April 24, 2024

Kelston Gardens: should we buy?

KelstonGardensmainA Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation reader has been in touch asking for information about Kelston Gardens, in Weston-super-Mare, where she is trying to buy a freehold bungalow but is now getting cold feet.

She says: “There are lots of leasehold areas including strips of pathways outside the gardens. We cannot get to the bottom of who owns what and we are concerned that someone could at some stage demand payment for access via a ransom strip to the house.”

FirstPort is managing the site for Retirement Care, which is part of the Tchenguiz organisation, meaning the admin is handled by Estates and management.

“Our solicitor has done her best but there are gaps and uncertainties. My question now is what should we be most cautious about, as we are aged 70 and don’t have enough money to make a bad purchase?

Kelston Gardens Residents Company Limited seems to be responsible for contracting the services for the maintenance of Kelston Gardens’ leasehold areas eg roads and pathways, but this information is at odds with other information from another company called Retirement Care (BH) Ltd.

“Their agents First Port seem to be running everything but again who authorises the work/budgets etc is unclear to us as potential residents. Length of lease, legal rights to use common areas. So far our solicitor has been unable to get clarification or documentation.

“There is a list of dos and don’ts from them in the deeds, including no alterations/extensions to be made to the external parts of the property. The property we intend to purchase has had a conservatory added but there is no proof or approval documents available from FirstPort or the seller, which could cause yet another problem.”

Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation: Too true. Here Tchenguiz demanded £5,000 and Peverel / FirstPort would not allow the house manager to confirm that the conservatory had been built years before by a previous owner

(Incidentally, Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation never received a word of thanks for assistance given to this family.)

“There is also confused information supplied to our solicitor about the service fees and what they do and don’t cover from FirstPort. And there doesn’t seem to any representation of the actual residents at this estate.

“It is looking increasingly as if we should just walk away from this, but we are making one final stab at trying to get some light shed on any of these issues and your help would be greatly appreciated as you can imagine.”

Does anyone know anything about this site?

It appears there may even be a residents’ management company. If so, FirstPort could be given the push and the scope for the freeholder to monetise would be reduced.


  1. Michael Epstein says

    Clearly, it must be your choice. However, if you want peace of mind than you should walk away. As i understand it, the land you refer to is part of a debenture to Rothesay Life.

    • Thank you for the info. Although we are 99% certain that we will not buy now, I hope others might benefit from our bad experience

  2. Look up Companies House Beta Service, for Kelston Gardens Residents Company Ltd (02436005) which gives information of the Directors. They ought to be able to supply further information.

    • Thank you for your comment. We had already done that and it was one of the reasons for contacting Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation for their help.

  3. Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation am I being Censored???

  4. Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation Reader,

    I would speak to Norman Greed who lives in Weston.

    Ask him on this site to suggest for you any help he may add. Norman has been a shinning light regarding the workings of Peverel Retirement, as Firstport was called, before they changed their name.

    Peverel Retirement were caught Price Fixing and Colluding with others to cheat pensioners out of:-
    £1.4 million pounds over the period from 2005 to 2009.

    The Conservative Government are aware of what went on, but do little?

    You, very wisely, have asked questions, if you wish I will contact you and provide further information.

  5. We are now 99.9% certain that we are not going to buy the property as it is too risky. But we will contact norman as it is important that our conveyancing solicitor in Weston is aware of everything that relates to Kelston gardens in case she gets another potential buyer. Thank you.

  6. Michael Epstein says

    Danusia highlights one of the great problems owners have with leasehold. It was for the solicitor to flag this situation up. That is what they are paid for. But they don’t. Nor do eager new build salesman. Recently a potential purchaser of a new build house was told service charges for surrounding land was “not worth worrying about as it was only around £5 per month”

    • Michael,
      I live on a similar development in that almost all the properties are freehold. The Resdents Company Ltd own the freehold of all the common parts and the freehold of the three flats that are on the site. We have a Lease ( Management Agreement ? ) which states this fact. Surely the Kelston Gardens Residents Company should have a similar lease in their possession stating exactly who owns what ?

  7. Paul Joseph says

    If you don’t know who owns what and how the budget is set and expenditure approved: avoid. like. the. plague.

    Are there “event fees”?
    Deferred service charges?
    Do you have children who will be liable for the service charges and forced to sell at a thumping loss?

    Your best bet is to buy freehold or share of freehold. Full stop.

  8. Trevor Bradley says

    Danusia, please please walk away from this purchase. Trust me, you do not want the problems I know that will be experienced. I have much experience in FREEHOLD management of over 55s apartments and there is something definitely not right here to confirm it is safe to purchase.
    I never get involved with managing leasehold or 99% of the companies and their senior directors/employees who do. Most of them are a disgrace to a decent society
    The only safe purchase is when all the residents actually own the Freehold of the complete site, buildings, roads, gardens etc. When this is in place the residents will have formed a company and their elected directors, along with a managing agent appointed by the residents/directors will manage it. Accounts would be published by their own named company.
    If this was the case at Weston there is no way they would have FirstPort, Retirement Care, E & M involved as they are all bad news.
    As said something is not right here. Walk away.
    Kelston Gardens Residents Company Ltd is dormant according to Companies House. There are “accounts” but zero monies showing everywhere.
    Take good advice from Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation and other posters, especially Michael Epstein.
    I know its a shame for people trying to sell these leasehold properties, my 95 year old mother has been in one for 25 years (ex Mcarthy Stone), the worst thing we ever did, so I am in the same boat when the inevitable happens.

    • Trevor,,
      Our Residents’ Company Ltd, was set up as.a dormant Company. We do have to submit ‘ nil ‘ accounts each year to Companies House.

      • Trevor Bradley says

        Jane, what is the name of the company that owns the Freehold and who are the owners/directors of that company.
        Do you pay any yearly ground rent, if so to whom.
        Who is the managing agent and were they appointed by the residents
        Which companies directors instruct the Managing agents on the running of the site
        Who are the managing agents. Thank you

        • Trevor,
          The Residents’ Company Ltd own the freehold of all the common parts and the freehold of the three flats, which includes HM flat. The remaining properties are all freehold. The two leaseholders do not pay ground rent, just the service charge.
          Lansdown Homes set up the original 999 year lease for Retirement Care to manage the development, now FirstPort. We have directors of the Residents’ Company but their input is limited because of the terms of the Management Lease.

  9. Trevor Bradley says

    Thank you for the reply Jane. Quite interesting. I hope all goes well for you all. Regrettably it is not FULL Freehold as one would interpret “Owning the Freehold”.
    For complete safety and being in total control, which you confirm you are not, it needs to be a set up as described in my post 1st Dec. However, all info is helpful in these matters. Thank you

  10. Any development managed by First Port you need to runaway from immediately!!

  11. Trevor
    I must absolutely agree with Jacq if anyone I knew was ever thinking of purchasing any sort of property and it meant having FirstPort as the service managers I would certainly put them off for life they could organise a drink in a brewery ,and that’s being polite and I should know ,I have been in a M&S built apartment with Fairhold Home as landlords and “old Peverel ” and “new FirstPort” as our appointed service managers ha ha ha ha excuse me but their all
    laughable !!!!