July 20, 2024

Bottomley tells BBC he will fight on for leaseholders

BBCRadioSussexSir Peter Bottomley, newly re-elected for Worthing West, told the BBC this morning that he will fight as hard as he can for leaseholders who have been ripped off.

The interview on Brighton-based BBC Sussex also featured the retirement site Oakland Court where residents won a court case involving £137,000 paid in rent for the house manager’s flat over 25 years.

The case reported here involved the freeholder deploying every legal stratagem to frustrate the Worthing pensioners getting justice.

Sir Peter again referred to the “legal torture” that was involved.

John Fenwick, who led the residents to spectacular victory, was also interviewed. Oakland Court settled the case at £68,500 with the freeholders, a pension fund of the builder’s family.

Sir Peter said of ARMA-Q, the new ethical scheme for managing agents, that “it should have been brought in decades ago”.

“The majority of freeholders and managing agents are honest and respectable, but some aren’t,” said Sir Peter, but he also referred to criminality in the sector.

“We will fight as hard as we can for leaseholders who have been ripped off.”

The interviews can be heard here. Fast forward to 1:09:58.

The broadcast also featured interviews with Michelle Banks, of ARMA, and Sebastian O’Kelly, of Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation / LKP.

O’Kelly made the points that ARMA supports statutory regulation of managing agents and some of the largest property managers in the country have not signed up to ARMA-Q, its new tougher ethical scheme.

Sir Peter said ARMA-Q should have been introduced “decades ago”.

The CMA estimates that £3.5 billion of service charges are paid every year.


  1. Michael Epstein says

    Have I missed something here?
    Is it not the case that the property management company so heavily criticised at Oakland Court is in fact a member of ARMA-Q?

    • John Fenwick says

      Michael, Countrywide were the landlord’s managing agent from 1986 until early 2010. It was ARMA’s honorary solicitors who ran the case for the landlord and instructed Justin Bates.

    • Michael,

      Who are Countrywide and why would a Honorary Solicitor with ARMA be involved in this case.

      With the Managing Agents all wanting to join ARMA is there still a Queue?

  2. Michael Epstein says

    I am so very pleased Peter Bottomley is continuing his campaign for justice for leaseholders.
    Just one thing Peter, when you have succeeded any chance of doing something about the lights at the level crossing in Worthing? When the “Scourge of Peverel” wants a”99″ on the seafront, he does not want a red light at the crossing!

  3. Michael Hollands says

    The discussions on Radio Sussex this morning are well worth listening to. Sebastian, Sir Peter and Michelle Banks all gave their views. It can be heard via the Internet.
    Sebastian and Sir Peter emphasised the need for government regulation and Michelle insisted that ARMA Q is a good start.
    She did say if you are looking for a good management company, look for the ARMA Q logo.
    I would point out that McCarthy and Stone have achieved Q qualification but do not display the logo anywhere in their adverts or website. So they can’t be so enthusiastic about it.
    Also the biggest management company of all is Peverel/fFirst Port. After investigating them for the last 8 months the ARMA panel still cannot decide if they qualify. So I think ARMA need to get their act together before boasting too much about their Q qualification.

  4. Since when did McCarthy % Stone achieve ARMA-Q? This Retirement Company sold off most of their Developments in 2002, I believe.

    The development 300m from Ashbrook Court have one and two bed flats, some one beds were purchased for £138,000 now on the market for £75,000, what is wrong with these type of development that was built in 2004/05 and then sold to Fairhold using Peverel Retirement as Managing Agents.

    They have finally removed the House Manager at Denehurst, who had been on sick leave for over 6 months, now the Area Manager is on long term sick leave.

    So they like us have no House Manager and no Area Manager, who was promoted last year to Senior Area Manager and given other responsibilities and an increase in his development that he was responsible for.

    I hope ARMA reads this, as it is typical of how we have been treated by Peverel Retirement.

    • Michael Hollands says

      Chas, ARMA are qualified ARMA Q. It has been announced on ARMA Twitter and is mentioned by M&S, hidden amongst their questions and answers section on their website.
      M&S now manage all of their new developments and have done so for several years.
      Their old developments are still managed by Peverel/ First Port , unless of course they have been dismissed.

    • Michael Epstein says

      What about Churchill Retirement?
      How many residents are aware that they have just lent Flycorp Aviation £2.8m to buy a plane?
      Flycorp Aviation is registered at the same address as Churchill Retirement and share common directors.

      • Michael Hollands says

        Michael. I see that Flycorp Aviation is run by four of the McCarthy family who also are directors of Churchill Retirement.
        The same McCarthy’s who started McCarthy and Stone back in the 1980’s, and sold it off to the Tchenquiz brothers.
        It’s strange how the same old names keep cropping up, it’s a right merry go round and obviously still plenty of profits to be made.

        • Michael Epstein says

          Churchill Retirement must be making a mint. They have also paid a Polo Team that is 50% owned by Mr CJ McCarthy £450,000. The very same Polo Team appears to owe Churchill £136,000.

