The charity Shelter appears to have ceased involvement in the ‘Campaign for Housing in Later Life’, which Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation revealed on April 9 registered its website to the address of the Bournemouth HQ of McCarthy and Stone.
The Shelter logo that appeared on the campaign’s website has been removed.
Since publication by Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, the campaign has moved its website registration address to the Home Builders’ Federation in London. (See images below)
Sebastian O’Kelly, of Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, wrote to Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb on April 8 expressing his concern that the charity was involved in a lobbying exercise by retirement housebuilders.
The ‘Campaign for Housing in Later Life’ urges more planning acceptance of retirement living; a reduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy for “later life housing”; and an extension of the Help to Buy scheme to older people.
In short, it is a wish-list for developers, without a hint that there is anything amiss in this sector.
The Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation letter was also copied into MPs Sir Peter Bottomley (Conservative), Ed Davey (LibDem) and Jim Fitzpatrick (Labour), who have all expressed their concerns over retirement leasehold.
Shelter today confirmed that it had removed the logo:
“We have limited resources and at present are not focussing specifically on older people’s issues and have no plans to in our current strategy, and we have increased our opposition to Help to Buy.”
Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation states:
This is a weak response.
It appears that Shelter got suckered into this ‘campaign’ and changed its mind after Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation provided information about the sector that is readily available with a little Google-ing.
For example, the three OFT inquiries, numerous property tribunal decisions, debates in Parliament, TV documentaries and press reports. Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, which is run by volunteers, is not sympathetic to the excuse of ‘limited resources’.
Shelter has paid staff who should have seen this campaign for what it is – house builders’ lobbying for easier planning, basically – and avoided it with a barge pole.
Planning is not a serious issue in retirement housing. The retirement house builders were not clamouring for easier planning during the slump: they weren’t building anything, nor were banks lending.
Retirement housing is in crisis because of the short-sightedness and greed of developers, freeholders and property managers who have left the sector with a toxic reputation.
Restoring confidence is needed.
Primarily, house builders must stop seeing the elderly as a long-term meal-ticket.
Leases should not have monetising opportunities; all sites should have resident management companies; and residents should choose themselves who cares for them.
Unfortunately, retirement house builders – and housing associations – see monetising possibilities in long term management and “extra care”.
The message to them should be: Build and go away!
“Retirement housing is in crisis because of the short-sightedness and greed of developers, freeholders and property managers who have left the sector with a toxic reputation.”Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation States
“The message to them should be: Build and go away!” Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation States
This is why leasehold properties in whole need a major shake up and owners should be freed. Older people need to live in peace, with dignity and respect which has a big impact on their health.Their wealth should be kept for their loved ones, not for developers and management companies. This is disgrace.
What amazes me even more is that Esther Ranzen is fronting this campaign…. and all the usual suspects are being promoted on the front page.
Did nobody in her team do their due diligence before asking her to spear head this?
I would advice everyone to keep an eye on their local planning applications and where ever there is planning for elderly residents accomodation that is linked to private leasehold or apartments apps, to object and provide information on the LKP and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation web sites for proof.
Well if they “build and go away” the running of the block is left to seasoned residents.. Thats fine as long as there are residents of an age and health and perspective to run it, even with an agent in tow.. So not only for practical purposes but to counter this as an objection to insisting on retaining freeholds to protect “the vulnerable elderly residents”, some thought has to be given to the what if to prevent blocks getting into a poor state. Perhaps residents have an option to appoint/court appoint trustees, as well as the court appointed manager rights, sitting on a residents board…
I would suggest in that case, the elderly residents relatives/appointees/guardians should be appointed to a residents board to oversea the finances of a development… we could go on and on with this arguement….
Retirement and Leasehold properties do not work when vulnerable aging leaseholders are dependent on vultures managing sites for them…. so we should just not build them anymore for sale…..
If developers want to built this type of property then it should be for rent only with no long tie ins built into contracts….
As we have stated time and time again… landlords and managing agents are not social housing companies and run these developments purely for maximum profits.
In 20 years time you can see the story of a run down retirement block with elderly residents unable to take on the workload, even with an agent and yet the headline will read “McCarthy and Stone walked away leaving elderly vulnerable residents to run their block- for shame” 🙂
But it is a valid concern and if change is to be affected you have to look at the other side of the argument in order to defeat it. The story on LKP about the four warring flats and LVT manager who walked away is a good example, Chas has mentioned his issues with residents not being prepared to act, and right now a case in a forum where 5 freeholders are ignoring 1 whose floor is about to collapse from rot and is hanging over the main electrical intake! As the Tchenquiz mob are the exception to the mainstream of leasehold blocks, these too are exceptions, and legislation and reform is largely about dealing with the exceptions. Until you accept that, your desire for reforms are narrow minded and doomed to fail. You have already, “in your reformed world” stopped resident freeholders and RTM and RMCs getting advice from LEASE….
