Sir Peter Bottomley, the Rt Hon Ed Davey and Jim Fitzpatrick have agreed to be patrons of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, which are now formally a charity and is in the process of obtaining recognition by the Charity Commission.
The involvement of the three MPs – one in the Cabinet and two ex-ministers – representing different political parties is a significant demonstration of commitment to reform residential leasehold tenure in England and Wales.
The aim of LKP is to help and inform leaseholders who get caught up in the purposefully obfuscated complexities of this flawed form of residential property tenure. It also seeks to obtain legislative and regulatory changes that will make life easier for these homeowners, who in law are merely tenants.
The achievement of charity status is the culmination of nearly six years of activity by the Campaign Against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation.
The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, envisaged initially as an accreditation scheme for managing agents who share our values of fairness, has been in existence since January 2012.
The directors of the charity who are responsible for its day-to-day activities are: Sebastian O’Kelly and Martin Boyd.
The three MPs have all been involved in high-level leasehold disputes and are frequently referred to on the LKP website: www.leaseholdknowledge.com
Ed Davey, the LibDem MP for Kingston and Surbiton, hosted the Campaign against Residential Leasehold Exploitation mass meeting with MPs at Westminster in November 2009. He had already had some dealings with Peverel at a retirement site in his Surrey constituency and had raised the Peverel / Cirrus price-fixing scandal with authorities before Peverel “turned itself in” and therefore won leniency in December 2009.
Mr Davey has also been a supportive figure for residents at Charter Quay in Kingston to battle free from Peverel and the site’s head lease owner Vincent Tchenguiz.
More than £500,000 in overcharging has been won back by the residents and in the summer last year they bought the freehold. Mr Davey was present at the mass celebration and poured out glasses from a Nebuchadnezzar of champagne.
Sir Peter Bottomley, the long standing Conservative MP for Worthing West, became involved with LKP as elderly residents at Oakland Court, in his constituency, fought to reclaim £67,000 in overpaid charges.
These were for the notional rent on the house manager’s flat. Sir Peter obtained a pro bono – legalese for free – barrister for the pensioners, who went on to win the case.
The system-playing of the freeholders’ lawyers – including multiple attempts to delay the hearing – prompted Sir Peter to criticise their conduct in the Commons as “legal torture”.
He has since waded into numerous leasehold disputes, and it was thanks to Sir Peter that LKP managed to overturn the forfeiture of Dennis Jackson’s £800,000 flat at Plantation Wharf in Battersea. More here
Jim Fitzpatrick, a former Labour DCLG minister, has some of the richest and poorest leaseholders in the country in his Poplar and Limehouse constituency, in east London.
Mr Fitzpatrick has been a supportive figure in the disputes at the upmarket West India Quay, in Canary Wharf, and named a string of leasehold freeholders and managing agents in a debate in December 2013.
With a long standing interest in leasehold issues, Mr Fitzpatrick has raised the subject frequently in Parliament. He has also backed a number of LKP briefing meetings at Westminster and urged his party to take up the issue of leasehold reform.
The three directors of LKP are Sebastian O’Kelly, Martin Boyd and Melissa Briggs.
A core function of LKP is to maintain an authoritative editorial presence in the leasehold sector, which is the primary role of Sebastian O’Kelly, who was the property editor of the Mail on Sunday for 10 years.
All issues concerning leasehold need to be reported and brought to public attention – particularly to the attention of policy makers, civil servants and members of the property tribunals.
In a sector that trumpets transparency but practises the opposite, the taking up and publicising of individual cases can often lead to their resolution – and help others in the same position.
The ever-accumulating evidence of abusive practices will, eventually, lead to their elimination.
The editorial activities of LKP have resulted in two national press awards.
Martin Boyd is a leaseholder who was indignant about the management practices at Charter Quay. He set about making a forensic examination of how high-end residential leasehold works to the detriment of homeowners who do the paying.
Immersing himself in landlord and tenant law, he has appeared in the property tribunal on numerous occasions.
