Jolyon Harrison, the CEO of Gleeson Homes, has demanded that ground rent speculators Landmark Investments remove an endorsement by Gleeson for its services.
Landmark Investments is run by Mark Hawthornthwaite – aka as Mark Hawthorn – who has been defending ground rents speculations in a Twitter spat with leasehold activists of the National Leasehold Campaign.
It’s also been misunderstood by many homebuyers and subsequently misrepresented by some campaigners who dont have an understanding (ie “abolish leasehold” with no real idea of the consequences or replacement option)
— Landmark Investments (@LandmarkInvsGrp) September 29, 2018
In September 2017 Mr Harrison told the All Party Parliamentary Group of his strong disapproval of leasehold game playing and leasehold houses in particular.
But the following endorsement appears on the website of Landmark Investments:
The page is / was here
The endorsement appears along with praise from Tom Bloxham MBE of Urban Splash, Wainhomes, Charles Church and BGL Partners.
Mr Harrison told LKP:
“This one got us scratching our heads, there hasn’t been anyone with that job title employed by us for some years.
“You will recall that I joined Gleeson in 2009 just after our Southern house building company had been closed and at this point we totally abandoned any thoughts about leasehold.
“There were some leasehold sites at that time and the leases were sold to a variety of businesses including Landmark; there were no punitive escalating clauses.
“I assume that this is when someone at Gleeson gave landmark the testimonial. There have been a few minor tidying-up sales since then but nothing significant and nothing with escalation clauses.
“Following receipt of your email we have pointed out to Landmark that the testimonial is old and doesn’t really apply anymore and we have asked them to remove it from their website.
“Thank you for pointing this out to me. Let me know if you find any more!”
In September 2017 mr Harrison told the APPG:
“I’ve always made a decent profit building ordinary freehold houses. If a developer is lining its pockets with leasehold then it shouldn’t. It should be against the company’s corporate social responsibility code.”
Earlier this year Mr Harrison demanded an apology from Justin Madders MP for raising Gleeson’s permission fee charges in a Commons debate.
Gleeson won’t sell leasehold houses, but freehold ones come with ‘fleasehold’ covenants, says Justin Madders
Gleeson CEO Jolyon Harrison responds over ‘fleasehold’ row and asks Justin Madders for an apology
In the response to LKP, Mr Harrison said that its permission fee structures were being misrepresented: it only charged up to £200 when legitimate costs were incurred.
However, LKP has been sent another of the Gleeson advice sheets stating that permission fees “start at £200”.
We asked for clarification of this point as well and Mr Harrison replied:
“I have no intention of increasing the charge any time soon, to which you may ask me why I don’t fix it at £200. It’s because I want the flexibility to charge more if necessary.
“I cited the case of the person who kept changing their mind when we charged them £300. I don’t think this is keeping our customers awake at night.
“We know that we take an opposite approach to others, but we take the opposite approach to them on most things …
“We sell 92% of our houses to first time buyers.
“We sell 87% of our houses to people under the age of 35
“Last year we sold 85 houses to people aged 21 or under, 12 of whom were teenagers.
“31% of our houses are sold by recommendation from an existing customer.
“Our 2 bedroom brick built semi-detached house with front and back gardens and a drive down the side typically sells for £100,000 and if this is bought with Help to Buy and a 35 year repayment mortgage the repayments are £54 a week; typical council house rent is £80 a week.
“Other house builders sell houses to people who already have one whereas we sell houses to people who haven’t … it gives us a totally different perspective.
Landmark Investments on Twitter
@katiejane13uk @WilliamsEllisCS It’s also been misunderstood by many homebuyers and subsequently misrepresented by some campaigners who dont have an understanding (ie “abolish leasehold” with no real idea of the consequences or replacement option)
David Colin McArthur
A house is freehold or it is not freehold. Houses that are not freehold include those with permission fees attached. Jolyon should jolly well bugger off with his claims to sainthood.
Check out Companies House and Mark Hawthornthwaite – aka Mark Hawthorn.
He is also the freeholder of companies such as MB Freeholds Ltd who employ Firstport Retirement as Managing Agents with a linked Landlord to Flatlaunch and Estates & Management are their agents.
Most of these websites such as LKP-TTAS-Carlex-Peverel Action-About Firstport were started as a result of a Company called Peverel Retirement who was purchased in 2007 by the Tchenguiz Family Trust the main company who treated pensioners as Cash Cows and continues to do so.
I also recently learned that he has been defending ground rents speculations in a Twitter spat with leasehold activists of the National Leasehold Campaign.
I tried to contact him but he only has a PO Address.
David Colin McArthur
Further to my post above. It is already well established that outfits like Landmark Investments are bad guys, Gleeson? What business is it of a house builder who sells FREEHOLD house to have an interest – for good or bad – after the sale of those houses?
Let us suppose Gleeson and Jolyon Harrison have a social conscience above and beyond what is normal for a commercial enterprise. Effectively they have adopted the position of a father figure over the children – perhaps peasants is more suitable, who have bought their houses.
All well and good, or not well and good. Jolyon old boy, I maligned you in my initial post, perhaps you are saintly, but there is no perhaps about you being misguided. People have to stand on their own feet in this world, put away your Victorian paternalism and build good solid houses, and sell them freehold with no afters.
Quite possibly your good intent is being misinterpreted – well intentioned folk are often thought ill of. Cynicism is alive and well and thriving, don’t feed the cynics, express your social conscience in a more mature and less paternal way.