Assuming planning laws to build retirement developments were relaxed as championed by Churchill and Mcarthy and Stone, would there not be the potential to raise costs for local authorities, who might find greater demands on their services from an ageing population?
This might be especially hard for local authorities in sea side locations.
It is one of the potential consequences of localism, yes.
The LEASE website offers nothing different to the governments own website:
LEASE have yet to provide figures on exactly what the percentages are of leaseholds/landlords/managing agents who do actually call them for advice…and how many they successfully ‘help’ as they do not offer so called advice….
I can now see why you are so against leaseholders taking control of their own blocks as it is blatantly obvious to me now that you are just trying to protect your own little empire. Are you a wasp or a bee?
This is a conclusion that you have reached Karen and not one that I have stated at all. Taking this thread I have made it clear that my observations are about the counter argument to the pro resident argument and suggesting that as it is persuasive, how to counter it. I have also been objective here and elsewhere in that their are downsides to residents control and, with the benefit of experience seeing how it can all fall apart under residents control. If you think freeholder ownership is a feeding ground for the agents and landlords, a desperate block racked with division and in disrepair is far more lucrative for the sharks eager to exploit the residents desperation.
As I have stated here it is important to counter the arguments and more importantly think about alternatives having suggested in this case trustee appointment or trustees on residents boards where residents find themselves unable to deal comprehensively with self management. This can arise from age job or family responsibility or the only person willing to do it moving away or passing on, and simply having to deal with divisive issues or nasty individuals, even idiot directors with barmy ideas and other issues.
While I agree that LEASE should not be giving advice to large corporate freeholders and agents, in turn making it a leaseholders only service is wrong as well, as it excludes resident owned or controlled groups from seeking advice.
Moreover I have been quite clear that LEASE conference should be hived off and kept separate to the advice business.
My position is clear unlike the “big landlord/agent” that are the targets here, I am not part of “big resident” either. I understand that the push in either direction based on such naive black and white arguments will damage the vast majority of people, who like yourselves wear two hats, one as a leaseholder and one as a manager ( or as in your case the freeholder to be).
I totally agree with Karen. AM seems to go any lengths to defend and keep the antiquated rip off Leasehold going at any price. The Leaseholders has been too long acting as cash cows to the Landlords/Freeholders regardless are they locals, off shore companies operating in tax heavens or anybody from anywhere in the world coming here for “rich pickings” milking the Leaseholders.
“We came here because it is easy”.
There is a way and systems practised in the other countries that work perfectly well without
ripping of the property owners. We the Leaseholders are not property owners we are only the Leaseholders pretty much no rights.
Whilst we differ in our expectancy from those that comment on all the different sites we must not loose the reasoning behind our commenting as the bad Managing Agents love our fall outs.
So I have sent an email to email@example.com regarding the methods used by Peverel Management Services Ltd trading as Peverel Retirement, they include the following:-
1. Refusal of Insurance Claims
2. Price Fixing Warden Call Systems
3. Incomplete Expenses Files
4. Excessive Insurance Commissions
5. Misuse of Service Charges
6. Failures of Senior Management
7. False Insurance Claims
8. Training paid by us for Management
9. Poor/partial/non – communications by Senior Managers
Are we at Ashbrook Court the only development that has been mistreated by Peverel Retirement?
But then my comment Chas was if the anti resident control factions says ” oh we can’t let these poor elderly people take on this huge responsibility, its time to relax or are they well enough to do so etc etc” then how can that be countered.
In this case I am suggesting that while an agent takes the strain, what happens to their reins if the residents are unable or unwilling, or at risk of being deceived by said agent, and therefore giving them a right and option to appoint a trustee or add trustees to their residents board.
That is far better than hoping for new blood, while l the roof leaks lifts are broken, staff haven’t been paid ( but as in so many cases the garden looks beautiful) before someone lumbers into the FTT to ask for a manager to be appointed.
Some of what AM posts, i agree with, some i don’t.
What is clear to me, is that AM is trying to warn us of a “Frying pan into the fire scenario”.
That leasehold is a broken model, that leaves leaseholders vulnerable to abusive freeholders, is beyond question. What replaces leaehold needs to be very carefully though out.
No. Letting people who have bought properties run their own affairs is self-evident and right. Freeholds are a legally dubious hangover from the past, and should end.
It is unjust, even from a capitalist point of view, for a freehold owner whose asset is worth maybe five per cent of the total value of the leases to have the power to appoint the property manager.
Obviously, some sites are going to mess things up and fall out, as happens on the continent. But at least there isn’t a freehold opportunist at work.
