– Warwick Estates retaliates by resigning from RICS
– It is unacceptable that ARMA ignores this issue
– Case underlines need for statutory regulation
By Sebastian O’Kelly, LKP trustee
Property management company Warwick Estates was fined £20,000 last month in a disciplinary hearing of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – on top of the £120,000 (plus £45,000 costs) imposed by a criminal court in December 2016.
The fine resulted from the death of plasterer Craig Jones, 27, who fell five storeys down a lift shaft after attempting to “self-rescue” at Marsden House in Bolton in September 2014.
Man plunged five floors to his death after prising open lift doors
Craig Jones got stuck in lift with friend at block of flats in Bolton city centre Believed they prised open doors after lift got stuck between 4th and 5th floor Plasterer Mr Jones fell down lift shaft to his death while trying to climb out 27-year-old was taken to Salford Royal Hospital but he died from his injuries A man who tried to climb out of a broken down lift after prising open the doors ended up falling five floors to his death down the lift shaft.
RICS found that Warwick Estates had been informed of the lift “becoming stuck between floors and passengers forcing the doors open to escape”.
It added: “Despite receiving these reports, the Firm failed to investigate and seek to rectify the lift’s operation in order to ensure that should persons become trapped in a lift, there was a prompt and reliable system in place ensuring their rescue …
“It [the panel] accepted RICS’s submission that the Firm’s failings exposed a great number of people to risk over a sustained period.”
Craig Stevens, the CEO of Warwick Estates, told LKP last week that his company would be leaving RICS as a result of this decision. We understand that Mr Stevens feels that the criminal conviction and fine were sufficient punishment, and that it was inappropriate for RICS to rule on the matter.
Last year, Mr Stevens warned ARMA that Warwick Estates would leave the organisation if it investigated the matter.
As a result, a disciplinary case against the firm was abandoned, according to ARMA’s then regulator Sally Keeble, a former Labour minister, who resigned over the issue.
In a statement to LKP, she said:
“The reason for standing down before the end of my contract was because of a decision by ARMA to cancel a properly constituted regulatory panel meeting convened to consider a disciplinary case which involved a fatality.
“ARMA’s system of self-regulation of the residential management industry was an important step that should have provided greater protection for the public and for the many firms which aim to provide good services in a fiercely competitive commercial setting. It filled a vacuum left by the lack of statutory regulation of the sector, and was a brave initiative.
“However, any such system must have sufficient independence and robustness to withstand industry pressures and be able to deal with the most serious cases, including one that tragically involved a fatal accident.”
ARMA regulator Sally Keeble quit ‘after being blocked’ from ruling on Warwick Estates lift shaft fatality
Sally Keeble’s resignation leaves ARMA’s disciplinary system in disarray, and the position of regulator – initially held by ex-housing minister Keith Hill – is now discontinued.
Neither of these disasters received the slightest reference from ARMA chief executive Nigel Glen, when he spoke to the annual conference last October and gave a resume of the trade body’s achievements throughout the year.
A criminal court and RICS have ruled against Warwick Estates: yet ARMA continues to offer it up as an unblemished member of its trade body. There is no suspension, probationary period, insistence on improved standards or even request to express regret.
In the light of this, is there any reason why leaseholders or the wider public should pay any regard to whether a property manager is a member of ARMA or not?
RICS disciplinary hearings are by no means without criticism. It made a shambles of the hearing against Benjamin Mire, of Trust Property Management, who is deemed unfit to hold judicial office.
Curiously, Mr Mire was also aggrieved to be processed twice: having lost his judicial office he argued in a failed judicial review that it was against his human rights to be disciplined by RICS.
RICS also suffered the humiliation in October 2016 of having to apologise to 317 struck-off or disciplined chartered surveyors after a barrister revealed failings in its procedures.
Case against Benjamin Mire collapses, as RICS disciplinary process descends into shambles
But it was right for RICS to hear the case against Warwick Estates: four senior figures in the company were entitled to present themselves to the public as AssocRICS members, including Mr Stevens.
The hearing ruled that Warwick Estates had “conducted itself in a way liable to bring RICS into disrepute by committing the serious criminal offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974”.
