May 29, 2024

Guardian reports Warner Court breaking free from FirstPort and Tchenguiz

The Guardian newspaper today reports the right to manage struggle at Warner Court in Camberley, Surrey, and its efforts to break free of the Tchenguiz / FirstPort management.

There has been a cascade of retirement right to manage applications this summer. Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation reports the issues of Warner Court here

Many retirement sites are seeing the advantage of breaking free of having FirstPort imposed on them by their Tchenguiz freehold owner. The Guardian points out that the interests of the Tchenguiz are ultimately controlled by the Tchenguiz Family Trust in the British Virgin Islands.

Sebastian O’Kelly, of LKP / Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation, is quoted in the article:

“The Tchenguiz organisation routinely opposes the move, sending an executive to the site to warn the pensioners about the complexity and responsibilities of opting for right to manage. It also frequently offers to replace FirstPort with another freeholder-appointed management service,” O’Kelly explains.

“The question anyone undecided about right to manage needs to ask is: If a site is being managed as economically and efficiently as possible for the benefit of the residents, why do Tchenguiz and FirstPort resist right to manage so determinedly?”

Any site considering right to manage may contact Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation for advice and guidance on achieving right to manage.

Residents controlling their own blocks of flats and appointing a property management company accountable to them is absolutely standard practice everywhere in the world … apart from England and Wales, which uniquely continue with residential leasehold.

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More on this article to follow …


  1. The Tchenguiz Organisation are not the only Leasehold Development who opposes the move of Right to Manage (RTM). Peverel Retirement have in the past used Regional Managers to warn the Residents, regarding RTM. They also mention the complexity and responsibilities of opting for RTM.

    We had mentioned the RTM in 2014 after the Area Manager had again failed miserably to manage our development. We had tried for 6 months to get the RM to visit to sort out the useless AM but he had refused to visit. One mention of RTM and he was on site in 10 days, explaining why we shouldn’t go down that road.

    He explained that developments had in the past chosen RTM, then begged Peverel a year later to take them back.

    This was of course a lie, Peverel were made to disclose this when challenged to provide the name of the development. Peverel apologised in the media for providing misleading and incorrect information.

  2. Michael Epstein says

    Let us not forget a common tactic employed by E&M on behalf of Fairhold/Proxima if they know they are about to loose yet another development managed by Firstport is to offer not to contest the RTM action, provided residents agree to appoint a management company of E&M’s choosing, which normally means Freemont Property Managers (whose directors are all former Peverel senior management ?

    • Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation says

      E&M always resist right to manage, but have yet to dispute a retirement RTM in tribunal (to our knowledge).

      E&M offer an alternative management company – Warwick Estates, Rendall & Rittner, and Freemont have all been mooted – but only as a means to calm the enthusiasm for RTM and, they hope, derail it.

      Once an RTM is formed it can appoint whoever it likes to manage the site.

      • Michael Epstein says

        Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation,
        You might like to know the Fairhold side of the freehold portfolio are in default of their loans and have triggered a swap agreement penalty and are under the stewardship of a loan manager. The Proxima portfolio that has yet to be sold off has had a new parent company created called Betelguese. Rothesay Life have invested 300m and lent Betelguese 650m over a 65 year term at an interest rate of 3.8%. Betelguese have also taken a 75% shareholding in E&M. Rothesay Life have fist call on any funds in the event of any liquidation.

  3. Michael Epstein says

    There was a wonderful case of a RTM carried out many years ago by residents for a development I sadly can’t remember the name of.
    Basically, the residents wanted rid of Peverel (what a surprise!). As is quite common a managing agent offered to conduct the RTM free of charge in exchange for a management contract.
    All went well. The RTM went through unopposed by both Peverel and E&M.
    The only “snag” was that the new managing agent “accidentally” forgot to disclose to the residents that they were part of the Peverel Group!

  4. Trevor Bradley says

    Many many thanks to the Guardian for an excellent exposure of these disgraceful people, Firstport, Tchenguiz, & Mc & Stone.
    (Note, I know M & C say they are “good boys” now but their earlier years actions, which they just walked away from, have left hundreds in despair and financial loss).
    I would love to be a fly on the wall this week.
    Come on The Guardian, keep these exposure articles coming. Also thanks to Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation for great on going support to so many that have been “had” by these dreadful people

    • I wonder if The Guardian will be interested in this from a Firstport Whistle Blower.

      1. Relief Deputy Manager
      It has been reported that Peverel/Firstport Retirement allocated the same proportion of holiday pay, pension and sick pay to all developments, that use the same Relief Manager.

      2. Discount Cards
      It was also reported that Peverel Retirement introduced Discount Cards where staff could get vouchers and money off, this was a cost to the company, costs was later also passed on to residents.

      3. Council Tax
      The council tax was always paid by the Residential House Managers, however once the flat was vacated Peverel began charging council tax through the Service Charges, without informing residents of the change.

      4. Water Rates
      Water rates have also been included and paid as part of Service Charges. Residents were informed it was necessary as drains in the development had to be paid for separately. This was an error made when the residents supply was delivered on one Metred Water Supply. When individual water supplies were introduced, each flat paid for their own but Peverel maintained the costs for the Residential House Managers flat. This cost attributed to residents should be re-funded, from the date the second Residential House Manager was appointed.

      5. House Managers Tablets
      These Tablets have been a disaster as many Development Managers are unable to get signals. They were also to be used for Works Orders for Contractors. This lack of signal resulted in many contractors not being paid on time. Residents still paying for the training

      6. Removal of Expenses Files
      News reached About Peverel that Firstport had removed all Documents/Expenses Files when Peverel changed names in 2015. We were informed these documents were to be archived. These documents would be needed by residents who are trying to achieve Right to Manage (RTM). Residents should ensure that “invoices” don’t suddenly vanish, some have been seen archived in Skips.

      Chas: Please feel free to use any of the above.

      Keep posting !!

  5. Michael Hollands says

    EAC now have Warner Court listed as being managed by M&S

    • Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation says

      It is not accurate.

      We don’t think they ever considered McCarthy and Stone Management, which only manages its own sites (we believe).

      We think (but we will check now) that they are being managed by Urban Owners, which is accredited to the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, having originally considered a local multi-portfolio lettings / estate / bock management agency.

      Urban Owners is an interesting company headed by Steve Wylie: it has done more right to manage applications than any other organisation in the country (around 450)

  6. Trevor Bradley says

    If it is correct that they have moved to being managed by M&S that is miles away from being the best choices that could have been made.