May 2, 2016

Latest news

After 30 years, can’t FirstPort contracts go out to tender? And, what’s happened to the chairman of LEASE?

At the Carlex / LKP roundtable at Westminster yesterday there were a couple of interesting questions from attendees. One gentleman asked: “I own a portfolio of [50] retirement properties. Most are in sites that were built by McCarthy and Stone and are managed by FirstPort formerly Peverel formerly etc … “In almost all these cases […]

Woodchester Valley Village: How we turned a disaster into the first mutually owned retirement village

MPs were told yesterday of how residents took control of a bankrupt retirement village, raised £2 million and turned it into the first mutually owned retirement site in the country. Professor Peter Wilson told the Carlex / LKP roundtable, hosted by the charity’s MP patrons Jim Fitzpatrick and Sir Peter Bottomley, that the initiative was […]

No more think tank ‘research’ into retirement housing paid for by housebuilders, please

The Westminster roundtable heard yesterday that think tank ‘research’ paid for by housebuilders or their trade bodies routinely avoided all reference to problems in the retirement housing sector. The event was organised by Carlex / LKP, and hosted by the charity’s MP patrons Jim Fitzpatrick and Sir Peter Bottomley, and was attended by 50 leasehold […]

Bob Bessell hands £7 million of retirement freeholds to the residents

… and the housebuilder wants an end to ‘feudal’ ground rents, too! Bob Bessell, founder of housebuilder Retirement Security, yesterday pledged to leave his freehold portfolio – worth £7 million – in a trust controlled by the pensioner residents at his sites. The undertaking was made at a Westminster roundtable organised by Carlex / LKP […]

Carlex Westminster roundtable on retirement housing

On April 28 there will be a Carlex roundtable on retirement housing at Westminster. The purpose is inform MPs of the issues in retirement housing, and to suggest how it could be further improved. There have already been shifts in position by retirement housebuilders: 999 year leases are becoming more widespread, and some retirement providers […]

Tatton Court latest Cheshire site seeking to dump Tchenguiz / FirstPort

Tatton Court is the latest Cheshire retirement site wanting to be rid of the FirstPort / Tchenguiz management which dominates private retirement housing. “We feel that you are being deliberately awkward in blocking our claim,” the RTM directors write to Estates and Management, the Tchenguiz company that manages his freehold portfolio. “We also feel that […]

BBC Radio 4 on housing association leasehold … and a German asks: is it safe to buy a flat in London?

Housing association leasehold featured on the BBC Radio 4 consumer show You and Yours today … and LKP managed to make a case for commonhold as an alternative. Click here to listen at 18.20 minutes in The programme concerned Pam Pearson, a leaseholder whose flat was left cold and damp after a cavity wall outfit […]

20 MPs sign up to All-Party Parliamentary Group on leasehold and commonhold

Just before Easter it was decided to form an All-Party Parliamentary Group on residential leasehold and commonhold. It is proposed that the chairmen will be jointly Sir Peter Bottomley and Jim Fitzpatrick, both patrons of LKP, and LKP will provide the secretariat. So far 20 MPs and Lords have signed up to join the group, […]

Carlex tells Parliament: ‘feeling in retirement leasehold is that the bad guys always win’

Last Wednesday saw a session of Lord Best’s All Party Parliamentary Group on retirement housing and care. Sebastian O’Kelly, trustee of Carlex / LKP, made the following points about private leasehold retirement housing to the APPG: In part, the elderly are not downsizing to retirement housing because they think they will be cheated, and they […]

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Housing and Care 21: We’ve made a mess at Ashfield, so manage the site yourselves

Housing and Care 21 handed over the management to residents at Ashfield, a retirement site in Telford in Shropshire, after admitting that it had been badly run. For the past three months, the complex of 26 semi and detached bungalows with a community centre and flat above has been self-managed by the residents through a […]

LKP / Carlex suggestions prompt amendments to Housing Bill

The House of Lords today discussed LKP suggested amendments to the Housing Bill to increase fairness for leaseholders. Proposed by Lord Young of Cookham – better known as the former Conservative MP Sir George Young – the first of his two amendments aimed to “level the playing field—which is currently tilted in favour of freeholders—for […]

Spot the difference: questions to LEASE, questions to Carlex / LKP

The Leasehold Advisory Service has produced its top 20 list of most frequently asked questions. They seem to be more anodyne and uncontroversial than the sort that we routinely receive, so we have decided to do our own list below. Unlike LEASE, we have no interest in trying to square a circle and demonstrate that […]

Average non-retirement service charges are £1,863, but rise to £2,777 for new builds

The average annual property service charge in Britain is £1,863The service charges for new builds are 96 per cent higher than older properties and average £2,777 Ground rents are on average £371 a year for new build and £327 for pre-2016 properties. A third (33 per cent) of management companies have increased service charges in […]

The Homestead next on FirstPort’s list to flog the house manager’s flat

Residents at The Homestead, a complex of 31 flats in Lytham St Anne’s, is the latest retirement site where FirstPort is angling for the sale of the house manager’s flat. The site was built in 1986, but almost certainly a lease was issued on the house manager’s flat in 2009, when Tchenguiz was stripping value […]

Regulator to rule on whether scandal-hit Peverel / FirstPort Retirement is fit to be a member of ARMA

FirstPort Retirement, formerly Peverel, should not be admitted to ARMA because it has an unaccounted-for portfolio of house managers’ flats and has a track record of misleading residents when trying to sell them. These were the arguments put on Monday to Keith Hill, a former New Labour housing minister, who is the regulator of ARMA […]

The grass is greedier … with the Flagship Housing Association

The Flagship Housing Association is accused of racking up maintenance fees for grass cutting by 150 per cent at Danforth Close, Framlingham, in Suffolk. Diana Cook, 69, says she and other residents at the 12-flat block will be paying £150 each a year – up from £40 at present. Maintaining the grounds will risen from […]

Avoid this poisoned chalice from Tchenguiz

A tactic to undermine residents’ right to manage ambitions by Estates and Management – which manages the various freehold vehicles of the Tchenguiz Family Trust, based in the British Virgin Islands – is to offer to dump FirstPort and replace it with another management company. And here they are: CPBigwood, Inspired Property Management, Warwick Estates […]

If you want to reform leasehold, this is how you could do it

The paper below by Philip Rainey QC was presented to the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership’s all-party round-table meeting at Westminster on January 29 2015. It is a superb analysis of the defects of leasehold law, along with suggestions to reform them. Mr Rainey makes clear that these views are not necessarily wholly, or even in part, […]

No thanks! We don’t want to inherit Brook Court flat with all its service charges

A family does not want to inherit a retirement flat because it is now worthless and would come with service charge liabilities. The flat at Brook Court in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, is advertised for sale at £97,500 here The flat is owned by an elderly woman, who has dementia and has been in care for more […]

LEASE: We need to make a million quid a year by 2020

The Leasehold Advisory Service conference 2016 The annual conference of the Leasehold Advisory Service saved until the last moment its most dramatic bombshell: by the year 2020 LEASE needs to be self-financing. The Department of Communities and Local Government, on which LEASE is dependent, is facing 30 per cent cuts in budget. This inevitably means […]

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