In addition, the ruling added:
- There had been a serious risk of harm to the public
- The Firm’s failings contributed to the death of Mr. Jones
- The failings resulted in a criminal conviction
- The failures were over a prolonged period of time
- The absence of five Thorough Examination Reports from the lift experts were unnoticed by the Firm through their system failure
- The Firm had demonstrated only very limited insight into the impact of such failings on the reputation of the profession and the role of the RICS as its regulator.
Under such circumstances, it is simply unacceptable for ARMA to ignore all this and hold up Warwick Estates’s membership as somehow on the same level with those companies that do not have a criminal conviction.
ARMA needs to hold a regulatory hearing and indicate its disapprobation for sloppy management that contributes to death.
We do not call for further fines – that was the least courageous aspect of the RICS ruling – but it cannot be right to ignore this matter altogether.
Also, to put it at its most polite, it does not enhance the reputation of Warwick Estates to walk out of RICS when it receives a disciplinary ruling that it does not like.
Full RICS ruling is here: WarwickEstatesRulingRICS
I believe it is Warwick Estates intention to adopt an aggressive campaign of buying up smaller companies. In order they say to consolidate the industry.
Many of these smaller companies could already be members of ARMA.
So it is not surprising to see ARMA giving way to a threat of a Warwick Estates resignation. If carried out it could mean a loss of several existing members together with all the fiancé they now provide.
Correction to the above. For Fiancé read Finance.
ARMA is not yet a Dating Agency
It is correct that Warwick Estates is trying to grow markedly, and owing to the entrepreneur Sir Rod Aldridge owning 58% it has the means to do so.
It only has 37,000 flats under management, so is very much smaller than FirstPort (160,000), Countrywide (100,000), and Rendall and Rittner and Mainstay.
80% of its sites are leaseholder controlled, but we doubt whether 80% of its units are. ie Fewer but much bigger sites are freeholder appointments.
Warwick Estates is offered to retirement leaseholders when they begin to rebel by the Tchenguiz interests (along with Rendall and Rittner and Freemont).
That is perhaps more illustrative of the company than this Health and Safety conviction.
Freemont let us not forget are run by the former Peverel(Firstport) directors at arguably their most contentious period of operations.
A very good point. Doubtless had appropriate action been taken against Firstport, ARMA’s income would have been further diminished?
How odd that after many years ARMA deemed it acceptable to admit Firstport Property Retirement Services to ARMA-Q accreditation within weeks of Firstport Property Retirement Services being handed a record fine for their admitted breaches of Health & Safety Legislation which resulted in a fatality at Gibson Court Esher?
It should be noted that ARMA are shortly holding an “Awards Dinner” as a means of raising income.
How could ARMA possibly discipline any member if that member is a sponsor or award winner at the event?.
Imagine the scenario?
“In the category clearest development service charge demands the winner is Firstport Property Services. Unfortunately they cannot be here tonight as they are facing disciplinary action having sent out service charge demands in the name of the wrong freeholder/landlord and given a wrong company number on their demand”
ARMA are a completely compromised entity. For all the good they do, Be Gone!
A bit slow off the mark, if I may say so, in bringing this matter with its unprecedented breach of health & safety regulations to the attention of your supporters (and well beyond) through the power of LKP’s otherwise first-class reportage.
But I think we all understand your dilemma in finding that a trusted LKP affiliate, Urban Owners, had been hijacked by a firm of rogue managing agents called Warwick Estates Property Management bent on distorting the market (and our right to choice) through a programme of aggressive acquisition to be funded – not out of hard-earned profits, oh no, nor, indeed, from any recognised sources of traditional funding.
It seems some LKP followers are just beginning to catch up with the reality of how trade associations like ARMA work. The upside is that their rogue members are housed under one roof, in plain sight, as it were. If it weren’t for ARMA, Warwick Estates, Rendall & Rittner, Peverel and the rest may never have come to our collective attention. And ARMA now works closely with the established professional (as opposed to trade) bodies RICS, ACCA/ICAEW, Law Society – to exercise some discipline over wayward members.
My bets are on RICS being given statutory powers that will upgrade its existing professional role as author of the Residential Service Management Code – a code that provides managing agents with a voluntary route to regulatory compliance. As a trade body, all ARMA could ever hope to achieve is that of adviser.
