UPDATE 10 November 2021: IRPM (Institute of Residential Property Managers) is also to rule on the Richard Davidoff case, LKP has been informed by IRPM.
UPDATE 8 November 2021: Siobhan McGrath, chamber president of the property tribunal, is to respond to this matter in due course. It would appear that Mr Davidoff still has at least two appointments as an officer of her court managing blocks of flats.
Richard Davidoff has failed to stop leaseholders from getting right to manage at a block of flats in Battersea, south London, that has a residents’ management company but of which Mr Davidoff is the sole director.
The property tribunal made the decision on 26 October 2021, which predates last week’s decision by the trade body ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) to expel Richard Davidoff’s ABC Block Management Limited from its membership.
ARMA’s decision followed a property tribunal ruling in August that Richard Davidoff had ‘breached his fiduciary duties’ as a court appointed manager at another site in south London:
LKP has repeatedly asked Siobhan McGrath, the chamber president of the property tribunal, whether Mr Davidoff has other section 24 appointments as an officer of the property tribunal and whether he is still eligible for the role. Ms McGrath declines to respond.
In the latest case, leaseholders at a site in Falcon Road, Battersea, of 25 flats and two commercial units, took the unusual step of demanding right to manage even though there was a residents’ management company in existence.
The freeholder had no objection to the right to manage application, but it was resisted by Richard Davidoff, the RMC’s sole director.
UPDATE: 5 November 2021
Leaseholders have passed this decision by ARMA to LKP:
“ABC Estates expelled from ARMA The Board of Directors have now Under the Bye-Laws of the Association have hereby expelled ABC Block Management Limited as a member as of the 4th November 2021.
“In addition to this they must cease using ARMA’s logo and remove any reference to membership on any business notepaper, website or any other published or public material whatsoever and return their ARMA membership certificate.
“There is no right of appeal against the decision under our Articles of Association.“
Among the leaseholders is Nick Hargrave, a former Number 10 special advisor when David Cameron was prime minister.
He has written about his concerns over leasehold on LinkedIn, stating:
“One of my regrets from my time in Downing Street is that I didn’t do more to agitate on the subject of leasehold.”
Falcon Road was converted into flats in March 2018 and set up with a tripartite lease, embedding a residents’ management company into the leases.
The freeholder/developer’s intention was that the lessees would take over the management of the building once all the flats had been sold, and the issue has been in dispute since 2019.
It is unusual for a right to manage application to be made at a site where a residents’ management company exists and which ought to be representing the leaseholders’ interests.
Curiously, ABC Estates – which includes the ABC Block Management – is advertised on the London LBC radio and with a special puff from presenter Nick Ferrari on YouTube, bringing his “euphonious tones to ABC Estates”:
I am informed that the application for Right to Manage was only made necessary because Richard Davidoff (aka Raziel Davidoff) would not give up control of the Residents’ Management Company (RMC). Richard Davidoff had also taken steps to prevent the leaseholders from taking over the RMC – even though this was what was intended in the RMC’s Articles of Association.
As sole Director of the RMC, Richard Davidoff appointed ABC Block Management Limited as both the managing agent for the building and Company Secretary for the RMC. Richard Davidoff is the sole Director and sole shareholder of ABC Block Management Limited. Needless to say, the leaseholders were unsettled by an arrangement which effectively saw Richard Davidoff paying himself whatever he liked. The leaseholders also took exception to the high service charge costs and poor standard of work.
After years of having their wishes to take over control of their own Residents’ Management Company being ignored by Richard Davidoff, the leaseholders were left with no alternative but to apply for Right to Manage. Bizarre, but true.
Landmark Chambers is in the High Court 10-11 November to allow developments with many blocks to remove Firstport and go Right To Manage (RTM).
