A partnership of two young property managers, JFM Block and Estate Management (www.jfm-management.co.uk), is the latest leasehold managing agent to join LKP.
Set up by James Farrar and Joe Mallon, JFM management is seeking business from leaseholder controlled blocks of flats.
Both have worked for established property management companies and feel strongly that the established managing agents who work for large freeholders or developers do not and cannot represent the best interests of leaseholders.
“By building our company around democratically-elected home-owner groups we have aligned ourselves with the consumer,” say the partners, who have won the management of sites in Hendon, north London, Reading, Maidenhead and Milton Keynes.
“We have no links to housing developers or freehold investors and are thus not handicapped by a desire to win business from them.
“Accordingly we are much better placed to get a better deal on new-build developments where the resident management company may be locked in a dispute over costs with a developer or freeholder.
“We have also sharpened our skills in the area of company law in respect of service charges, something that is very important to RMCs.”
The partners, who also blog on leasehold issues, set out their credo here:
Why did we start JFM and where are we going?
The Partners of JFM Block & Estate Management explain the ethos of the company and take a look at the prospects for the current year.
Like many experienced professionals striking out on their own to start up a business, our primary concern was obtaining a little extra security for our families. Having been in the property industry for the best part of two decades, and after working together at previous firms, we knew we had the expertise to launch a successful block management company.
But we couldn’t have started this firm without having first established our unique vision.
If you hired a lawyer you would fully expect them to declare a conflict of interests between you and another client, if one existed, without delay. Owing to a lack of accountability in our sector, however, it is standard practice for large developments to be passed over by housing developers to their preferred choice of managing agent. Such practice gives rise to unworkable situations whereby managing agents fail to hold these powerful developers to account on behalf of home-owner groups. The wider business interests of the agent simply do not compel them to ‘bite the hand that feeds’, so to speak.
We saw that there was room in the market-place for a managing agent that simply cut off the hand.
You cannot act for two opposing clients. It’s a basic principle of professional service. Major disputes between large house-builders, freeholders and resident management companies are inevitable. It is naïve to think therefore, that as a managing agent, you can successfully act for two of these parties at once. It may be profitable. It may be easy to obtain the custom. But in the event of a disagreement over costs, your service level just isn’t going to cut the mustard. That’s why we have setup a managing agent that only works for home-owners.
When it comes to our service, it’s solid. It’s reliable. We focus on the fundamentals and pay great attention to detail. But we will be the first to admit, we are not re-inventing the wheel by doing this. What makes us different is our stance on the type of clients we are willing to take on. The recent review of the industry by the Competition & Markets Authority is clear, property management works best when home-owners call the shots.
By building our company around democratically-elected home-owner groups we have aligned ourselves with the consumer. We have no links to housing developers or freehold investors and are thus not handicapped by a desire to win business from them. Accordingly we are much better placed to get a better deal on new-build developments where the resident management company may be locked in a dispute over costs with a developer or freeholder. We have also sharpened our skills in the area of company law in respect of service charges, something that is very important to RMCs.
What we have found on our travels is that this message has resonated with customers in unexpected ways. Resident directors of self-managed blocks, traditionally very wary of managing agents for the reasons we’ve mentioned above, are approaching us regularly with a view to engaging our services. Established RMCs with no current freeholder or developer issues like our model and are prepared to consider us just because of our overall vision. Some home-owners, with no current recourse against their landlords have approached us to help them establish control over their block by forming a Right to Manage Company.
This has led to instructions for share-of-freehold blocks in Hendon and Maidenhead, a large RMC of 133 units in Reading, an RTM Company of 21 flats in Milton Keynes and a large mixed-tenure estate in Hertfordshire. We are hopeful to secure instructions for an RMC of 229 units in Perivale, a self-managed ex-local authority building in East London and another share-of-freehold in Guildford by the end of the summer. We operate across Greater London and the Home-Counties and we are willing to take on buildings within reasonable driving distance from our West London office or our homes in Reading and Hendon.
The leasehold management sector is a difficult environment and sometimes we do question our own sanity in running a block management firm. But the truth is we feel this is somewhat of a calling for us. We have a product which is of real value to a growing group of people who are not getting a fair deal from some of the bigger firms. Our stance puts us on the right side of a national tug-of-war. We hope that through JFM we can do our best to anchor the struggle in favour of the home-owner.
Joe Mallon and James Farrar
Office Number: 0208 537 3263
James Farrar: 07866 085042
Joe Mallon: 07533 486208
What a comment on leasehold that a new business is started on the basis of avoiding conflict of interest! I hope it does well and will certainly recommend giving it a chance to tender when we next do so.
Dear Intelligence Unit, SFO.
As you do not have a name I feel that you have not taken this as serious as we have.
Your brief dismissal can be construed that you had long ago been informed that this is taboo and is likely to cause problems.
Your comments on what you do investigate seem to be unfair to pensioners who were specifically chosen because they are unlikely to complain if the perpetrators were found out, which is exactly what Serious Fraud Office has also done.
If we were from London in particular the City of London, then we would have been within the scope of the SFO. This is seen as ageism and the SFO has said to us , don’t bother us you are not from London therefore we are too busy to get involved.
Many of the residents that were cheated were from London and the cheating lasted 5 years and was the tip of the iceberg.
I will copy this to my friend Sir Peter Bottomley and other MP and to Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, LKP and About Peverel.
Scope where investigation will be investigated are seen below, which:-
•undermine UK commercial/financial PLC in general and the City of London in particular;
•and where the actual or potential loss involved are high;
•and where actual or potential harm is significant;
•and where there is a very significant public interest element;
•and new species of fraud.
Of course we as pensioner are of little interest to Government Departments unless there is an election looming, which has now happened so they have 5 years before they need again too ask for support?