How did your meeting go last week with UO’s new MD, Dr Craig Stevens PhD (mathematics, we hear, followed by a high-risk market trading role)? Did he turn up? I really do hope that he didn’t come to some deal whereby a bit of bad LKP publicity now was traded for UO ongoing accreditation? Sorry, sorry, but Stevens used to appear at our AGMs, in the early days when he was trying to impress …
Now that Urban Owners is entirely in Warwick’s grip, what are LKP’s criteria for allowing the continuing accreditation of UO whose bywords are ‘choice, transparency, control’ – control for leaseholders, that is, not managing agents? Wouldn’t it be fairer to withdraw accreditation and tell them to apply, like everyone else, under their new banner?
We should now turn our attention to Warwick’s finances. Not pretty. Current and long term debt approaching a cool £2.6m – and Craig’s looking to replace his pale blue Ferrari with a later model. Total assets less liabilities (net worth) just £36k. Cash at bank is £238k, insufficient to meet the costs of a payroll of 115 people servicing 850 sites across the UK (according to one online source), rents, rates, utilities etc. Of particular interest to the boards of Resident/Flat/RTM companies is surely the liquidity of a company that holds some £886k under the heading ‘Accruals & Deferred Income’. Sources tell me this is residential service charge monies collected by Warwick in advance for services yet to be fulfilled. If the proverbial balloon goes up, these funds will be threatened.
What are the chances of creditors pulling the plug within the next 12 months? One lawyer employed on insurance-related claims reckons it’s 45% – this being ‘pretty high’ on the respected Dun & Bradstreet company data/analysis scoresheet. My surveying source comments: “This would put off all the mainstream investors, hence having to drag in Venture Capital (????) and a ‘Tier 3’ Bank set up with foreign capital specialising in higher risk loans. D&B has as Delinquency Score for bad payers. An F4 company with a 45% risk of failure would not be given a second glance.”
Looks like LKP will have plenty more to write about.
In no particular order:
The sale of Urban Owners is a serious matter for LKP, as we repeatedly advise leaseholders to use its right to manage expertise. This is under review.
Urban Owners is accredited until August 10. The brand and company and staff (who are high calibre) remain. There is no reasons for it not to remain accredited.
We do not accept that Warwick Estates is a “rogue” organisation, whatever that means. We are contacted by leaseholders and other property managers with concerns about the company.
We do not pay much attention to star-grade reviews on consumer sites, unless there is a reasoned text explaining the issue.
The Warwick Estates fine is not unprecedented. FirstPort was fined £360,000 over the Gibson Court fire:
Like some other leaseholders, you seem to get some sort of grudge going about the management company: first Rendall & Rittner and now Warwick Estates. (Isn’t the problem, in your case, the leaseholder directors who appoint them? Doubtless they have a different view of Warwick Estates.)
Your analysis of Warwick Estate’s finances excludes reference to Sir Rod Aldridge’s deep pockets: he owns 58%; Craig Stevens 38%.
On the health and safety conviction, Warwick Estates was negligent and unlucky: many other management companies could be in the same position.
And LKP gets plenty of correspondence from aggrieved leaseholders not wanting to pay for lift refurbishment. Unlike them, the management company has legal liability.
We are more concerned that Warwick Estates is offered by the Tchenguiz interests as an alternative to FirstPort along with Rendall & Rittner and the unappetising Freemont when retirement sites get restless.
Unlike you, we don’t think property managers have the real power in leasehold: far more important are the freeholders and plc housebuilders.
We do not share your confidence in the RICS disciplinary regime: here, it basically rubber-stamped the conviction of a criminal court. That was not very challenging.
The Benjamin Mire case was a fiasco, that mortified many leaseholders managed by that firm.
The readers of LKP are hardly “followers”: half the sector reads this site and hates it, and our supposed friends don’t hold back either.
We found Craig Stevens pleasant, polite and frank about the issues we discussed.
He has made a mistake quitting RICS because he did not like its ruling.
And he should have been told where to go when he threatened to leave ARMA if it held a regulatory panel over the death.
Craig’s got you eating out of his hands. Good for him.
As to your other various points in defence of LKP’s stance over leasehold v commonhold, time will tell.
BTW it’s not what you, personally, think but the facts and the reality that count.
