Roger Southam, the chairman of the Leasehold Advisory Service, has appeared in the newspaper Private Eye again this week (erroneously referred to as a satirical magazine by mainstream newspapers, which more closely resemble satire).
The article concerns the complaint by the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership that his role conflicts with his professional interests in leasehold property management.
It quotes the DCLG rejecting the complaint as his role as chairman and his business interests were “totally separate”.
DCLG rejects complaint over LEASE chair Roger Southam, who pledged to ‘maximise ground rent opportunities’ for freeholders
This dismissal of the complaint has caused outrage at Mulberry Mews, a Taylor Wimpey London site, where Mr Southam’s Chainbow company owned the embedded management company in the lease.
Justin Madders MP also voiced his concerns about Mr Southam in the Commons on February 27.
At Mulberry Mews, in north London, Chainbow owned the management of the site in perpetuity.
Leaseholders were told in writing, by both Taylor Wimpey London and Mr Southam, that the company – which under normal circumstances might have been a residents’ management company – was nothing to do with them.
After the involvement of LKP, Taylor Wimpey London rapidly changed its tune.
In a behind closed doors manoeuvre, Mr Southam was ousted – which was curious as Taylor Wimpey London had flogged the freehold to the mysterious Adriatic Land interests and so had had no legal involvement in the site – and persuaded him to hand over the company.
LKP then obtained two legal opinions and worked with Taylor Wimpey London to create articles and memoranda for a functioning residents’ management company.
This now manages the site, and has in fact appointed LKP-accredited managing agent Rynew, headed by Desmond Moreira, a long-time strong supporter of LKP.
Mr Southam since sold Chainbow to Savills at some point last year, so it is in fact the latter that has been given the boot at Mulberry Mews.
Private Eye also reports than both Sebastian O’Kelly, trustee of LKP, and Bob Smytherman, perennial chairman of the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations, were again rejected for positions on the “industry-stuffed LEASE board”.
In February, housing minister Gavin Barwell reminded LEASE at its humiliating annual conference that it should be “solely and unapologetically” on leaseholders’ side.
Sir Peter Bottomley joined the admonitions telling LEASE to cease hosting dodgy seminars on how to cheat leaseholders over issues such as insurance commissions.
‘If I fail to offend anyone, I will do it next time,’ Bottomley tells appalled LEASE annual conference
Since LKP’s complaint about the suitability of Mr Southam to continue in his role of chair, other complaints have come from the National Leasehold Campaign on Facebook.
‘Dump Roger Southam. Appoint Sebastian O’Kelly,’ National Leasehold Campaign tells housing minister
Just commented under “Justin Madders questions Roger Southams role” re: Roger Southams latest remarks reported on News on the Block website!!
What a fascinating article by Roger Southam on the News on the Block website?
He relates the story of a demand he received for service charge arrears, when in fact it turned out to be for a balancing payment and had been poorly written by the managing agent. This situation was rectified by Mr Southam in two months.
Now suppose the disagreement was over a a more substantial amount of service charges? Let us say 8,000 pounds?
Let us say that in a tribunal the leaseholder reduced the claimed amount of service charges to around 2,000 pounds?
That sounds like a substantial win for the leaseholder? And yet that leaseholder can be landed with a charge for 80,000 pounds legal fees and come within minutes of forfeiting his home valued at 800,000 pounds.
May I suggest to Mr Southam that may be a more appropriate article for News on the Block?
Or how about an article on the misery forced on leaseholders by managing agents becoming a part of a tri- party lease (you know Mr Southam a bit like Chainbow have done)?
Adriatic own the freehold on the block of flats where i own my flat. Googling them doesn’t really bring up much unfortunately. They instruct Home Ground to collect the ground rent payments. To add insult to injury the service charge companies staff ( all three of them ) are ex Pereval. Brilliant.