The Leasehold Advisory Service has today issued a statement to LKP saying that it will continue to promote the commercial activities of controversial managing agent Benjamin Mire.
But new terms and conditions mean the taxpayer-funded quango can boot out any leasehold professional advertiser “at any time in our sole discretion”. Pointedly, it states that Mire has to renew his contract in July.
The new terms can be read here
In addition, some advertisers may be discontinued by “a third party”, meaning a government department, and no notice will be given.
A statement from LEASE chief executive Anthony Essien (right) to Sebastian O’Kelly, at LKP, says:
“I would seek to reassure you that LEASE has taken the concerns and representations made to use about this issue by Sir Peter Bottomley MP very seriously.”
After the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office stated last November that Mire would have been sacked from his judicial post had he not resigned, LEASE was “bound to consider this issue in the context of the terms and conditions that apply to those listed on the Lease Conferences Ltd professional directory”.
However, Mire’s company Trust Property Management – which has been involved in a series of controversial LVT rulings – “had complied with the applicable terms and conditions”.
Last week, Sir Peter Bottomley told LEASE chairman Deep Sagar to remove Mire’s advertising from the taxpayer-funded organisation, or himself resign.
Essien makes clear in his statement to LKP that all advertisers in the “professional directory” will be bound by the new terms and conditions.
So will existing advertisers who renew. Essien adds that for Trust Property Management that will mean this July.
“If they do not meet the requirements of the new terms and conditions they will not be included in the professional directory from that point onwards,” he says.
The relevant clause in the new terms and conditions is 8.2:
Without limiting our other rights or remedies, we may terminate the Contract with immediate effect by giving written notice to you if:
8.2.1 you commit a material breach of the Contract and (if such a breach is remediable) you fail to remedy that breach within five (5) Business Days of you being notified in writing of the breach;
8.2.2 the inclusion of your Directory Information on the Directory conflicts with our or The Leasehold Advisory Service’s purpose, objectives or obligations or brings us or The Leasehold Advisory Service into disrepute or there is a risk (in our reasonable opinion) of any such conflict or bringing into disrepute;
8.2.4 your Directory Information breaches any Intellectual Property Rights of any third party;
8.2.5 an Insolvency Event occurs in relation to you or your business;
8.2.6 you suspend or cease, or threaten to suspend or cease, to carry on all or a substantial part of your business; or
8.2.7 you (being an individual) die or, by reason of illness or incapacity (whether mental or physical), become incapable of managing your own affairs or become a patient under any mental health legislation.
This is an troubling state of affairs: LEASE is advertising a managing agent, much of whose employment came / comes from an interconnected company, Lakeside Developments.
Both it and its owner, David Glass, are shareholders of Trust Property Management.
Benjamin Mire is obviously not fit to hold judicial office, but LEASE has been out-manoeuvred into advertising the services of his company (at least, until July).
Many leaseholders who regard themselves as victims of Mire and Trust Property Management are disgusted by this.
The authorities are at last taking these repeated scandals at LEASE more seriously.
Sir Peter Bottomley, who a year ago was praising the work of LEASE staff – and had taken the trouble to visit their offices – is now so critical that he is inviting the chairman to move on if nothing is done about Mire.
A new generation of DCLG staff are concerning themselves with leasehold, and bring to bear fresh minds.
One has to question whether a quango such as LEASE is a worthwhile use of taxpayers’ money in the shark-infested waters that is leasehold.
LKP has long argued that its annual conference is a disgrace.
Only on the last two occasions have leaseholders themselves been permitted to attend (and then only for an evening session with junior advisors).
The annual conference is a misnomer: it is a revenue generating trade show for leasehold professionals: lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, surveyors and the like.
Some of the seminars have been diametrically opposed to the interests of leaseholders:
- Surveyor Gary Murphy telling freeholders how they can load insurance costs and commissions. Oh, and the best bit: leaseholders have no right to know the commissions. His presentation slides can be seen here. How was the cause of standards in leasehold served by this wide-boyism?
- Barrister Justin Bates advising on how managing agents can deal with cross examination – that’s cross-examination by leaseholders, of course. This seminar scheduled for last year was abruptly cancelled when it was clear Sir Peter Bottomley and LKP would be attending the conference. LKP was pointedly barred by LEASE this year.
It should not register in LEASE’s mindset to offer a platform for these offerings, nor is it necessary: there is no shortage of dodgy trade bodies and worthless institutes in leasehold that can host this sort of thing.
Unfortunately, LEASE is under instruction to raise money through commercial activities by the DCLG.
In the context of leasehold that is a mistaken decision: the money is all on one side, and some of it is none too clean.
Unfortunately, LEASE has compromised itself through its commercial enthusiasms, as LKP has long argued. See last year’s article: Wibble, Wobble: why the Leasehold Advisory Service needs to be reformed.
That resulted in a cack-handed attempt by LEASE chairman Deep Sagar to bully LKP with legal threats.
The Mire case has brought these activities under scrutiny.
As a result, a lot more people are looking at LEASE and not liking what they see.