Property managers, as designated in the RICS Code approved by the Secretary of State, do carry the burden of responsibility for regulatory compliance.
The Code covers all property managers and, thus, all managing agents, not just RICS members.
So, what you think is sublimely incorrect and misleading to your followers.
Update: Warwick can’ t resign from RICS whilst there are ongoing investigations into that firm. Source: RICS.
And, before you criticise RICS for rubber-stamping. the conviction of a criminal court. That was not very challenging’ …
And before you committed pen to paper as in ‘RICS fines Warwick Estates …’ you’d have been more credible if you’d first read the RICS’ very specific terms of reference for such disciplinary hearings.
They do not include repeating the investigations carried out by an English criminal court.
You should have been at the hearing.
Sue it seemed important to us to speak to Warwick before reporting the RICS decision as it allows to say much more.
As we have correctly recorded, Warwick have said they will be leaving RICS and the RICS logo seems to have gone from their site. We also reported that they warned ARMA they would leave if they were investigated..
The RICS decision makes very clear “RICS relied upon the sentencing remarks of the Judge”, so it is perfectly fair to say they are rubber-stamping the decision of the courts. (Something it has on occasions failed to do in the past)
I think I take a different attitude to you on the robustness of the RICS code. It has been made clear to us by RICS that failure of a RICS member to apply the RICS RMC does not automatically amount to a breach of their bye-laws.
As the work on the statutory regulation of managing agents moves forward we will hopefully move to a more robust enforcement regime than RICS and ARMA have applied so far.
You make my points very well, in a funny sort of way:
LKP: ‘RICS relied on the sentencing remarks of the Judge …’
All subsidiary jurisdictions will take into account what has been decided by a higher authority, but not necessarily feel bound by it. Property tribunals frequently make that point.
LKP: ‘… so it is perfectly fair to say they are rubber-stamping the decision of the courts.’
I think this is truly sloppy journalism to conflate court proceedings with the later proceedings of a disciplinary hearing GIVEN that the terms of reference used by RICS at the hearing were NOT the same as those used in court.
Look at it the other way round. Would you expect a disciplinary hearing, regardless of its terms of reference, to ignore the ruling of a court – especially a criminal court?
No, you wouldn’t, not least because you thereby avoid duplication of the work carried out by a higher regulatory authority where, the terms of reference notwithstanding, it is possible to duplicate that work.
But more important, what decision you reach within the terms of reference must not be in conflict with the decision of a higher authority appearing, perhaps, to override that decision.
Always, in the English legal tradition, the lower ‘court’ as it were will respect and thus acknowledge in its proceedings, as a matter of principle, the decision of a higher court.
For LKP to talk about a ‘rubber stamp’ shows ignorance or disregard for established traditions and practices.
LKP: ‘Robustness of RICS Code’
We agree that the RICS Code – which has approval from the Secretary of Stage and applies to ALL property managers in England and Wales – lacks robustness. [If, like Sebastian, you think I’m wrong, then please read it.]
In. terms of straight logic, RICS’ position that a breach of the Code doesn’t necessarily constitute a breach of its bylaws is undeniably correct.
However, I am surprised that the RICS Panel did not refer to the Code during the Warwick hearing. The two heading of the investigation related to (1) disrepute and (2) health and safety – section 8 of the RICS Code dealing with health and safety matters as they apply to property managers. I wrote to the RICS Conduct afterwards to note my surprise.
But LKP’s interpretation of the Code visa vis the bylaws doesn’t give LKP the right to undermine the work of RICS or any other chartered body by expressing privately held views which, in the case of LKP, I find to be biassed – mainly through ignorance of the facts.
LKP’s bias against landlords and in support of managing agents reflects LKP’s business interest albeit now registered as a charity. Those interests depend on collecting revenue from ‘accredited’ managing agents to keep the LKP ship afloat. One such firm is Urban Owners, under the new management of Warwick Estates.
Whilst we agree that the RICS Code lacks robustness, I think the way to overcome the lack of robustness is to give RICS statutory power to regulate all individuals employed as Property Managers, whether as managing agents or otherwise. Currently the RICS Code is voluntary.
In the eyes of some LKP followers, we can see the concerns people have over what could amount to a conflict of interest between LKP’s charitable status as provider of advice to leaseholders; and its dependence on property managers/managing agents for its income.