He was also responsible for analysing the number of private leasehold properties in England and Wales, which has seen the DCLG statisticians revise their total from 2.5 million to 4.1 million. This revision will have considerable influence on leasehold policy.
The third director of LKP is Melissa Briggs.
Well done Sebastian, Martin and Melissa,
I would also like to thank Sir Peter Bottomley, Andy [Ed …] Davey and of course Jim Fitzpatrick for their support.
I have a meeting with MP Mr Philip Dunne on Friday, where I will be asking for help to uncover the Collusive Tendering, Excessive Commissions, and Excessive Service Charges that we pay.
I have asked Martin and Sebastian for help in this matter, so again well done all.
Charles I hope you meant to say Ed Davey.
Andy Davey works for Peverel. Not sure he would have made the short list of potential patrons.
Sorry Martin, yes of course it should have been Ed Davey, I hope I am forgiven.
I have posted this on About Peverel it relates further to Ashbrook Courts fight against Price Fixing.
This is similar to the document sent to me regarding the Cirrus Communication/Peverel Management Services Ltd Price Fixing at Peverel Retirement Developments. I have named certain Infringements and expanded to print the full names of the companies involved along with the initials.
Annexe 2 – Extract from the OFT`s Decision – Paragraphs 5.8 & 5.9:
During the course of the investigation, the OFT has also considered whether the Infringements (Price Fixing, Tender Rigging) where each company had as its object (1) the Prevention, Restriction, Distortion of Competition in the supply of Warden Call & Door Entry Systems including (2) Fire Detection and Fire Prevention Systems to Peverel Management Services Ltd (Now trading as Peverel Retirement) all were Retirement Developments in the UK.
The OFT also considered whether the Infringements were wider than just the 65 developments that Peverel Group Ltd had owned up after Peverel/ Cirrus were outed in the press media in September 2009. The Decision of the OFT involved Collusive Tendering (Price Fixing) in relation to more of or all the Peverel Management Services Ltd (PMSL) contracts involving Cirrus Communications Systems Ltd (CCSL) and either Jackson, O`Rourke or Owens between 2005 & 2.006.
Peverel Group Ltd (PGL) informed the OFT that, at least from late 2006, “it was of the view that there was Collusive Tendering in respect of every such contract” This would mean that a substantially larger number of the 65 bids would have been subject of Anti-Competitive behaviour (Price Fixing) than was found in the OFT Decision.
The OFT goes on to say in respect of a number of the contracts falling outside of the Infringements, the OFT has decided that these other Infringements that Peverel Group has not owned up to, (Price Fixing) the OFT has decided that it is not an Administrative Priority to carry out further investigation.
The OFT concluded that the scope of the Investigations should be confined to those contracts in respect of the evidence provided by Peverel Group that Cirrus did infact disclose its bids to Jackson, O`Rourke & Owens and they participated in the Collusive Tendering (Price Fixing).
The OFT had considered whether the bidding process might have been corrupted some way by behaviour other than Collusive Tendering. To exclude that possibility, the OFT has included within the Infringement (Price Fixing) only those contracts in respect of which there is evidence that Cirrus did not act alone and Jackson, O`Rourke or Owens was contracted to participate.
I have asked for names of the participator’s but the OFT informed me that under the Freedom of Information, the naming of these people, would not be In the Public Interest.
This below is what Peverel had to say on the above:-
6 December 2013
Peverel Group statement in response to OFT decision
Peverel Group has released the following statement in response to the decision announced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today that Cirrus, a Peverel Group company, breached competition law between 2005 and 2009 by collusive tendering in relation to the supply and installation of certain access control and alarm systems to retirement properties:
“We accept the findings and are very sorry for the failings identified by the OFT. These practices were totally unacceptable. They stopped in 2009 when Peverel Group brought the matter to the attention of the OFT and this is not how we do business today.
We have cooperated fully throughout the investigation. “Peverel Group is under new management; our Code of Business Conduct outlines how we operate and supports the promises that we make in our Customer Charter. Peverel Group also supports the residential leasehold property management market study announced by the OFT this week.
