Deep Sagar, chairman of the Leasehold Advisory Service, has demanded that the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership remove an article from its website and issue an apology, or it “reserves the right to take appropriate further action”.
It is an open question what is meant by this threat, which comes in the form of a letter from the LEASE chairman (left).
The article that has caused offence is “Wibble, wobble: why the Leasehold Advisory Service needs to be reformed”, which was placed on the site on June 1.
LKP rejects that there was anything actionable in the article, which makes a considered case for reforming LEASE, as well as criticising its monetising initiatives with the commercial leasehold sector, to the exclusion of leaseholders.
Deep Sagar’s intervention is all the more extraordinary as he, Anthony Essien, LEASE chief executive, Sebastian O’Kelly and Martin Boyd, of LKP, met in the offices of Sir Peter Bottomley as recently as Wednesday June 12.
Although LKP’s series of articles criticising LEASE were discussed, no request has been made to address particular concerns or statement of fact.
Deep Sagar makes no detailed criticism of the article and does not dispute any single point. He simply demands its removal and issue an apology.
“I am writing to tell you that much of that article makes claims that are contrary to facts related to LEASE and does deep damage to LEASE’s reputation with no basis in merit. We are therefore asking you to remove this article from the public domain as soon as possible and to issue an apology. If this does not take place within a week of receipt of this email, LEASE reserves the right to take appropriate further action.”
Sebastian O’Kelly, of LKP, says: “I think leaseholders will be appalled to see LEASE – supposedly concerned with raising standards in this murky sector – issuing such a ridiculous threat to LKP, which has done a good deal more to bring political and public attention to those abuses than the Leasehold Advisory Service.
“If Deep Sagar, or anyone for that matter, disputes the accuracy or fairness of an article on LKP, it is taken very seriously and the issue will be addressed. That does not mean we will necessarily agree, but at least we will know why we disagree.”
Dear Mr Sagar,
The last time i looked free speech is still allowed in Great Britain.
Nothing that i have read would seem top constitute anything but free and fair comment based on the genuinely held beliefs of those that have expressed their opinions.
All you have done by taking what i believe to be a most ridiculous position, is to alert those that may have genuine misgivings over the way Lease operates that there must be so much substance to the concerns being raised, you have been panicked into issuing the quasi ultimatum you have issued.
I use the term “quasi ultimatum” as i am sure you are aware that the expression “May” is not a legal term. To have any credence you would have to state what you “will do” and then you must follow that up with action if you are not satisfied. Any other action is nothing more than an attempt to frighten others into complying with your terms, which as i understand it is a criminal offence.
It has generally been found that any person or group that is at variance with anything published on this site, normally finds it sufficient simply to post a comment as to why they disagree with any opinion expressed. Instead all you have done is to foster an impression that you have something to hide. Trying to stifle opinions did not work for Peverel, it will not work for Lease.
This is purely my opinion and i take full responsibility for my views, but it is my (Michael Epstein’s) opinion that putting the most favourable slant on your actions, that you Mr Sagar have behaved like a complete PRATT!
When we have contacted Lease for help we have found them to be very disappointing I think 3 out of 10 would be fair,I get most my information from the LKP and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation web sites —- LEASE need to improve urgently.
I drafted the original article which became “Wibble Wobble”, so I was appalled with Deep Sagar’s subsequent attempt to bully the site. We have tried to explain to Deep on a number of occasions why we think leaseholders (and some managing agents) have concerns about several of LEASE’s policies. These concerns were also raised in the joint LKP LEASE meeting with Sir Peter Bottomley. Deep’s general response was to assert that LEASE is doing a very good job, at most only minor issues need addressing. He continues to assert there is nothing wrong with selling a high-grade skills to landlords and managing agents while offering free lower-grade skills to leaseholders. He did make a concession that paid-for information might be available to leaseholders at no cost after an event, but needs to clarify this position
We have offered Deep a chance to respond to “Wibble Wobble”, we have even offered to present to his board to explain our concerns. Since demanding an apology he has fallen silent, not even acknowledging our emails. After a week and with the deadline set by Deep passing, it was decided we had no option to make the issue public.
With regard to Mr. Sagar’s extraordinary outburst, Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation members have had previously well documented dealings with LEASE over several years. Very few of the many who consulted LEASE’s leasehold legal experts were able to get proper written advice that would enable them to solve a difficult leasehold problem with a managing agent. Some of them were even given totally the wrong advice and came to Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation for an explanation.
LEASE were never prepared to actually discuss individual managing agents and admitted this. Despite knowing a great deal about the failings in the sector, they were not prepared to get off the fence – as was corroborated to LKP in a face to face meeting with their Managing Director. Their usual advice was to go to the LVT, the Ombudsman (who are not able to deal with service charge complaints at all) or the two trade bodies. However it has been well known for several years that neither the ARHM or ARMA were going to discipline/eject their members whose fees kept them in business. Leaseholders continue to be caught in a major conflict of interest.