We find that LKP speaks warmly of the the CHARM and grace shown by Warwick MD Craig Stevens at a recent first meeting. In the same breath, without any sense of the irony, we hear Mr Stevens admitted to THREATENING ARMA, the trade body of which he is a member; also telling LKP he resigned from RICS because he DIDN’T LIKE the decision of their disciplinary panel.
I think I can be forgiven for finding LKP’s coverage of what was a very serious breach of health and safety regulations (portrayed by Warwick and reported by LKP as ‘bad luck’) to be unhelpful to its followers including Members of Parliament and other interested organisations; and contradictory to the aims that give it charitable status.
Sue, you are wrong to say LKP followers are just waking up to the way ARMA work. Have a look at past years comments which were on the old Carlex site.
I have been in correspondence with ARMA since 2010, trying to get them more active in the protection of Leaseholders.
I even applied (unsuccessfully) for the Regulator job when it went to Sally Keeble. I was hoping to be able to give them a good shake up.
I think Sally tried that on a smaller scale and she did not last long.
Doubt I would have lasted a week , but I am still trying.
Postscript to your sidebar ‘Grenfell cladding crisis …: what are freeholders actually for’?
Freeholders – ‘landlords’ to the rest of us – are a complex species. We need to understand who they are, in order to understand what they are for.
In short, today’s freeholder or landlord is a Fund Manager, operating in the City like as not with offshore credentials such as Panama. They collect money in ground rents etc etc. They manage funds on behalf of family, pension and other Trusts. They gamble.
Before we get hysterical, remember that anybody with a Stocks & Shares ISA is probably an unwitting investor in these trust funds. That is why government is reluctant to control the City. Apart from more personal reasons, like some parliamentarians have long-standing City ties, the bigger picture is that ordinary folk depend on these ISAs and other investment vehicles for our pensions; so do the pension funds themselves; so do local authorities – the list goes on.
Leasehold landlordism are the City trust funds personified.
You telling me they, in their City offices, are responsible for the Grenfell cladding failures? Legally, perhaps. More likely, day to day responsibility has passed to a management company with a Property Manager who, under the currently voluntary RICS Code, is the person who is liable for this disaster. Likely, that responsibility is shared with other parties including contractors and local. government officers.
That’s the investor landlords dealt with. They include the ancestral landlords like the Westminster Estate and the Duchy of Cornwall. No doubt, they, too, operate trust funds.
Now we come to the multiplicity of low-level landlords – the ones you never hear of but, IMO, the ones that do most harm. These people are property speculators often from overseas, giving them a certain detachment from the way we try to protect leaseholders in England and Wales.
Whereas you and I might own one – maybe two – flats, they own five, six, 10 and their portfolios grow with time. The are non resident leaseholders who dominate the boards of the RMC/Flat/RTM boards. They aren’t always from overseas. Over in Cardiff leaseholders are complaining about one councillor being a leaseholder of several flats who is proving controversial.
What they have in common is a certain lack of interest in the long-term prosperity of a development. They are interested in capital growth funded by rental income. These are people who maximise profit by converting property into multiple occupancy HMOs. In some areas, like Tower Hamlets in East London, the local authority is reluctant to license these petty landlords because their activities attract anti-social behaviour.
As I say, they dominate the boards of management companies, appointing the managing agent (property manager) then allow him/her to get on with it. In truth, they have no option but to hand over the reins,as they know so little about it.
That is where the abuse, the fraud, the mistrust comes in.
Institutional landlords are very rarely involved in the management of blocks of flats. It’s not how the delegated system works in practice.
The petty investor landlords who dominate the boards are directly liable and responsible for how blocks of flats are managed. But in practice they aren’t involved.
Thus it falls to the property manager – the person who is named in the RICS Code as having specific responsibility for things like the Grenfell cladding.
It’s why I back far stricter controls for managing agents – through RICS.
Sue, did you pull your investment in Cumberbatch Slavers Inc. in time, or did the act of abolishment catch you out?
Fact. Institutional landlords who are City fund managers very rarely get involved in the management of blocks of flats. Managing agents are involved in the daily management of blocks of flats.
Fact. It’s a waste of time and energy to point a finger at the wrong party.