“Peverel Group has decided to make a goodwill payment to the developments affected of 10% of the price of any work resulting from the tenders.”
Following on regarding Peverel.
When Peverel undertook working as our Managing Agent, it would also have taken the Social Contract part of Contract which is Implied?
When Peverel Management Services Ltd undertook work as our Managing Agent it would also have under-taken the SOCIAL CONTRACT part of The Law of Contract with the aims being to provide a CONTRACT for SERVICES that was Expressed, and also Implied, within The Law of Contract.
The SOCIAL CONTRACT is:-
” an unwritten tacit agreement that exist among the members of Retirement Developments and Managing Agents in a Contract for Services. This Social Contract also guides individual behaviour and establishes personal rights and responsibilities to the residents. The Social Contract is deemed essential for any Organised Professional Managing Agent”
The CONTRACT for SERVICES that exists as Custom & Practice within the Law of Contract, both within Expressed & Implied Terms. As the wording states the Implied Terms are an understanding of what is required from an Area Manager in carrying out their duties, when spending Service Charges for works that are necessary and required.
The Implied Terms of Area Managers is they will only undertake works that would be deemed necessary and required. This is a judgment call based on experience, qualifications and knowledge of a Development..
The Area Manager when considering if works are to be carried out for the good of the Development should not be coerced to provide false information, to Residents, where Subsidiary Company, Cirrus Communications Systems Ltd, (CCSL) would be kept in work, by false information provided by Subsidiary Companies, such as CCSL who would benefit from false information stating the WCS was OBSOLETE as they knew they would be asked to Tender for the replacement.
The replacement of the Warden Call System which was deemed as OBSOLETE by Cirrus Communication Systems Ltd, (CCSL) in 2006 (no written report available as would be expected from a Trained, Qualified, Area Manager)
In 2006 Peverel Management Services Ltd asked CCSL to provide Two Options for the replacement of the WCS:
1) straight replacement with similar £15,600
2) up-dated more expensive system £21,500
A Storm damaged the WCS on 20/06/2007 making the system unusable. Cirrus was to benefit from the decision as some 5 months later they were one of two Contractors, asked to tender for the replacement after the Storm.
The other tenderer was a Bogus Contractor, who was at the same time, already involved in the Price Fixing, of 65 Retirement Developments (admitted by Peverel to the OFT in 2009/10) belonging to Peverel with two other Bogus Contractors O`Rourke and Owens, who between them made £1.4 million, out of Retired Pensioners.
We as Pensioners are seen as Easy Pickings, as 90/95% of Residents show no concern at all over the Income & Expenditure Accounts that we receive undated each year. They are being ripped off by the Managing Agents, as they are seen as Easy Pickings, only 1 in 10 show any concern.
The Social Contract has the Implied Duty by Area Managers that they Record the Day to Day activities that spend our money so that a Paper Chase would allow us Residents to follow the decisions made from Inception to Completion.
It is very sad to say that our Area Manager, failed time after time to produce Written Reports for works that were necessary and required. Our Area Manager, spent thousands of pounds of our money with no Written Reports showing why works were necessary or Required, as Implied in any Contract for Services.
It seems that our Area Manager Unilaterally decided that the Implied Terms of the Contract for Services and the Implied Terms of the Social Contract, were un-necessary, and not part of his Remit?
WHY, WHY WHY has he been allowed to continue, when Peter Whalley, had to move on?
Are you sure Andy Davey works for Peverel?
Janet Entwistle CEO Peverel Group did assure ARHM that all those that were associated with the Cirrus collusive tendering were no longer with Peverel. What is the world coming to if you can’t trust the word of the CEO of such a reputable company?
Well done to LKP and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation.
I look forward to the day when there’s a parliamentary inquiry into leasehold malpractice.
