May 29, 2024

Leaseholders’ meeting this evening in Worthing (July 25)

John Fenwick and Sebastian O’Kelly

John Fenwick, who won the £137,000 LVT action at Oakland Court in Worthing, and Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation chairman Sebastian O’Kelly are to address an open meeting for leaseholders on July 25.

The event takes place at 6.15pm on Wednesday evening at the Chatsworth Hotel and all are welcome.

Fenwick, 65, will tell how he managed to mobilise the other residents and successfully fight his landlord over £137,000 paid in notional rent for the house manager’s flat.

The dispute, which is shortly to be settled, was a fantastic and inspiring Leasehold Valuation Tribunal case for all leaseholders.

Sir Peter Bottomley, the local MP criticised the “legal torture” the pensioners faced at the hands of lawyers who had used every stratagem to prevent the case being heard. He said of Fenwick that he deserves a “community medal”.

Sebastian O’Kelly says: “The Oakland Court case shows what can be achieved by residents, many in their eighties and some in their nineties, if they co-operate and fight back.

“It was marvelous that this result was followed by the £11,500 victory at Strand Court, in Rye, where Eric Matthews, aged 94, a former wartime squadron leader with fighter command, and Archie White, 87, made a stand.

“I think the tectonic plates are shifting. Grant Shapps is set against regulation of managing agents, but there will be reforms of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunals. The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has taken an interest in this dysfunctional area of his ministry, Shapps, too, has hinted at reform and the Ministry of Justice is undertaking consultations to reform the LVT process.

“An urgent requirement is to carry out what legislators intended with the no fault process of right to manage: unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary, it should be approved.

“The two cases above were wonderful victories, but it is thoroughly depressing that at Kingsmere, in Brighton, residents have been hit with a £30,000 legal bill after a ‘right to manage’ failed.” Full report here

The evening event, called “Everything you wanted to know about owning your flat but were afraid to ask!” is being organised by the publication News on the Block.

Wednesday 25 July 2012, at 6.15pm – 8pm, The Chatsworth Hotel, Steyne, Worthing, BN11 3DU. The event is free.