Fact. All property managers are liable for upholding the RICS’ Code, include health & safety matters like Grenfell. The Code is voluntary. at present.
Opinion. Your gratuitous comments and weird analogies say more about your own prejudices than your support for leaseholders.
Gratuitous comments/weird analogies? What prejudices (I am always open to the insight of others)?
I have read this paragraph again to make sure I understand you.
Correct me if I am wrong, are you saying that investments relating to leasehold are more important than those who suffer the consequences of our leasehold laws? If so, I think my “weird analogy” is spot on, and my gratuitous comment wasn’t gratuitous at all.
Once again I say I am somewhat embarrassed getting involved in this issue, I do so because I feel strongly that leasehold should be abolished.
You say it will solve nothing, what you mean is it will not solve your particular problems with managing agents/dominant directors in building blocks.
Might I suggest you concentrate on that worthy issue and look at the bigger picture regarding leasehold, rather than your stocks and shares ISA, and pension.
I would not agree with a number of the points you make but that does not matter. What is important is that stricter regulation of managing agents is on the way as we first reported last year.
There will be a consultation on the issue later in the year and proposal put forward by the law commissions. How that regulation works and who gets to oversee it has yet to be decided.
We are far more cautious than you about the role of RICS given the number of failed investigations. If you google “rics disciplinary hearings” your more than likely to get to the barrister who specialises in winning cases for his clients
Excellent comments Sue Stuckey, the elephant in the room has been addressed. Well done. You. I agree with you.The regulation of Agents is the central issue and paramount. I am using a “ nom de guerre” so as not to start a febrile flurry .Although I might be “ outed” at any moment ….. If so, fasten your seat belts it might be a bumpy ride.
P.S Maybe it was the ( classy ) light blue Ferrari that was alluring- surely Ferrari’s should be red in colour ( I am so tempted to say that mine Is and see the typed feverish howls of indignation)
I ‘like’ it.
Hon Huggy Badger X
It is incorrect to think residential freeholds = ground rents = City institutions = pensions funds.
For the past 20 years private equity, much overseas, has poured into British commercial and residential property and hitched a ride on the boom in asset values.
Vincent Tchenguiz is a rather brilliant man: he certainly managed his assets proactively, and owned Peverel, the largest property manager in the country, to do so.
The £1.7 billion Long Harbour fund, run by Tchenguiz-trained Will Astor, is awash with private equity, although it claims most of its freeholders are pension funds. If so, why are so many freeholds owned offshore (and why have billionaires been on the board, such as Frank Sixt)?
I am not sure E&J Capital Partners even claims its fund holders are pension funds.
One of the largest income streams from these assets is the insurance commissions: these are to be addressed by the All Party Parliamentary Group on April 26.
From todays Guardian – “You might expect this so-called “slave compensation” to have gone to the freed slaves to redress the injustices they suffered. Instead, the money went exclusively to the owners of slaves, who were being compensated for the loss of what had, until then, been considered their property. Not a single shilling of reparation, nor a single word of apology, has ever been granted by the British state to the people it enslaved, or their descendants”.
In the 19th century, and in the centuries before, there were investors in slave trading companies. They were not pension funds and people with stocks and shares ISA’s who now (it is claimed) invest in freehold companies. But both sets of investors are tarred with the very same brush, profiting from the misfortunes of others – much as the gambling industry and it’s investors, profit from sad people at the lower levels of society who spend their last pennies, and more, to feed their addiction to gambling. To defend the status quo of our leasehold laws on the basis that the monies acquired by freeholding companies help fund ISA’s and help to pay our pensions is not just morally deficient, it is cold and calculating, and inhuman. Having said that, I am not remotely surprised by this position, there are many among us who would be slavers today given the chance. And there are many among us who would invest in those who would be slavers, given the chance.
Our leasehold laws must be abolished, all arguments against this proposition are from those with an unconscionable in interest in the status quo.
The arguments against abolition of slavery, the introduction of the Plimsoll Line and the ending leasehold follow a familiar path.
That the vested interests are too powerful; that we are all complicit in it; we all benefit indirectly; that it’s an attack on private property …
In fact, “be careful what you wish for” and “beware unintended consequences” are the favoured cliches of the serious interests in leasehold opposing these reforms.