FirstPort Property Services Ltd (Appellant) v Settlers Court RTM Company and others (Respondents)
Case ID: 2020/0066
Where a company incorporated by leaseholders in a block of flats acquires the right to manage the block under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 (“the Act”), and the leaseholders also enjoy rights over the estate in which the block is situated, does the company only acquire the right to manage the block itself, or does it also acquire the right to manage the rest of the estate?
The Appellant (“FirstPort”) is a company that manages an estate in East London containing ten blocks of flats. The Second to Fourteenth Respondents are leaseholders of flats in one of the blocks, “Settlers Court”, with rights to access the estate’s communal areas. FirstPort provides services on the estate, including maintenance of the communal areas, for which it is entitled to levy an estate service charge. Through the “right-to-manage” regime in the Act, the First Respondent, a company established by the Settlers Court leaseholders (“the RTM Company”), acquired the right to manage the block and took on responsibility for providing services in relation to the block itself. A dispute then arose as to whether the leaseholders continued to be obliged to pay the estate service charge to FirstPort. On an application by the RTM Company, the First-Tier Tribunal determined that it was bound to hold that the company had acquired the right to manage the estate and that the leaseholders had no obligation to pay the estate service charge. The Upper Tribunal dismissed FirstPort’s subsequent appeal but issued a “leapfrog” certificate enabling it to apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Chamberlayne Court has Freehold Houses and Leasehold Flats and THEY CAN MANAGE this development which has been ripped off since 2000 by overcharging and failing to properly maintain.
They have a monopoly because they are both the Landlord and Managing Agent and connected companies with common aims and directors, so why allow anyone to prevent Firstport CHEATING both Freeholders and Leaseholders?
I can’t recall another case where leaseholders have had to resort to making a Right to Manage application just to get control of their own Residents’ Management Company. One for the history books, I think.
I hope that the Tribunal has the good sense to award the leaseholders costs against Richard Davidoff for wasting everyone’s time and resources – not least because it was the leaseholders’ Residents’ Management Company in the first place!
Furthermore, it appears that the Tribunal originally decided the case on the papers on 30-09-2021 in the leaseholders’ favour. After this though, Richard Davidoff made a procedural complaint to the Tribunal because the decision had been made without an oral hearing. An oral hearing would not have changed the outcome in any event as the decision on 30-09-2021 had already considered all the ‘boiler-plate’ objections and decided them in the leaseholders’ favour!
The ego of Richard Davidoff truly knows no bounds …
The Tribunal did indeed have the good sense to award the leaseholders costs against the Respondent. The Tribunal awarded the leaseholders every penny that they applied for. Reading the costs decision report, it is not hard to see why. The Tribunal was extremely critical of the Respondent/Richard Davidoff.
Below are the most notable excerpts from the report:
[…] It is also clear that the Respondent, through its sole director Mr Davidoff, used inappropriate tactics to try to prevent the leaseholders acquiring the right to manage and to pressurise them to drop their service charge application […]. Para 17
[…] The unreasonable conduct was quite extreme and was clearly designed to frustrate the Applicant’s legitimate use of the FTT’s process in order to confirm that it had acquired the right to manage the Property. This was not a case of the Respondent/Mr Davidoff raising sensible objections in good faith to the right to manage claim. The unreasonable conduct caused the Applicant to incur significant extra cost, caused long delays to the right to manage being confirmed and clearly also caused much aggravation to the leaseholders involved in the Applicant company. Therefore, it is clear to me that a cost order should be made. […] Para 18
[…] The conduct of the Respondent/Mr Davidoff has been particularly poor, it has caused significant unnecessary delay and anguish […] Para 20
A link to 7 page FTT costs decision report dated 23-11-2021 is here:
Richard Davidoff is still Tribunal appointed manager of at least 2x buildings:
LON/00AM/LAM/2019/0007 – DECIDED ON 01-11-2019
Address = 11 King Edward’s Road, London E9 7SF
Period of management order = 01-01-2020 to 31-12-2022
LON/00AW/LAM/2020/0019 – DECIDED ON 26-02-2021
Address = 178 Holland Road, London, W14 8AH
Period of management order = 26-02-2021 to 26-02-2024
There could be more Tribunal appointments that have not been uploaded to the Tribunal database, for some reason or other.