          • Michael Epstein says

            You should be aware that your plane is at risk if you do not keep up with Thrust, Altitude and Ideas.
            Perhaps in choosing a retirement development, potential residents may be advised to choose a less extravagant company than Churchill appear to be?
            I wouldn’t want service charges to become a Millstream around residents necks!

      • Trevor Bradley says

        Where would Churchill Retirement get £2.8 mill from to lend out – should the Sunday Mail not be investigating this

  5. Michael Epstein says

    Do you think ARMA will take note that £4.6m has been set aside by Peverel/Firstport to resolve “legacy issues” over a period of 5 years?
    Will they be content to admit a company to ARMA-Q before these legacy issues are resolved?

  6. Michael Epstein says

    I look forward to the BBC Radio New Milton debate on leasehold.
    Appearing for Peverel/Firstport will be Sue Petri and Claire Banwell-Spencer, and appearing for the regulator, ARMA, will be Sue Petri and Claire Banwell Spencer.

    • Trevor B says

      ME, that comment is indescribably brilliant. It should make front page newspaper headlines!

  7. Trevor B says

    I think Sir Peter B is doing a great job but regrettably I see ARMA Q as a total waste of time in defining trust and credibility of a company. Michelle Banks says if you are looking for a good management company, look for the ARMA Q logo – absolute rubbish bearing in mind some of the people that are already in the “club” Example – I have just noticed that Trinity Estates, Hemel Hempstead, who say they manage over 40,000 units brag on their website that they have received A Q accreditation.
    They manage an over 55s retirement complex in Warwickshire. After many complaints they have finally only recently produced the end of year accounts for year end March 2014, yes March 2014.
    Well if this type of service meets A Q how bad do you have to be not to get accreditation. Even the lease for the complex states accounts to be done by Sept of the same year.
    If you are looking for a good MA, ask Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation

  8. Paul Joseph says

    Having heard that Peter Bottomley was going to retire last time around I was surprised and pleased to read that he’d been re-elected. He is a beacon of integrity in a party that has had some serious shortcomings in that department, which has accepted six figure sums from the likes of Tchenquiz, and whose leader married into the Astor family, one of the largest freeholders in the country.

    We hear now a lot about “blue collar” conservatism, people owning their own homes and the like. What chance of the Conservatives reforming leasehold now?

    Somehow, I don’t think so, but I’d like to be surprised. In any case, Peter Bottomley’s return to parliament is much to be welcomed.

  9. Michael Epstein says

    Trevor B,
    Would it be a surprise to learn that a dissolved company has met the criteria for ARMA-Q accreditation?
    Whilst i acknowledge that ARMA-Q is a very small step in the right direction, without legislation it is meaningless.
    There is a myth that the worst excesses of property management companies/freeholders were from non- ARMA members. In fact some of the most dishonest companies hide themselves under the veneer of respectability that membership affords them.

  10. Trevor Bradley says

    For anyone that does not know, I can confirm that MEs above statement is 1,0000% correct

  11. Alex Ellison says

    I would endorse Paul Joseph’s view that Sir Peter Bottomley is a beacon of integrity within the leasehold world that is full of so much wrongdoing. I am living in the hope that ARMA’s independent regulators will insist that companies about which there is evidence of wrong doing are not accredited. ARMA is currently investigating evidence I have put before it about Peverel’s acquisition of house manager flats and its attempts to get possession of them. It has been a long and demoralising journey over the last two years to follow and comply with the complaints procedures set by others, taking the matter firstly to the Peverel Complaints Panel chaired by Chris Owens and then to ARHM. It was their complete whitewashing of the facts that made me determined I will not let the issue rest until this matter is treated with the seriousness it deserves. Once ARMA has ruled on my complaint I will release all the information I have and it will make interesting reading.

  12. Paul Joseph says


    That’s welcome news. If all of the truth about Peverel were to appear online at once I wonder if that would be a survivable event. I know of a good number of sites where confidentiality agreements have been signed as part of settlements for egregious wrongdoing. Had that not been the case this company would have been toast long ago, quite deservedly. As it is, they are planning to escape the consequences of some possible legal actions, some of which I believe they haven’t anticipated, or have considered a low risk (some surprises may await). The provisions made may be rather low. Meanwhile, Peverel, and FirstPort with it, will forever be associated with fraud, dishonesty, and conflict of interest. That’s in addition to incompetence. As for value for money… this is a company that has depended on freeholder appointments and which has increased its charges relentlessly as it has cut staff and services and as it has lost sites. The burden of supporting the interest payments on the debts is falling increasingly on those unable to escape. Somehow the idea of following a complaints procedure with such an enterprise seems a little surreal. But if you can demonstrate that it was a pillar of falsehood all along that would be a public service.

  13. Trevor Bradley says

    Well said and well done Alex. I endorse everything you say.
    I sincerely hope that ARMA’s independent regulators not only insist that companies about which there is evidence of wrong doing are not accredited, I firmly believe that criteria should be applied to the individuals who were involved in these companies as well. Even if they are now employed, or running another company. They should never be allowed to work in this type of employment again.
    It is a national disgrace that Alex, along with so many others, have to spend so much time and effort, along with all the worry and stress fighting such issues that should never be allowed