Sebastian O’Kelly, Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation chairman and director of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, last night won a press award for his coverage of leasehold for the second year running.
O’Kelly won the “Scoop of the Year” category for his report into the scandalous forfeiture of the £800,000 flat belonging to Dennis Jackson, at Plantation Wharf in Battersea.
Thanks to the efforts of O’Kelly, Martin Boyd, LKP co-director, and Sir Peter Bottomley, the forfeiture was overturned. The dispute, which began over £9,000 in unpaid service charges, has cost Jackson more than £100,000.
The report can be read here
In winning the award, O’Kelly defeated competition from the Sunday Times, Inside Housing and Estates Gazette.
The award was presented at a ceremony in central London hosted by Julia Somerville, the TV news presenter. She said:
“Please acknowledge the work of Sebastian O’Kelly, from The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership and of course the former property editor of the Mail on Sunday for over 12 years, this year’s Gold Award winner for his scoop on Plantation Wharf.
“The case of leasehold pensioner Dennis Jackson, who would have lost his £800,000 flat in Battersea had not Sebastian himself taken up the case, persuading politicians and the CEO of Prudential to intervene. For his trouble, he was thrown out of Wandsworth County Court by the judge hearing the case. Gutsy stuff!”
Coincidentally, the award category was sponsored by the Property Ombudsman, which will shortly be one of the ombudsman services to which all leasehold managing agents will have to belong.
“Saving Dennis Jackson from total ruin was an LKP team effort and thanks must go to Peter Bottomley, who did not hesitate to wade in to do the necessary even though Jackson was not a constituent.
“The case demonstrates the injustices of the leasehold system in stark clarity.
“It is extraordinary, and a major issue, that the decision on lifting Jackson’s forfeiture – his entire life assets – was held in a closed court from which the public (myself and Martin Boyd) were ejected.
“Yet the deputy district judge did this without a second’s hesitation. In what other area of law would such a decision with such consequences have been possible, except leasehold?
“The rest was equally unedifying: the pleased-with-themselves lawyers who racked up outrageous fees; the remorseful freeholders insisting on meeting LKP to say that they did not know how to stop what they had started and did not want to take away a pensioner’s £800,000 home; the residents of Plantation Wharf, who at a certain point could have stopped this litigation but sat on their hands.
“Jackson’s fellow leasehold litigant Rosemary Irving, and former chair of the residents’ association at Plantation Wharf, died a week before the final LVT case was heard.
“The awfulness of this case needs to be read in entirety, and the OFT should note the wrongs that can happen in leasehold.
“Jackson is now completing the sale of his flat and, although £100,000 poorer, he can carry on with the rest of his life.
“He doesn’t need to give Plantation Wharf a second’s thought, and it certainly doesn’t deserve it.”
Sebastian, excellent news and well done in winning the Press Award, for the second year running.
Also thanks to Sir Peter Bottomley and all the other friends of LKP and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation.
Unlike other MPs who refuse to become involved in Leasehold.
It is a pity you did not run with the story of a property manager caught stealing Ice Cream.
Now that would have been a SCOOP!
That comment is ‘waifer thin’ Michael… haha..
OK.. so there is no I in wafer… 🙂
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. — Edmond Burke
Thank heavens there were some good men willing to do something. Well done Sebastian, Martin and Sir Peter.
It remains a disgrace that Mr Jackson has had to sell his home to discharge debts that vastly exceed what he should reasonably have been liable for.
Congratulations Sebastian on your award and also Martin & Sir Peter Bottomley and this is only the beginning….
Well done Seb – thoroughly deserved. Loads of leaseholders will be smiling this morning as their issues become more and more widely known courtesy of Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation and LKP’s hugely successful campaigns.
This whole edifice of leaseholder activism was started by you at Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation. All owe you gratitude. For different reasons, so do I (who has never been a leaseholder).
I second that Melissa… well done.
Is Melissa, the Melissa Bragg the LADY who was instrumental in me becoming involved with the companies that are PEVEREL?
If it is, can I say, thank you, for opening my eyes, as it was your story that inspired me as my mother had moved into a care home of her choosing, where she was very, very happy.
I looked at the flat that I later purchased so we could provide help as she became older.
The flat and the development is great it is just that in my hurry to be where I could help Mom I didn’t check the lease, as I would normally have done.
I now am paying the price, as PEVEREL RETIREMENT run our development and to say that they have cheated us over the years, is an understatement.
We had a Budget Meeting last week and 10 resident turned up, 18 residents stayed away, the new resident were only interested in the colour of the grass and the need to have individual phone numbers.
They want only a quite and easy retirement, which I understand.
So if this is Melissa Briggs then I say a Massive Thank You.
I agree with other comments you deserve a share in this award Melissa in starting the ball rolling. You inspired me to RTM and even though it was and still is hard work our money is being used to the benefit of all now and NOT lining managing agents pockets!!
Thank you to everyone again and again
Sir Peter Bottomley writes:
“Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation / Leasehold Knowledge Partnership helped me to give assistance to my elderly frail constituents.
“As a result I was able to give advice and help to others.
“Law and practice in leasehold disputes must change for the better.”
Thank you Sir Peter for your support to LKP and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation as men of substance like you are few and far between.
There are many in the world of leasehold practice who could learn a lot and maybe earn a fraction of the respect that the leaseholders of this country owe to you.
You have helped bring this unpalatable business to the front for discussion in the corridors of government.
Sir Peter Bottomley,
You come from an often forgotten group of politicians who have entered politics with a desire to help, and to stand up for the weakest in our society.
That leaseholders know that we are not alone is of great comfort. Many thanks to you.
A well-deserved award for Sebastian. As a former Plantation Wharf resident myself, I know what a mess the whole thing was.