In addition to this, Richard Davidoff claims to manage a total of 150 buildings under his company ABC Block Management Limited. Leaving Richard Davidoff in post at all these other buildings is rather like leaving a fox in the henhouse. The Property Redress Scheme, First Tier Tribunal and Institute of Residential Property Managers would all do well to remember that.
ARMA deserves a big pat on the back for expelling ABC Block Management Limited. I look forward to reading ARMA’s disciplinary report on the matter.
Yes, we would really need to see this report, all disciplinary sanctions should be public! According to ARMA’s advice note to making a complaint, they are supposed to publish these on ARMA’s website for a period of two years from the date on which the sanction is imposed.
I too would like to see a copy of ARMA’s disciplinary report that resulted in the expulsion of ABC Block Management Limited. I have checked the ARMA website but could not find it. Can LKP admin post a copy of it here please?
I have read elsewhere that:
“ARMA’s expulsion of ABC Block Management Limited has got to be regarded as a real coup because of the number of sanctions that were available to ARMA (1 to 6, ranging in severity). ARMA could have:
1. Ordered ABC to undertake training
2. Ordered ABC to make an apology with specific actions
3. Issued ABC with a formal written warning
4. Imposed administration costs and a fine on ABC
5. Suspended ABC from membership for a set period
6. Expelled ABC from ARMA
The fact that ARMA decided to expel ABC Block Management Limited speaks volumes. I can’t remember the last time ARMA expelled a member”.
I couldn’t agree more. And when was the last time ARMA expelled a member?
In my view, given ARMA’s decision to expel ABC Block Management Limited, IRPM must expel Richard Davidoff.
“LKP has repeatedly asked Siobhan McGrath, the chamber president of the property tribunal, whether Mr Davidoff has other section 24 appointments as an officer of the property tribunal and whether he is still eligible for the role”.
Seems like a perfectly understandable question to ask of the FTT president. Surely the FTT hasn’t left the fox in the henhouse?
Richard Davidoff and his colleagues have been nothing but the antithesis of ‘looking after’ a freehold of a building whereby a respectable managing agent needs to step in and take care of the concerns of its respective leaseholders. The faith and trust in ABC was immediately lost when only money was demanded and no respective works done to rectify major issues needing attention to the exterior and common areas of the building. Greed together with zero transparency or explanation on charges continued on for years…….IRPM must get rid of Richard Davidoff. And this needs to happen now!
With some MPs running legal cases from their parliamentary office and MPs lobbying in dodgy second jobs it’s hardly surprising we get managing agents who think they can do things they shouldn’t.
Much like the MPs defend their actions as entirely innocent AB.C have said they are considering their legal position.
The case shows yet again why we need strong statutory regulation of agents not voluntary industry codes. While we do not always agree with ARMA they are to be commended for acting quickly on this case.
I still keep a copy of the lettter sent by the MD of the then Peverel to all ARMA agents apologising for their poor (historic) standards. That came after ARMA had fined them for not doing a very good job.at my site and a number of others.
Which part of Residents’ Management Company did Richard Davidoff not understand?
“Which part of Residents’ Management Company did Richard Davidoff not understand?”
All of it apparently. According to Companies House records, Richard Davidoff (aka Raziel Davidoff) is currently the sole Director of 1x Residents’ Association; 3x Residents’ Management Companies and 1x Right to Manage Company:
Company registration numbers:
13039349 (Richard Davidoff is listed as the person with significant control)
11844204 (Raziel Davidoff is listed as the person with significant control)
07081634 (ABC Block Management Limited is listed as the person with significant control)
07564829 (ABC Block Management Limited is listed as the person with significant control)
11007643 (This is the RMC involved in this article. Richard Davidoff resigned on 20-10-2021)