May 22, 2024

Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation at Number 10

Sebastian O'Kelly and Martin Boyd outside 10 Downing Street this afternoon

Sebastian O’Kelly and Martin Boyd outside 10 Downing Street this afternoon

LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation were invited to 10 Downing Street for a meeting this afternoon to discuss the leasehold sector and the need for reform.

Every area of the sector was discussed – including, at length, retirement housing – at a meeting that was held at the request of Sir Peter Bottomley, who was accompanied by Sebastian O’Kelly and Martin Boyd, of LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation.

Tomorrow, January 29, we are holding a meeting in Westminster of 70 leasehold “stakeholders” and politicians.

We are not going to report the Downing Street meeting in detail.

The reason for this is discretion, and because house builders’ lobbying – including that of retirement house builders – pervades every level of government and there is no advantage at all in discussing the matter publicly.

We referred, among other matters, to the calamitous Campaign for Housing in Later Life, in which AgeUK declined to participate, Shelter resigned and Peverel was sacked (for its Peverel / Cirrus cheating). The episode contrasts with reports into the retirement sector which ignore the delicate issue of its poor reputation among putative buyers.

Suffice to say, the LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation concerns were outlined, and we were heartened by the level of knowledge that was revealed.

The issues discussed included:

forfeiture, commonhold, re-sale values of retirement housing, poor reputation of retirement housing, Demos retirement housing report (funded by the House Builders Federation), developers selling freeholds as the “cherry on the cake”, ground rents, insurance commissions, the reason for large property management companies, the manner in which they gain contracts from developers, the opaque “trust” accounts they hold for leaseholders, the reasons why freeholders and their managing agents won’t confront developers over warranty/ snagging issues, the property tribunals, their cost regimes, issues in Witney of management charges and asset values. And, most importantly, the issue of retirement house managers’ flats: who owns them, why and is there any right to sell them off.

Following the meeting, LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation held another in Westminster itself with Solicitor-General Robert Buckland, Conservative MP for South Swindon.

Sir Peter Bottomley fires off a "selfie"

Sir Peter Bottomley inadvertently fires off a “selfie” in Downing Street

Mr Buckland has been a firm supporter of leaseholders in Swindon, and he has attended a number of LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation briefings at the Commons. He is well informed of LKP’s coverage of Bovis Homes dispensing with the services of Countrywide Estate Management.

LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation would like to acknowledge the role of Cherry Jones, of Swindon managing agent Home from Home Property Management for bringing the scandals in Swindon to national attention.

More information on these issues may be provided to LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation newsletter subscribers in restricted circulation.


  1. Michael Epstein says

    Would it be possible to re-publish the 2012 Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation article concerning Grant Shapps?

  2. Congratulations to both of you!

    Greatly look forward to hearing the next installment.

  3. Trevor Bradley says

    Yes, congratulations to Sebastian, Martin and all others involved. Sometimes, just sometimes, it seems that we are “moving forward”

  4. Many thanks for all you are doing to try and protect elderly leaseholders As we all know Pevere was thrown out by McCarthy & Stone early last year and McCarthy & Stone Management Services took over many developments It would be interesting to know how this is working and has there been any improvements My own personal experience has not been very good they are always going to do something but it rarely happens and they don’t like putting anthing in writing