April 22, 2024

Elim Court pensioners must wait until New Year before hearing whether they are free of Gurvits

Pensioners at Elim Court in Plymouth must wait until the New Year to discover whether they were successful in yesterday’s LVT action to win right to manage from London freeholder / managing agent Joseph Gurvits.

It is the pensioners’ third attempt to mount a right to manage application, and the second to have come before a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal. The first failed on a technicality in December last year.

The majority of the residents want to remove Gurvits’ Y and Y property managers from the site, the freehold of which is owned with his associate Israel Moskovitz, who operates out of the same north London offices.

To the visible astonishment of the LVT, about 20 residents in their eighties and nineties attended the hearing at Plymouth University’s Rolle Building, along with a local journalist.

Justin Bates, landlord's barrister

Justin Bates, landlord’s barrister

Gurvits was represented by barrister Justin Bates, whose unsuccessful stratagems earlier this year in the Oakland Court case, Worthing, were criticised as “legal torture” in the House of Commons by local Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley. (Search Oakland Court on this site)

Bates argued that the pensioners’ claim was invalid because key documentation was incorrect. He told the tribunal that the original claim notices were not correctly served on tenants in eight flats who had pulled out of the Elim Court Right to Manage Company.

A ninth resident ceased to be a member of the company after she died, Bates added, but similar documentation required by law was never sent to the intermediate owner of her flat.

Mr Bates said the alleged errors were not just inaccuracies but “wholesale failures”, rendering the pensioners’ claim invalid.

But Margarita Mossop, a solicitor for the residents, said the company’s argument was “completely flawed”. She told the tribunal the original claim notice letters had been sent out correctly on behalf of the Elim Court Right to Manage Company.

Mr Bates responded by accusing the residents of “an attempt to rewrite history”.

Local Tory MP Oliver Colvile wrote to the LVT before the hearing expressing his support for the pensioners’ action. “In this case I am very supportive of the tenants and their right to manage application,” he wrote. “I believe that the residents are having numerous problems with the current management company and would like to appoint their own management company so that they can oversee them.”

LVT chairman Robert Batho said at the end of the four-hour hearing that the tribunal would return its judgement after Christmas.

“When we do make our decision, please understand that we are creatures of statute,” he said.



  1. Justin Bates,I am quite surprised he is representing the landlord. I have seen him on a Youtube video where he is complaining about abuses of leasehold. There are many, he implies. I hope the RTM new year wish will come true for the residents.
    And new management for them.

    • Mr Bates is like any barrister so represents his clients interests what ever they may be.
      The pity is Mr Bates is fully aware of what flaws exist in the law and where the loopholes hide and what needs fixing. But fixing those loopholes and errors would put him out of work.
      Mr Bates even argued at one of our cases that a fee for “pony grooming” could in theory be collectable as a service charge. We never worked out the logic of that argument at a Thames-side development in London, but assumed it was a humorous dare just to see what sort of comment he could make before a solicitor LVT chair without getting a slap on the wrist.

      Bates sales pitch on his RTM skills can be seen on this youtube video

      At about 3:50 he explains what has to be done to stop an RTM when he says:

      “and because it’s mechanistic you need to know where they [the leaseholders] can get it wrong if you’re a landlord to make sure you keep the right to manage out of your properties”

  2. The statutory right of leaseholders to set up a RTM company to take control of their own service charge account without proving any fault is given by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002. And this Act was passed by Parliament and commenced in 2004.

    If the claim form is signed by more than 50 per cent of leaseholders complying to Statutory Law, the court judge should respect the intention of Parliament and the wishes of the leaseholders to choose the managing agents who will hold their service charge funds.

  3. Lesley Newnham says

    Having undertaken RTM myself in my early sixties there is no way I would wish to be doing so in my eighties and give full credit to ALL leaseholders who have already done so. For those residents at Elim Court to be subjected to a FOUR HOUR LVT hearing and then have to wait until January for a decision is an absolute disgrace and further abuse in itself!!

    I found the comment made by Robert Batho in that the decision made will be as “creatures of statute” interesting. Does he mean by that it will be according to law? If so what a pity that statute law NEVER seems to be enforceable when it is in leaseholders favour!

  4. leninkster says

    Winston Churchill once said: “Never give in! Never, never, never, never, never, never! In nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”

    I’d like to add, “especially when they are apparently attacking the very fabric of decent and honest elements of society upon which our freedoms are based”.