learn from our mistakes. We give publicity to te reasons for any defeat so another development can avoid any mistakes we may have made.
We also celebrate success, such as Century Wharf. Of course the loss of another high profile development, though a major blow for Peverel, is not as serious as the step by step guide now in the public domain as to how others can follow the steps taken by RTMF and Century Wharf.
Well done to all concerned..
What an excellent article and well done to the RTMF.
I think this is a very good example of why help should be enlisted of somebody who has the experience of dealing with ‘these types of nasty individuals’.
This type of harrassment needs to be stamped out from Right To Manage claims.
I know from experience all the time/cost that is associated with defending such trumped up defences from landlords and their legal teams and this is another example of how desperate those earning a fortune out of these developments are getting, they will stop at nothing. This is another nail in the coffin for leasehold tenure…
First St George’s Wharf (which was a larger loss in fact) and now this? Excellent news. A wharf here and a wharf there and this company is going to the docks altogether,
Wharflessness: when you haven’t got two wharves to rub together
Would like to see LKP report some Before and After RTM stories.
i own a flat in century wharf.
i bought it, mug that i am, in 2007.
the drop in value, while not ideal, is nothing compared to the misery of having to deal with peverel.
i am absolutely delighted with the result. well done to everyone concerned.
While it is great news, and JB’s usual argument in these cases on a technical point, it is hardly a nail in the leasehold coffin or anything to do with “leaseholds”. It is a matter of control, rightly assumed here, and the leases rightly continue, with the difference being that control and expense will be , we expect, rather more sensible and fair.
As rentcharges were abolished in 1977 if we abolished ground rents, the freeholds are worthless and given to RMCs- who needs commonhold?
Sorry AM, I don’t understand where you are coming from. If ground rents are abolished freeholds become worthless? I don’t think these “landlords” want to fight to keep hold of their freehold just because of the income they get from ground rents. As we all know, ground rent is a minor income to most of these “landlords” (I will use their official titles)
Well its a major chunk @15/20 yp
It is my understanding that ARMA are getting increasingly concerned about the methods employed by Mr Justin Bates. They fear the consequences for the future of ARMA-Q if barristers such as Justin Bates expoit every unintended loophole to deny leaseholders their rights.
But if the law is open to argument…its the problem of yet more appalling legislation by the sucking mudpit aka the civil service who cant think it through. Even the Al Murray’s pub landlord knows that
If the law is open to argument any barrister is within his rights to argue on any technicality.
So you are correct it is the appalling legislation that is at fault.
What so concerns ARMA is that because barristers such as Justin Bates serve to expose how bad the legislation is, all the good intentions of ARMA- Q are completely undermined.
All the ARMA-Q guidelines become meaningless without a change of legislation.
Well not completely as ARMA like the RICS, under ARMA Q agree to conduct business in a certain way. Certain standards are adopted, as Peter Bottomley refers to, in regard to what sort of practices, even if lawful, are deemed unsuitable or unprofessional.. To the extent that ARMA Q commits itself to legislative compliance, I agree, it becomes abit of a mockerry.
That said having walked out in disgust at the GLA “hearing” ARMA, and the others, did very little to lead in what could have been a great opportunity to make significant progress in landlord and tenant reform.
It is my view that a lot of the “rights” needed are sitting on the statute books, but in such a form as to cripple them. Or worse still, awaiting a commencement order.
As an example of the “sucking mudpit” here is “J”s take on the Immigration Act in relation to its affect on housing. For flat owners who rent out their flats, be aware that if their tenant’s immigration status changes during the term , you have to evict them 🙂
Soryy hyperlink didn’t paste 🙁
Whilst I agree that the removal of Peverel is a great step forward, we leaseholders at CW are moving into unknown territory by appointing Warwick Estates. I understand that Warwick are not that popular at other sites in Cardiff as their property managers are inexperienced and in some cases have not made themselves familiar with the development lease(s).
Time will tell!