I’m afraid democracy is the least good form of government except for the alternatives.
Perhaps on completion of a development ownership should be transferred to a not for profit management trust company, of which owners would have an equal share.
To protect owners, how ever many flats are owned in a development by one individual, only one share should be a voting share.
I am not arguing that they shouldn’t be transferred, just tempering the zeal and expectation that resident control and ownership is flawless-it isn’t. What I have suggested here is that the arguments of those that are not pro resident can be challenged, and to suggest that in the process of reform we need to cater for the residents who find themselves in trouble with each other.
I do not know what “zeal and expectation” you are referring to.
I have reported the jailing of Brian Copsey, the RMC chairman thief of Bryanston Court.
I know full well that the scamps in property management business will refer to this case – unreported elsewhere in the media – in their OFT / CMA submissions as an example of why the status quo should remain.
I have also reported here of leaseholder / freeholders in Chelsea who are so at war that the place is run – rightly – by a court appointed managing agent.
There is wide-scale playing of the opportunities of leasehold, and it is not confined to Mr Tchenguiz.
The zeal is expressed by some members that the ultimate panacea is resident control if not ownership. It fixes much, yes, however it still shares the same issues and has its own problems too.
I have mentioned the article you refer to in several posts here and in this thread have referred to expanding that principle with a legal right to trustee appointments or trustees on a resident’s board to “help out”. I have also reference Chas’s problem with residents who are disinterested and have other priorities, often age related. Anyone who manages first time buyer blocks will tell you of the pressure to keep service charges low and the resulting screams when the painting needs doing or the roof leaks and suddenly people stop answering their damp neighbour’s emails…and the hard task of getting anyone to be a director!
There is a lot of skulduggery and non compliance but that’s not restricted to freeholder or their agents.
I have suggested and supported compulsory transfer of freeholds on new builds wherever possible, here, but I have also mentioned that, and this is my point, is that its not therefore plain sailing thereafter, and that is not being reflected in many poster’s posts or thinking. If they can get beyond their opinion they will see that what I am suggesting is taking the argument, and reform, even further into what is a complex area, leaseholds or the world of (the comparatively redressless) commonhold.
Commonhold is commonplace in the rest of the world, and I have not encountered any legal impediment with it. Leasehold, on the other hand, was uprooted – where it found roots at all – in other jurisdictions where English law held sway: Australasia, north America, Ireland.
Some leasehold law should be disturbing. The right to enfranchisement allows private citizens compulsorily to purchase other people’s property. Only in leasehold is such an odd concept accepted. Yet it is acknowledged right in order to make leasehold fair.
No other part of the world has thought that this is a good way of organising property tenure, and introduced it. Leasehold exists because of the conservative stability of English society – and the power of landed interests to feather their own nests at the expensive of the poor.
Leasehold – or long-term tenancies – brought Ireland to brink of anarchy in 1870s.
Had the English Civil War been 50 years later – or the Glorious Revolution of 1688 a little more resembling a social change – it would never have taken off in this form.
Some of the most furiously indignant leaseholders I come across are foreigners like the Aussie Baroness Gardner of Parkes. They are clear-eyed at recognising something that is cobblers.
But then there is an army of lawyers and surveyors whose entire livelihoods are based on this law not working very well.
Any system such as leasehold that appears to be cobblers should be given the boot!
Well that is a rather weak pov. . we have what we have. It is misleading to say that “and I have not encountered any legal impediment with it” as it suggests to readers that it is legal problem free, far from it. Those like I that have practised abroad see the comparable and unique problems that co ownership bring, many of them legal .As I have said previously setting aside forfeiture the bulk of problems that people see in leasehold arise in co-ownership.
It is tortured comment on enfranchisement as it is a clunky but solution to the problem of a diminishing interest that you detest. After all it is rather dishonest as you are supporting the removal of freehold interests and handing them over to flat owners. How else is that to be achieved except by enfranchisement by another name?! Or are you suggesting that commonhold is for the new developments and not for existing ones?
What we have in Commonhold is a terrible awful piece of legislation that strips home owners of the sort of protections that leaseholders have – it puts them on the footing of freehold house owners paying service charges- only county court and with only the goods and services legislation to protect them, and years to develop any useful precedents.
Moreover it is rather naïve to say that it is vested interest that are behind this as they are nothing if not adaptable and will make plenty of money out of commonhold and that leasehold will inevitably be here to stay, and making those precedents.
Some may recall co-ownership here, housing societies- which fell flat- and the moans of the resident directors in the succeeding RMCs about how tey can no longer interview new owners before being allowed to buy. This is today commonplace in the US and Canada. Imagine that having to be interviewed by the “condo board” before buying allowed your home….