The serious interests are, as you correctly point out, the freehold owners and housebuilders, who are far more powerful than the property management firms that they employ.
Unfortunately for our detractors, the reforms already exist albeit in flawed form on the statute book.
The argument for commonhold has been made and won: it exists, but it is only voluntary at present.
An extraordinary concession under English law was made with collective enfranchisement in 1993: a group of private citizens can compulsorily purchase the property of someone else.
If this is accepted to address unfairness in leasehold, it means we are not pushing at a locked door when we say: stop creating more of this flawed form of tenure.
What’s more the government is actually committed to setting ground rents as low as zero and ending leasehold houses. The first measure goes right to the heart of leasehold.
We should recall that 100,000 leaseholders’ lives are on hold as a result of the doubling ground rent scandal: their properties cannot be sold as mortgage lenders won’t now touch them.
The secondary issue of the regulation of managing agents is with the Law Commission.
We are surprised to see elsewhere here the assertion that we are dishonest and commercially partial in our efforts to reform leasehold.
It is also worth mentioning that the Charity Commission examined the accreditation scheme which accounts for some income for LKP before we were registered.
‘An extraordinary concession was made with collective enfranchisement in 1993: a group of private citizens can purchase the property of someone else.’
LRHUDA 1993: I know, I was there, I did it. I organised the group that bought the freehold of a block of 140 flats – 6 o’clock every morning, every evening, on the forecourt catching people as they came and went. The posters, the private visits, the explanations, the full service. Until I got the numbers.
We bought our freehold at auction for the statutory reserved price – from the then Landlord, a house builder. The remaining freeholds were sold to a City investment vehicle dealing in ground rents – also “the Landlord” so typical on any large modern estate.
Then there are the ancestral Landlords with their blocks of mansion flats; and their rural villages.
Then we have the portfolio Landlords, many from abroad, who buy up flats. You’ll most likely find them on the management boards where they can appoint the managing agent and control their investments.
So many different flavours of Landlord, yet one easy target for the disgruntled commentator.
The control lies with the managing agents and portfolio Landlords (leaseholders) who appoint them. That’s my experience and the experience of leaseholders I’m in touch with in England and Wales.
Only one generic flavour of managing agent. Much easier to regulate, if anyone has the temerity to try.
Sorry I can’t comment on Plimsoll lines etc as I wasn’t there. I’ve read that working class kids were sent to their deaths down mines; and that upper class kids kitted in blue were sent to sea to be shot in enemy crossfire.
Do I get it that this discussion about leasehold v commonhold is being fuelled by a more profound debate over class warfare?
Sue, not class warfare. Your conservatism (not capitalised) is showing once more.
Sue, your response is refreshing.. you have my ultimate support.. Commonhold is a dream of the dreamers. Never happen.
I’ve just been asked for my email address. What is LKP GDPR policy?
You say”Commonhold is a dream of the dreamers.. Never happen”
It has happened. It just has not been implemented.
If we take a look at the entire planet, are you saying that only England and Wales have the right system?
No one is saying “Commonhold” is a perfect system. but what it does is give “owners” proper ownership. It stops off shore freehold speculators buying up freeholds on borrowed money who then find ever more ingenious ways of extracting money from leaseholders to fund their borrowing costs.
Not one of the “protections” claimed to be offered by leasehold could not be catered for by Commonhold..
The RICS/ARMA/ARHM/Leasehold Advisory Service have proved themselves uniquely ineffective and compromised in their efforts at regulation always to the detriment of the leaseholder.
I, myself have disagreed with LKP on certain issues.I have not been backward in voicing my concerns (isn’t that right Mr Editor?).
Some of the recent posts appear to go beyond critical disagreement and seek to undermine LKP.
Often the ferocity of an attack serves to hide an agenda behind it(especially when a new poster appears)
Perhaps the level of criticism of LKP serves to show just how much of an effect LKP has had and the real fear for property spivs that their cosy empire is about to crumble?
I agree with Michael Epstein, I also have had disagreement with LKP, and have never hidden my real name when doing so.
Voice your disagreement by all means, but please do not conduct a campaign against. them.
Their time is precious and needs to be spent assisting those who ask for help. And much help they do give, one only needs to look at the National Leasehold Campaign Facebook site to see that.