A tactic to undermine residents’ right to manage ambitions by Estates and Management – which manages the various freehold vehicles of the Tchenguiz Family Trust, based in the British Virgin Islands – is to offer to dump FirstPort and replace it with another management company.
And here they are: CPBigwood, Inspired Property Management, Warwick Estates and Rendall and Rittner. On other occasions, our old friends Freemont Property Managers, headed by the former Politburo of Peverel (see below), is put forward.
A recommendation from Tchenguiz is sufficient reason in itself to avoid these companies.
This is not because they are in themselves bad companies – indeed, some of them do occasionally manage leaseholder-controlled blocks – but if they are appointed by the Tchenguiz interest this is what they will serve.
Not the leaseholders.
This list of managers was offered recently to a retirement site in east London that was getting restless and was fed up with FirstPort / Peverel. It was taking steps towards right to manage, which so successfully snuffs out dubious income streams in leasehold.
Indeed, the typical savings of a right to manage block are around 20 per cent, and the Competition and Markets Authority concluded that RTM sites were more harmonious than ones where the freeholder appoints the management.
Unfortunately, this tactic by Tchenguiz of offering to dump FirstPort / Peverel – which it once owned – and replacing it with another management company may have had some success in retirement sites.
All the game-players in the leasehold sector, such as FirstPort / Peverel, peddle the myth that leaseholders are in some sense the “customers” in the leasehold management process.
Of course, they are nothing of the kind, although they do do the paying.
While there are plenty of good reasons to get rid of FirstPort / Peverel – whose subsidiary Cirrus was found by the Office of Fair Trading to be running a collusive tendering racket that ripped off pensioners (click here for the full sordid story) – there is no reason at all to accept another management company appointed by the freeholder.
Use your right to manage, or better still buy the freehold, and appoint a management accountable to yourselves. Then if they are no good, sack them.
Freemont Property Managers was set up by former Peverel CEO Nigel Bannister and former head of Peverel Retirement Keith Edgar. They were joined by Peverel executives Philip Cummings and Kevin Barr, the former Peverel head of estate accounts.
Nigel Bannister is noteworthy for his ill-timed newspaper interview in November 2009, after Campaign against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation activists had aroused the interest of the authorities in the Cirrus collusive tendering cheating.
Nigel Bannister was quoted in the Times saying: “People are reading a conspiracy into a problem that isn’t there. We use Cirrus because it is an excellent service.”
A fortnight later Peverel was admitting just such a conspiracy to the Office of Fair Trading, which ruled – after four indolent years – that Cirrus was running a collusive tendering racket at Peverel sites.