As has been mentioned by another commentator, the annual LEASE conference ticket price at over £300 is totally prohibitive to leaseholders. On the occasions when one or two members of Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation or LKP management have been present, no “ordinary” leaseholders have attended at all. This enabled seminars to take place (which were witnessed by Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation and LKP) which were openly publicising the fact that leaseholders had no government regulation to fall back on, just unenforceable toothless codes of conduct. With legal assistance by a real expert being extremely expensive, leaseholders were very unlikely to be successful at the LVT and therefore easy targets from whom to raise revenues, especially via ground rent increases and spurious maintenance related charges, like unnecessary replacement door entry systems.
It is time LEASE faced up to its own inadequacy and decide who it really represents and supports – leaseholders or managing agents/freeholders. It is not possible to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. It is obvious that it continues to be leaseholders who need proper free support by this government supported Quango, paid for by the tax payer, not the venal companies that seek to take money off them at every opportunity. At the very least, they should run a second conference for leaseholders, at a nominal price, and really listen to what is going on at grass roots level, rather than continue to deny that these problems exist for a very large proportion of leaseholders. They could also play a much larger and more practical role in helping developments to achieve successful RTM outcomes, and be seen to stand up strongly against malpractice.
Well done Sebastian for continuing to bring this to the attention of your very wide audience. I think Mr. Sagar will find he has no basis to take further action and that it will prove to be an empty threat.
Co-Founder Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation and LKP
So pleased your on good form.
Wibble Wobble II is in production. More facts more concerns from both leaseholders and managing agents.
I agree with Martin, so good to see your comments Melissa. You are the reason for so many of us taking an active stand against unruly Managing Agents/Freeholders. Mr Sagar has stirred up a hornets nest with his comments as seen by the amount of responses.
I was interested to read on the ARMA site (under news item drafts bill) that they have expelled 29 firms for non-compliance with their membership criteria since 1998! Not sure if this applies to Letting or Managing Agents but I would like to know who they were.
One was ( now long defunct) Haywards Fineman Lever of St Johns Wood NW8 after being swallowed by the defunct Erinaceous- they did however get it back. The business was absorbed and eventually broken up .
Wibble Wooble ‘Gate’… Now theres a thought…
I think that if LEASE do not offer to set up a seminar for Leaseholders then we should set up our own and ask for Government funding to do so. I find it unbelieveable that there is not one Leaseholder representative on the Board of Lease that can speak for Leaseholders and raise their concerns with the necessary government departments. Isn’t this what this organisation was set up for in the first place – to help Leaseholders?
I have just read the 30 comments above–frankly I have to question what planet Mr Sagar is on — I wonder if he is from the planet IN DENIAL .
In fairness to the three million leaseholders in England and Wales who are being badly let down by LEASE perhaps he should consider his position!
Unlike you, i have read 31 comments above!
You ask what planet Mr Sagar is on?
He is on Planet Lease, in which a large proportion of income comes from Freeholders/Managing Agents.
On a planet that offers training courses at prices ranging from £250 per person or £1,500 for day courses for up to 20 people and £350 conferences.
Now the question must be given the choice of standing up for a leaseholder, or standing up for a Freeholder/ Managing Agent, who provides a large amount of income, which one has Mr Sagar chosen?
Thanks for that I was not aware of LEASES commercial side. The saying goes that you cannot serve two masters, so the answer to Mr Sagar’s woes could be to split LEASE into two separate organisations one for the commercial side — one for the leaseholders ?
If Lease is as effective and balanced as you imply, how could it be that one of the largest property management companies (Peverel) has made provision of £7,990,930 to resolve outstanding claims?
Cousin Deep, vy, please? I almost not recognise without whiskers!
That they felt the need to challenge the Article speaks volumes about the influence and reach of LKP- due kudos to LKP. Some may conclude that their approach is reminiscent of the old Peveral Approach.
Perhaps if restated as a series of questions and not assertions, that “Deep” might agree to a constructive interview to put forward what LEASE is about and address the concerns and perceptions that lay behind the Article.
Oh silly me a public body being subject to (non crony) public scrutiny- what was I thinking….
Going on from what has just been mentioned how does LEASE view the HUMAN RIGHTS ACT? will they be implementing any of it or all of it? if so they will have to remember that a leaseholder and a freeholder are fully equal and throw away the old concepts that a leaseholder is VASSAL to his freeholder.
I would be very interested to know Mr Sagar’s view on the HUMAN RIGHTS ACT??