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:46:18 +0100
Subject: Report Fraud from SFO Website [Unclassified]
Dear Mr Willis,
Thank you for your emails to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The SFO investigates and, where appropriate, prosecutes cases of serious or complex fraud (including cases of domestic or overseas bribery and corruption) which, in the opinion of the Director of the SFO, call for the multi-disciplinary approach and legislative powers available to the SFO. In deciding what cases to adopt, the Director will take into account all the circumstances of the case and consider:
cases which undermine UK commercial/financial PLC in general and the City of London in particular;* cases where the actual or potential loss involved are high;
cases where actual or potential harm is significant;
cases where there is a very significant public interest element; and
new species of fraud.
We after carefully considering the information provided, we have concluded this matter is not complex enough to warrant an SFO investigation, and thus does not require the use of the SFO’s expertise or specialist powers. We have reviewed this matter on previous occasions and have reached the same evaluation. We can confirm that the SFO’s stance remains the same and therefore, no further action will be taken by us at present.
I regret to have to give you what may be disappointing news. I would, however, like to thank you once more for bringing this matter to the attention of the SFO.
The Intelligence Unit
Serious Fraud Office
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 24 August 2015 00:47
To: PGP Referrals
Subject: Report Fraud from SFO Website
We thought it was about time a company came along to solely represent home-owner-controlled blocks and estates.
We are very excited at how the message has resonated with service charge payers.
…and thanks for the support!
Joe please contact us at Ashbrook Court , Sebastian has my details.
I have dropped Sebastian a note.
In the meantime if you would like any help feel free to email me directly.
It is certainly very refreshing to read your ethos and I am sure you will do well as long as you stick to it! From your comments you have clearly seen the side of property management that we have all suffered from on this site and want to make a difference so well done. I hope there will be more like you as long as leasehold remains but ultimately I still wish to see leasehold abolished.
Thanks for the kind words.
I share your disdain for leasehold. It is a relic of the feudal system that stacks odds against those at the bottom. I am in favour of the approach taken by the Scots, who have essentially done away with it altogether.
For us, Property Management (whether Leasehold or Commonhold) works best on larger blocks and estates when the key decisions are made democratically by informed home-owners. The agent is there to implement those decisions objectively (provided they are legally sound.)
We have positioned ourselves to only operate this form of management, something which is absent from the traditional model. Consequently, we do not fear an abolition of leasehold, unlike some agents.
I assume by stating that JFM Management have joined LKP it means that they have received LKP Accreditation.
This would mean that they work to the high standards set by LKP , treating Leaseholders with the respect they deserve.
I notice on the JFM website that they refer to ARMA , but are not on the list of ARMA members.
I wonder if they have applied for ARMA membership or would they, in the current climate, consider LKP as the best alternative.
After all ARMA are still deliberating ( 10 months and still going) whether to admit First Port/Peverel, hardly suitable bedfellows for a company like JFM.
JFM, have they applied for ARMA-Q or ARMA and is this website saying that LKP are better than ARMA? I am still waiting for an answer from ARMA (now 6 months) as to why Firstport Retirement, Peverel as was, have not been allowed to join the club they first set up and sponsored?
Peverel Retirement have been the worst Managing Agent for leasehold that is possible to have- unless you know different?
Changing name to Firstport Retirement has not helped.
Ask admin for my email as we would like to have a new MA who would attend site and undertake the works we pay for.
Chas, it was ARHM of whom Peverel were founder members, and as far as I know they are still members following their dressing down following the Price Fixing scandal. ARHM do not seem very active at the present time.
As for ARMA they washed their hands of taking action over the Price Fixing and as you say, have a complete inability or refusal to answer questions.
It would be great if LKP could now grow , receive endorsement from Government and replace these other two weak organisations.
A new source who knows the people involved in the Price Fixing has stated that at least 2 very senior offices who were involved in 2005 /2009 are despite what Janet Entwistle said in 2014 (that no one involved in the Price Fixing) still worked for The Peverel Group.
Those that were involved, that still worked for Peverel will be named once we have been given cast iron proof that these people were not only involved but were part of the senior managers who promoted this cheating.
Some AM are still working but there time has now come, since the change of names and they are now being pushed so they jump and receive a decent payment to keep quite and not spill the beans.
Some AM it has been said by sources, have been promoted (Peter Principle) and are unable to manage, placing further stress on them, hoping they will go of on long term sick then, leave?
I don’t think you need ARMA to be a success and I think you will sweep the board… and looking forward to watching it happen.
Please ensure you keep posting on the LKP site and promoting it and the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation site to Leaseholders.
Joe Mallon (JFM)
We cannot be members of ARMA until we have been up and running for 2 years. We have spent our careers at ARMA agents and follow all their best practice guidelines however.
In our view, ARMA is trade body that does do a lot of good but it is not an effective regulatory body.
We discuss this in our blog post below:
Joe, that is an excellent article on ARMA, I would urge everyone to read it.
It ties in exactly with my views on the organisation.
I have been trying to correspond with them for the last three years but get little or no response.
I too, was very excited and hopeful that ARMA would be the start of something good for the elderly leaseholders, but have come to realise that it is just a trade body protecting its members.. And full of self praise on its news section and Twitter. The farcicle way they announced the ARMA Q qualifiers was a perfect example.
Peverel, Retirement are still waiting to see if they qualify, I hesitate to think what other members will think if they succeed. The Entry Board have been deliberating on them for 11 months so far.
I had hoped that if they did get ARMA Q membership that ARMA would sort out their residents grievances.
That hope has now gone as they will be joining the Old Boys Club which may even give them protection.
ARMA washed their hands of any action over the price fixing.