The abuse of leaseholders, and the complex financial instruments deployed between companies and lenders, such that a leaseholder does not know who their freeholder really is, or who and how much has been borrowed on the home they live in would be most appropriate for the Treasury Select Commitee to investigate, particularly as taxpayer funded banks are heavily invoved.
The abuse of leaseholders, and the complex financial instruments deployed between companies and lenders, such that a leaseholder does not know who their freeholder really is?
This was posted by Michael and I thought this is exactly how it is.
I received a letter from Peverel Group regarding Ground Rent this is how difficult it is:
Envelope was from Peverel Group; 11 Queensway.
Demand from Peverel Retirement, same address.
Payment to be made to Peverel Management Services Ltd, same address.
Notice Given by Meridian Retirement Housing Services Ltd, same address.
For on behalf of the Freeholder who is???
I have been informed that our Freeholder sold Ashbrook Court on the 31/11/14 and the Demand covers 24/12/14 to 24/06/15.
Who is to receive the Ground Rent and will the new Freeholder want a Company like Peverel Services Ltd to be involved, would you???
Our thanks and appreciation should also go to those who are no longer with us Don Heady, D Jones and many others whose names I can’t remember. Also Ken Kilmister , Don Houston, Stan Hodges who supported Melissa with the wonderful publicity she managed in the early days and has got the recognition Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation/LKP has.
Norman, how right you are.
I hope you are well and keeping up the great work you did for the residents of your development.
I believe that our Freeholder, Mercian has sold the Freehold, when I checked with Peverel Retirement on the 13/11/14 they new nothing about the sale?
Not one of the companies involved know who purchased the Freehold.
Peverel Group sent out the Ground Rent demand for 24/12/14 to 24/06/15 dated 17/11/14. The demand was posted on the 10/11/14 7 days before the Date Issued which was 17 Nov 2014?
I spoke to Peverel Retirement whose name was on the Demand and it seems that they are in front of them selves.
If we pay the Ground Rent which covers the 6 months from 24/12/14 how do we know they will pay the GR to the new Freeholder?
How do we know that the new Freeholder has agreed to allow Peverel Retirement to collect the future GR.
Another Fine Mess?
Let us assume you do pay ground rent to Peverel.Retirement
On the assumption that at present they do not appear to know who the current freeholder is (as they have indicated to you) I don’t see how they could pass the ground rent payment on to?
Of course they may send the payment to the previous freeholder (who would not be entitled to the ground rent payment). In that case, I presume the new freeholder is going to send you a ground rent demand in the near future..
Naturally, you would want to get your money back from Peverel Retirement, but of course by the time that happened Peverel Retirement would not exist. It would have been supplanted by FirstPort Retirement (same owners but a new company)
Don’t you realise that Peverel have many many ‘companies’. They morph constantly. I worked for them and reported to residents in about 2006. It is alarming that the issues around in 2006-2008 when I was a development manager of good intent (it nearly killed me ) are still around and now, for goodness sake are finding it necessary to employ directors have three MP’s on the board no less and have applied for charitable status because of course nothing could be done though these MP’s without becoming a charity could it.
I am appalled that leaseholders, many of whom are well healed from my experience, now seek to become a charity. Meanwhile real tenants can be put on the street without a by your leave. Leaseholders are not ‘mere tenants’ at all and if you use this argument to gain charitable status then you are just as bad as Peverel and the like with their scams.
Not sure I understand your reasoning.
We seem to agree that fighting the commercial interests in leasehold is an unequal struggle, but charitable status is wrong because leaseholders do have an asset and are not short-term tenants.
Leasehold abuses are not the greatest injustices of this world, but they do involve powerful well-informed organisations bullying the many for their financial a profit. This has also involved deceiving the elderly, who cannot look after themselves. Doing something about this does involve unpaid, charitable work … and a lot of it. Why is it better not to have a charity? (The MPs named here have all done something about this sector in the past, as can be seen reading this site).
Thank you for the above report – as an individual struggling with Lambeth, do you suggest I merely write to the above (if so, how?) to try and ascertain what they have to say about my plight?