The biggest ever right to manage case has been won at the multi-storey, 422-apartment Metro Central Heights in London’s Elephant and Castle, but Peverel has been retained as managing agent.
Its performance will be reviewed after 12 months and then the residents will decide whether to offer the management contract up for tender.
The site, which used to be Alexander Fleming House and was the old headquarters of the Ministry of Health, won its RTM action earlier this month.
The residents were handheld through the process by the Right to Manage Federation, which in spite of its name is a commercial company offering RTM to all comers. Its founder is Dudley Joiner, who was associated with the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation campaign.
The company is also involved in securing right to manage in strongly contested cases involving two retirement developments in Plymouth, Elim Court and Regent Court.
The case of Elim Court comes before the LVT on December 11.
Metro Central Heights are grade II listed former offices built by in the 1960s by uncompromising modernist architect Erno Goldfinger, whose name Ian Fleming rendered more famous as the villain in his James Bond novel.
For reasons that are not fully clear, Metro Central House has been dubbed “metrosexual heights”.
The offices were refurbished by the Berkeley Group and its freehold sold off, along with the rest of its freehold and head lease portfolio, to the Tchenguiz Family Trust. In this case the freehold owner is Proxima GR.
The managing agent is Consort Property Management, part of Peverel, which until March last year when it was put into administration belonged to Tchenguiz.
Metro Central Heights RTM Company Ltd, owned by the leaseholders, will take control of the management of the block, but Consort will be retained as manager.
“Performance of Consort will be monitored over 12 months before deciding whether to tender for a new managing agent next year,” said Joiner.
No commission has been paid by Consort to the Right To Manage Federation. In other right to manage actions, the RTMF’s costs are paid for by the new incoming managing agent. “On this occasion, we were paid by the leaseholders to obtain right to manage and that was it,” said Joiner.
The leaseholders wanted to control decisions and expenditures at the site and had been interested in obtaining right to manage for some years. As many leaseholders were not resident at Metro Central Heights because they lived overseas, it was difficult to canvass enough support for the Residents’ Association to take things forward. RTMF was approached by the residents in 2011 to help matters progress. A few months later 248 leaseholders had given their support, enabling the RTM application to proceed.
A spokesperson for the Residents’ Association said: “The Right to Manage is a triumph, with RTMF being integral to that success. Not only will it enable us to get better value for money by allowing us to tender contracts, but the added control it entitles us to will be vital in the day-to-day management of the block and its upkeep.”
The RTMF was set up in 2006 to offer a unique RTM scheme to retirement blocks in response to exorbitant charges and poor services from management companies. Its services expanded over the years to embrace all residential apartment blocks. The RTMF claims it has successfully completed RTM for over 3,400 properties, of which around 1,600 were previously managed by Peverel companies.
The full ruling can be read here