UPDATE 11/12/17: This article has been updated with comments from the former and current owner of the management company (below).
Taylor Wimpey customers at its Surbiton Plaza II site have been landed with an embedded management company in one of the sector’s Roger-Southam-style deals.
And the leaseholders have also been shafted by Taylor Wimpey with doubling ground rents in their leases.
So they are disadvantaged and disempowered at the same time.
The developer has created what the trade recognises as a tripartite lease.
It means that the 30-odd flat owners at Surbiton Plaza II in south west London are stuck with a management company they did not choose for the duration of their 125-year leases.
The company that acquired the management off the developer was the now defunct J.J. Homes (Properties) Ltd, which is written into the lease.
In a further twist, its proprietor Anthony Tokatly is also written into the Daily Mail and a number of other tabloids, having sexually assaulted a woman teacher in a south London pub.
He was convicted earlier this year. The report wrongly suggests that Mr Tokatly is a billionaire, rather than stating that he managed property worth a lot:
Anthony Tokatly, 45, grabbed the woman as she made her way to the toilet She was sexually assault whilst dining at 18th century pub in Wandsworth The victim’s husband confronted a drunken Tokatly but he denied the assault Tokatly, is a director at JPW Real Estate, which has assets of £2billion An ‘arrogant’ property tycoon sexually assaulted a school teacher in a pub as she enjoyed a night out with her husband.
J.J. Homes (Properties) Ltd changed its name to JPW Property Management Ltd (trading as JP Real Estate) on 16 September 2015. JPW Real Estate collects ground rents ‘for and on behalf on SG Properties Ltd’, the freeholder
Mr Tokatly resigned as a director in August 2015, and sold his shares in August this year.
This means the leaseholders and their money have been sold on again to the care of chartered surveyor Martin Wainwright.
Taylor Wimpey passing on the supposed residents’ management company to its flats is precisely the issue where LKP intervened concerning Roger Southam’s Chainbow company, which was embedded in the leases of London sites.
Even though some of the freeholds had been sold on to Adriatic Land, Taylor Wimpey somehow managed to hit reverse gear and dump Mr Southam.
Leaseholders who had been separately told in writing by both Taylor Wimpey and Mr Southam that the leaseholders had no legal rights in the management companies were suddenly told the opposite.
The companies were proper residents’ management companies and they were handed over to leaseholders’ control.
LKP has long been campaigning for every block of flats to have a residents management company where the shareholders or members are solely the leasehold owners.
This would mean that responsibility for managing the flats would lie with those with the greatest financial stake in them.
James Jordan, the head of Taylor Wimpey legal, told LKP:
“In order that our customers do not have the administrative burden of either running a residents managing company themselves, or appointing a third party managing agent, leases will usually include a management company.
“The management company was appointed, following a procurement process.”
“Our current leases include provisions which enable residents to appoint a new management company after a relatively short pre-agreed period of time, if more than 50% of the leaseholders agree to do so.
“This was not standard practice when the Surbiton Plaza lease was implemented.”
Mr Tokatly, who is a property management consultant, declined to comment when contacted prior to publication.
He wishes to make it clear that the article contains “false information with regards Management Rights being bought by JJ Homes from Taylor Wimpey”.
Simon Wainwright told LKP that JPW Property Management Ltd, of which he and Jessica Graham are both directors is wholly owned by J Peiser Wainwright Limited.
Mr Wainwright could not explain why JJ Homes (Properties) Limited was embedded in the leases as Surbiton Plaza II as “no one currently working at JPW Property Management Ltd was involved when the leases were initially granted”.
“What I can advise is that my company paid consideration when my company acquired its shareholding in the company now known as JPW Property Management Ltd, which was based on the amount and number of management contracts which it had at the time.”
“We have absolutely no connection with the freehold company.
“As managing agents, we are committed to providing a service to the leaseholders at this property, and we operate a Formal Complaint Handling Procedure with redress to the Property Ombudsman if any of the leaseholders is not satisfied with the services that my company provides.
“Whilst I am aware that the leaseholders in Plaza II are dissatisfied, I am not aware of any dissatisfaction with the services that my company provides.”
So there you have it: in the past, Taylor Wimpey was sparing its poor leaseholders the “administrative burden” by flogging off – or passing on with no consideration – the management to their flats to commercial operators.
And now, thanks to LKP kicking up a public fuss over Mr Southam’s handiwork, it has hit reverse gear and empowers leaseholders through the residents’ management company.
As with doubling ground rents, if its former policy was not wrong, why has it changed it?
In making the change, Taylor Wimpey may have lost a nice little earner if it effectively sells these companies – and Mr Tokatly denies this at Surbiton Plaza II – but it is small change compared with the doubling ground rent wheeze.
We argue that all blocks of flats, whatever the commercial property element, should have a residents’ management company from the start.
Given the often appalling build quality in this country, leaseholders need to be in charge of this entity before the warranties run out – which is why developers delay as long as possible handing over control.
Fortunately, LKP-accredited managing agent Rynew, founded by Daren Touhey and Desmond Moreira, is sorting out a host of snagging issues on new builds across London.
The independent Swindon managing agent Cherry Jones blew the whistle on these practices, which led Bovis to dumping Countrywide property management from its sites country-wide across the UK.
Mr Jordan – who deserves a Taylor Wimpey bonus of his own for keeping a straight face replying as he does – adds the thought that “the statutory right to manage process can be utilised as needed, should it become necessary or appropriate to change the current entity”.
IE that the leaseholders can opt for right to manage.
In fact, LKP has been contacted on various occasions by sites that have gone right to manage but which have tripartite leases. The booted out managing agent refuses to go “because we are in the lease”.
We are happy to advise in these circumstances.
As an aside, J.J. Homes (Properties) Ltd was briefly accredited to LKP. Mr Tokatly made fulsome declarations in support of leaseholder empowerment – “power to the people” was a favoured phrase – and appeared to share the ethos of this organisation.
More importantly, his references in 2012 were good and he had a very widely admired property manager deputy.
At the time, J.J. Homes was spending out very generously on promotion, which was noticed by rival companies.
It was no particular surprise to us that the company ceased its accreditation, and we were not sorry to see it go. That said, we were never contacted by aggrieved leaseholders during the period when J.J. Homes were accredited. And we were unaware that it was tucking itself up in tripartite leases.