July 19, 2024

FirstPort backs down over demanding £10,808 from leaseholder … and she is not staying silent either

PheonixHouseLeicesterA leaseholder at Phoenix House in Leicester has fought off demands for £10,808.60 from Peverel / FirstPort, represented by the debt-collecting solicitors JB Leitch.

Jacqueline Henderson has been in dispute over service charges since 2010, which she claims are erroneous.

After attempting to obtain the money for some time, FirstPort then threw in the towel and suggested that Ms Henderson sign a Tomlin agreement and confidentiality clause.

The precise background to the dispute is unknown, but not Ms Henderson’s feelings on the matter.

A recent reply to FirstPort rejecting its suggestion to countersign a letter closing the matter reads:

“How dare you suggest that I’m disadvantages other leaseholders.

“I have won over £40,000 applied through either individual accounts or development bank account.”

“You have done your best to bully me by taking me to court and sign a Tomlin order. I refused.

“You then said you will write off full balance if all my existing claims or concerns are written off. I refused. Your suggestion of me taking legal action I have taken on board

“I have some advice also: are you sure that JB Leitch are the correct team to take anyone to court?”

A letter from Jonathan Astle, a regional director, reads:

“After repeated attempts by our solicitors to encourage repayment of these debts, we sadly felt our only remaining option was to institute recovery proceedings in court. However, with input from the landlord, it was then decided to try to settle matters directly with you in the best interests of all involved, including the other leaseholders.

“I am hugely disappointed that you have not yet accepted this offer, which would have allowed us all to move forwards in focusing wholly on the needs of the development and its residents, which is what we think matters most. The solicitors sought your acceptance of a standard agreement in such matters, which I understand you are still refusing to sign.

“This situation clearly cannot persist as it is disadvantaging everyone involved, not least the other residents. As a gesture of goodwill so that we can now all move forwards more positively, I have decided on the following course of action as our final position on this matter.

“We will write-off the full current balance of £10,808.60 from your account on the basis that you accept this offer in full and final settlement of all of your existing concerns and that you will ensure that all future service charge dues will be paid in full by the due date.

“This offer is given without prejudice and is non-negotiable to draw this long standing dispute to a suitable close.

In addition, FirstPort sent the following statement to Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation / LKP:

“The scale of Ms Henderson’s debts have put a considerable strain on the development’s finances, and following a fresh review by our new Chief Executive and Chairman, we concluded the legal costs of pursuing the matter further would add an unacceptable financial burden to the other leaseholders.

“We have also spent the last four years repeatedly going over Ms Henderson’s concerns, and have reached the conclusion she is so entrenched that she will not accept our position no matter how much evidence is presented to her.

“With this in mind, we feel the best course of action for the development and its leaseholders is to draw this dispute to a conclusion by writing off her arrears as a bad debt.

“We can confirm the development was managed by Solitaire Property Management Company until it became part of the Peverel Group in mid-2008. From 6 January 2011, all properties managed by Solitaire Property Management were transferred to other Peverel Group businesses and the Solitaire brand name ceased to apply to any of Peverel’s activities.

“Neither FirstPort nor Knight Square are freehold-owning companies.”


  1. j.henderson says

    Johnathan Castle’s response to Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation is truly amazing. It has taken over 4 years due to the false and misleading information I have received from on property management/solitaire/peverel/first port or any other name they keep changing to. A week before the court case I sent an email to the equity company advising them to read my defence as I knew there was no case. On Feb 2nd 2015 I attended Leicester County Court for 10.30am hearing. J.B.Leitch solicitor approached with a Tomlin Order,I refused to sign as it required me to keep my mouth shut about my defence and not pursue all ongoing charges which the development is still owed. It all stated I would be responsible for all my legal charges. I have never ever used a solicitor and prepared all court papers myself, this was because I had no need of one as I knew I would easily win. J.B Leitch costs were over £6,000 plus an additional £1,500 that had been charged to my account. After I refused they gave me a Notice of Discontinue.
    In the last 4 months I have emailed and rang to have monies paid back. Johnathan Castle’s and Chris Owens ignored everything. I rang equity company after the 4 months and got a response from Chris Owens the next day! Over next week Johnathan Castle’s then sent me a form to sign to say they would not only pay monies won back from court case but would also clear my account to zero if I agreed not to pursue historical charges. I refused. As of today my account is clear!
    I have been accused by Johnathan Astle and Chris Owens of depriving other leaseholders of much more needed funds. I have over the ten emails stating above in one form or another. Nothing could be further from the truth .I have won over £40,000 which has been repaid. I even bothered to win back £4,600 for them when I knew my share was going to be nothing,I actually received £2.72. This is a tiny development, there are only ten flats and a commercial unit. Since the court case I have sent over twenty emails requesting information due to me and monies owed. Chris Owens has emailed at least three times saying nothing to do with him and he has forwarded to Complaints Dept and if I send any more to him he will refuse to reply. I have won so much back which is a lot more than I owe and I’m getting sick and tired that it is me causing problems for other leaseholders when clearly they have done everything in their power to rip them of.
    As to the comment by Johnathan Astle that it was written off as a bad debt to save leaseholders money.This is a huge joke.They knew they couldn’t win court case and in

  2. j.henderson says

    I shall be posting shortly on the many frauds and deception I have uncovered. This will include BCH, Oval,J.B.Leitch and Cirrus. This effects not just my development but probably their whole portfolio. It is not just Chris Owens who is liable for looking the other way but in at least two emails he has assured me that the CEO and chairman are fully aware of entire events and he has their full support.

  3. Michael Epstein says

    I am confused by the actions of Peverel/Firstport and the response of Jonathan Astle in particular.
    Whatever the origins of the dispute, presumably the freeholder was confident enough of their case to instruct Peverel/Firstport to initiate legal action.
    Yet immediately before the court hearing, owing to the input of the freeholder the action was dropped.
    Oddly, Mr Astle cannot give the name of the person representing the freeholder who initiated and halted proceedings. Since only two employees are registered working for the freeholders, this should not be too difficult..
    Either JH should have paid the money claimed or she should not have paid it?
    If the former, why stop legal action and if the latter why write the money off as a “bad debt”(since no debt exists?)
    Would either Mr Owens or Mr Astle be prepared to assure all other “customers” that despite J.H’s further claims, that there is no justification for her claims, and no further funds will be credited to the service charge trust accounts?

  4. I got my 10% from revaluation. All other developments need to claim back. This amounts to hundreds and thousands back.

  5. Very difficult when you are up against a multi millionaire company and their solicitors are threatening you with a bill which is even more than the money you owe in service charges. It is very scary but I stood my ground for last 4 years and I won!!!

  6. Jacq,
    Your informatin is like gold dust to us poor pensioner residents. Please send me copy of Peverel Scams we can add to already, to go list and give names.

    Well done you are a star.

  7. nschwars says

    First port seem to be doing this at the great baddow site too.

    They have taken action against me for not paying charges I don’t owe as I have been paying every two months their fees. They don’t even ( first port) give residents annual account statement to justify the money they claim I owe.

    Any thoughts? Please help

    n s

  8. NS,
    Admin has my contacts, I will try and help.

    What is the developments name?
    Where is it?
    Who are the Managing Agents?
    Who is House/Area/Regional Managers?

    Is Peverel Retirement involved?
    Has Chris Owens being involved?

    Either comment here or send me an email.