Tom, I am one of a number of freeholders and also one of the directors of our management company. We also employ a managing agent for ay to day running etc. Nothing could be better but it does involve some work by us directors. .I have not followed your case very closely but you sound sceptical about Warwick Estates, How were they chosen in the first instance,
If things turn out to be unacceptable, as ME quite rightly points out, you can change your managing agent now you have RTM
I am not sure what you mean by saying that you have not followed my case very closely. I am a leaseholder at CW but have friends at other sites, namely Ferry Court and Landmark Place – where there have been misgivings regarding Warwick Estates..
As I understand, from attending the RTM meetings at CW, the only reason that Warwick Estates were appointed was the fact that they funded the RTM process!
Notwithstanding that they can be dismissed easily (unlike the previous manager), they can still cause a lot of financial and other problems! As I said, time will tell.
You do have some sauce! It is quite a common practice for a RTM action to be paid for in return for a subsequent management contract. Peverel themselves offer this (even if it is rarely taken up)
Whilst not ideal, it does take the financial risk away from the consequences of failed RTM actions.
Warwick Estates, like all others that fund RTM actions in return for a management contract know that if they do not perform to an adequate standard, will simply be dismissed by the RTM company.
Surely this is a better situation than having a management agent forced on you?
It could be that appointing Warwick Estates could prove to be a disaster for Century Wharf.
The difference and the protection you now have (which you didn’t before) is if for any reason you are unhappy with Warwick Estates you can simply sack them and appoint another property manager, The leaseholders at Century Wharf are in control. of their destiny.
Yes, it’s “simple” to sack a managing agent following RTM, but not so simple to guarantee that the replacement is going to be significantly better, particularly on a relatively large and complicated site like Century Wharf.
As a flat owner at Century Wharf, I’ve yet to see any figures from Warwick Estates that will demonstrate how they will dramatically reduce the service charges, as they claim. So far, it’s all been vague promises.
I suspect that there are going to be a lot of disappointed flat owners here in a year or two’s time. Still, they won’t have far to go to knock on the doors of the RTM directors to complain, will they (assuming that they haven’t conveniently moved out by then)?
This tribunal ruling may be of interest:
Ros, as you will see from my reply to Tom I am involved with freehold. Nothing, repeat nothing can be better, although it does involve some input by your own team.It is possible that Service Charges remain the same but, if that is the case, it will surely mean a better service and money being spent on the right things.
Insurances should be at “net” costs, Contractors at “net” costs etc etc etc, No more havinfg an agent that just puts mark up after mark up on real costs. You also have the final word on who you use for every job. Providing what you request meets all legal criteria etc etc you, the RTM people, are in total control. Of course there are negatives but the positives outway by a million percent
To be fair the average agent might struggle with a complex site and complicated services when it comes to costing and procurement. I don’t know the building but you might have to look at employing consultants to look at and advise on some services and contracts, and leave the cleaning gardening utility and day to day repair contracts procurement to them.
Over the last 15/20 years its been a lot of hard work and CPD keeping up with new services and construction, and the tricks of the trade, to be able to do so, and the average chap/chappess won’t have that info to hand,
With such a complex site I would support AMs views regarding expertise outside help
Don’t forget City Heights or St Georges Wharf!
Do you really believe you are worse off having a RTM company rather than Peverel forcing their managerial attentions on CenturyWharf?
Have a look at Strand Court, in particular the manner that Peverel treated a 94 year old WW2 RAF pilot?
That alone would make anyone with a scrap of humanity evict Peverel from their development.
For selfish reasons you are far better off having a RTM company and in particular you are far better off without Peverel.
That said, it is understood what a key loss Century Wharf was to the survival prospects of Peverel in property management. It was to be expected doubts would be raised after Century Wharf’s victory. Whilst i doubt Peverel would expect to win Century Wharf back, I presume Peverel would hope that having concerns published such as yours might make the next development pause before going down the RTM route..
I am not sure that’s their point- just a concern that, to be fair to RTM and RMCs in general, that they can worry how much they have bitten off and it the agent is up to a good job rather than a seat of the pants one.