Not since the Soviet Union went out of business have we seen such clottish attempts to spin a positive line.
It started at the website of our old friends at the Leasehold Advisory Service deciding that the key point in Sir Peter Bottomley’s speech to leaseholders in London on November 12 was a passing polite reference to … LEASE itself.
“MP praises LEASE’s service” was the headline, with not a single reference to the criticisms Sir Peter raised regarding criminal behaviour, price-fixing cartels, cheating freeholders, exit fee fiddles, opportunist lawyers playing the system and feeble judicial intervention.
For those who need reminding what Sir Peter DID say, the full speech can be viewed here.
On Tuesday came the announcement that the Office of Fair Trading was launching a full investigation into leasehold management.
It must have been a nasty surprise for Michelle Banks, the chief executive of the Association of Residential Managing Agents, who can usually be assured of being tipped off about these issues by her former colleagues at the DCLG.
Fortunately this inquiry originates from the leaseholders themselves, backed by Sir Peter Bottomley and Ed Davey. And now with enthusiastic backing from Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick as well.
It all seemed to be going so swimmingly for ARMA.
It has never made a public squeak about the crookedness at the heart of leasehold – as so many of the worst offenders are leading members – and whatever regulation was in offing – if the politicians could ever get round to it – would be entrusted to Michelle.
Now the OFT is involved and ARMA has been completely side-lined.
Michelle made the best of it, however, waving her Band Aid about the impenetrable ethical scheme ARMA-Q and repeating the nonsense that the worst offenders are not ARMA members.
“This is a welcome announcement from the OFT which should promote the need for consistently high standards across the residential leasehold management sector,” she says on her website.
But best of all is Peverel’s hilarious response to the OFT inquiry.
That’s the inquiry into leasehold management, not the one into its own shameful price-fixing cartel, which reports tomorrow.
Peverel, an important bankroller of ARMA which admits running a bogus tendering operation that scammed thousands of residents in leasehold retirement, states:
“With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Peverel Group looks forward to contributing to the OFT’s study to ensure that the market is working well for leaseholders.”
Not since Mr Murdstone sent David Copperfield into the blacking factory to complete his education has there been a more stomach-turning display of hypocrisy.
I think that with 30 years of experience in the industry, the Peverel Group should have been looking forward to helping the thousands of leaseholders to enjoy their retirement instead of RIPPING THEM OFF.
They could help the OFT in contributing to the study to ensure the leasehold market is working well by explaining why they decided back in 1990 to extort monies from the leaseholders (we have had £7,222.00 refunded this year) and when they were part McCarthy and Stone (Peverel bought the Managing Agency from McCarthy & Stone under a MBO for £30m) and split the company up, as it was considered as a CONFLICT of INTEREST to be the Landlord and Managing Agents???
The McCarthy & Stone company had challenged a news report that they had overcharged Service Charges and took the newspaper to the High Court, where they lost, costing some £500,000.00 and at the same time were fined £2,000.00 for providing incorrect advertising.
Has anything changed?
We know that Peverel Group handed themselves in to the OFT, after another newspaper wrote about the Price Fixing/Bid Rigging in early 2009, where their sister company Cirrus was Rigging Bids, to win contracts from their sister company, Peverel Group (keeping it in the family)
Peverel Group have established their own Code of Business Conduct and this is supposed to support the promise that they make in their Customer Charter, which has shown that it is easy to produce the Charter but if the Senior Managers refuse to keep Janet’s promises, we have the same old, same old???
Insurance commissions scams
Refusing to refund misappropriated spending’s
Refused to repay any interest on misappropriated monies
Paying invoices for other developments
Undertaking unnecessary surveys/risk assessments
Doublings costs for invoices
These are just some of the scams they have undertaken, and noted by us, to them since 2006/07 and still unresolved as they have refused to provide the full paperwork of the Insurance Cover and the Warden Control System that has been removed from the Expenses Files??
Regarding the professional bodies that were mentioned above they are set up by the people who are involved and are self supported by themselves?
The Bankers and other bodies police themselves that is why they are in such a complete state of poor relations with the very people they purport to represent?
Even the LVTs and now the FTTs have been exposed and may not have been fit for purpose?
Any chance of showing the back page of Pravda? I want to know the Dynamo Kiev v Sparta Moscow result!
Funniest article on this site yet.
Heard the post-USSR joke about the man who asks for Pravda with his cup of coffee every time he goes to his local coffee shop? The waiter tells him every time that it doesn’t exist any more. Finally the waiter gets tired of this and asks him why he keeps asking for it. His customer replies “Because I like hearing the answer so much.”
I’m looking forward to hearing some answers on what’s been going on in leasehold and when various people knew what. Phone hacking affected a few celebrities and high profile people. The abuses in leasehold have affected millions, including a great many of the country’s elderly and vulnerable.
What a great achievement by LKP and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation to have succeeded in gaining cross party support for some scrutiny.
Let’s hope that employees of some of those who will face scrutiny in future help ensure that there is no destruction of data.
Very good storey and it made me chuckle.
By the way I have at great expense sent a letter to the Russian President Mr Putin and he assures me that Dynamo Kiev v Sparta Moscow has been abandoned at half time when a European MEP placed a sign by the centre line that stated keep of the Grass.
I have sent an email to thank Sir Peter Bottomley for his persistence in Leasehold Reform and again thank you for your excellent comments.
I can see a soap series starting after all this has been exposed…
What shall we call it: Pev & Mitchs’ Never Ending Story…… Part 1
Seb you forgot to mention LEASE have also set out how they steered the whole OFT project forward
“Earlier this year LEASE met with OFT officials to help them get a better idea of the issues which could be investigated.”
If we wait long enough they will perhaps be explaining their key role on the OFT exit fee and door access enquiry.
Martin I have seen that LEASE were at the assassination of JFK and had tried to stop it from happening. This was 52 years after they claim to have seen the iceberg that bumped into the Titanic.
I had an email from a friend that I thought was a mistake as it said USE LEASE which I RE-READ AS and found out it actually stated USELESS.