I find it very difficult to comprehend AM. But taking a guess, this would be my answer:
No one is suggesting commonhold be introduced for existing leasehold / freehold properties. It should be introduced on new sites, with a set future date after which everything has to be commonhold. This was envisaged with the 2002 Act, as Prof James Driscoll (who helped with the act) has made clear. That no sunset date was introduced was one of the many failings of the 2002 act.
Obligatory residents’ management companies would be a good halfway measure.
That potential purchasers meet the RMC board in a block of flats before buying a property would be a very sensible idea. It is widely accepted that many leasehold purchasers have no conception of buying in a communal property where bills have to be shared.
LKP is repeatedly contacted by people who have bought flats in blocks with serious issues. Speaking to those who live there and with whom you will be sharing the bills is sensible.
Admin and AM,
I have a understanding of AM and feel that he/she is correct, as much as the difficulty bringing residents who are more concerned at the colour of the grass and the gardeners who do not use the correct mower to cut the grass.
I personally would live were I am, under the leasehold system if the Managing Agents were worth the fees we pay them.
I am attempting to redress the Master – Servant issues that have been allowed by us the residents over the past many years and to warn pensioners that the poor management we receive from Peverel Retirement/Peverel Management Services Ltd or Peverel Group is no longer acceptable.
As with most things in life there is non so queer as folk, and the leasehold tenants, which we are should help each other.
Most of our residents are average age over 80 years and they do not wish to have any bother and want a quite life.
They mostly refuse to acknowledge that Peverel could do what they have done and ignore the FINANCIAL SIDE OF BUDGETS?
This is not meant as a criticism of my neighbours, as I am only 67 and have worked in the Construction Industry for 45 years, 15 years working for Housing Departments as a Surveyor and Building ControI.
I also worked for Urban Renewal for 7 years bringing the Private Sector into Resident Associations in the inner city of Birmingham and rebuilding the community after the riots.
The attempt to set up a Residents Association here has faltered as the residents just want a quite life, Bless Them?
I am tempted to think that the “difficulty” is a passive aggressive response but I hope that its because I simply don’t fit into the black hat moustache twirling vested interest brigade that some of you are used to, and therefore its hard to be receptive.
Commonhold conversion is available under the Act to existing blocks. Now that you have been clear on commonhold for new only, commonhold is not a lot of help to those already in leasehold properties. My thoughts on commonhold are already clear – it simply doesn’t work as enacted and it is held up by supporters as a perfect world which could not be further from the truth. The core objectives of outright ownership can be achieved, as previously set out, by requiring by statute that freeholds are transferred and flats are sold on leases of perpetuity less 1 year, with forfeiture either curtailed or eliminated. That will benefit new and existing schemes looking to enfranchise, and both are within the existing statutory rights and protections enjoyed by leaseholders should the residents board “go mad”, while commonhold which is going to need a whole new set of precedents to deal with the “madness” or the inevitable disputes and issues that arise in blocks. It also avoids a further tier or type of flat ownership which confuses buyers.
Speaking to the RMCis one thing, however that is not the point I made in the response to your assertion of the absence of problems in co-ownership abroad. It affirms my view that your take on block management is very narrow as given the resistance to licences to assign the idea of having to be interviewed, as posted earlier, by the Board or Committee is one that will not be accepted by the flat buying public. This is one of the reasons that the housing societies perished. If existing schemes were to adopt this, given the protections of the 1927 and 1988 Acts on consents, it becomes a legal minefield, with costs. For those, and commonhold on new builds, I would question the ability of residents to develop an objective and lawful process. It would be another legal minefield on equalities, libel and slander, leading to costs for the Board/Committee on creating that policy and defending again a claim, well founded or not, by a frustrated purchaser, as well as making commonhold the less desirable choice for some buyers.
The fact is that here or abroad the same key disputes arise over use issues eg noise, expenses and service levels eg service charge and neighbour disputes. Any form of strata or coownership has to deal with that and our commonhold as enacted fails to do that, miserably.
There are so many elderly people disappointed with moving to a McCarthy & Stone apartment and it is not as enjoyable as we were lead to believe They are now very difficult to sell and people are having to take large losses to sell them and even then it could take years to sell The only reason McCarthy & Stone etc want to build more retirement apartments is because they can build far more on a block as they get away with providing very few car parking spaces telling the Councils that elderly people don’t need a car but forget about all the carers, Doctors, Nurses Chiropodist Cleaners and all the other staff needed for elderly people My husband is a blue badge holder and at times it is a nightmare to park So much for a relaxing old age Managing agents are not worth the fees they charge and I object to paying a manager to go on training days to manage 30 apartments We thought things would change when Peverel were pushed out but there is no difference and we are still treated as if our views do not matte and they know best