December 8, 2022

March news headlines

31.03.12 – Lords to debate leasehold abuses

The House of Lords is to debate residential service charges next month.

The move comes from Baroness Gardner (left) following meetings with Melissa Briggs and Sebastian O’Kelly, of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, in February.

Baroness Gardner, a former Westminster councillor who as an Australian comes from a country where English leasehold law was uprooted, has raised the issue of leasehold abuses several times in the past.

She is particularly interested in examples of money being pocketed by freeholders or managing agents charges – such as insurance and energy commissions (see below) –  without leaseholders’ knowledge.

Baroness Gardner will be raising to wider public awareness the staggering LVT rulings at prime riverside developments in London in recent months.

The £1 million payment residents at St Georges Wharf, Vauxhall, and the devastating LVT ruling against Estates and Management at Charter Quay, Kingston, is likely to form part of of her evidence.

Likewise, the rapacious stealth charges inflicted on pensioners living in retirement developments.

The debate is scheduled for April 23.

Managing agents offered ‘incentives’ up to £250,000 to place gas and electricity contracts – spending your money!

A company offering bungs to managing agents if they sign up for new gas and electricity supplies is being touted to … all the members of the Association of Residential Managing Agents!

An outfit called Energy Renewals is offering what it politely terms “incentive payments” of between £3,000 and £50,000 a year.

Major corporate clients – such as the larger, national managing agents – can do better still with payments of £50,000 to £250,000.

And the brilliant thing about it is that the leaseholders don’t have to be told anything about these payments and can be relied upon to keep paying up in blissful ignorance.

The incentives – which are rewards for spending other people’s money – can go straight into the pockets of managing agents, or freeholders.

 

The scope for these rake-offs is huge. Larger developments can spend £50,000 a year on communal electricity, and the heating bills will be considerable as well.

Leaseholders will be staggered to learn these “incentives” are being touted by ARMA only a month after former civil servant Michelle Banks took over as the new chief executive promising a new ethical regime.

Banks, formerly of the Department of Communities and Local Government, is supposedly developing “an enhanced self-regulatory scheme” at the tainted organisation.

It is doubly unfortunate that ARMA is promoting the “incentives” in the same month that the London Assembly issued a hard-hitting report on leasehold service charges, called Highly Charged, which condemned just these sort of kick-backs.

Energy Renewals is sponsoring ARMA’s annual conference in the autumn, and this sweetener will be cheering news for managing agents whose leaseholders have got wise to the great insurance swindle.

LKP has reported in the past that managing agents and freeholders can skim off up to 50 per cent in insurance commission – without leaseholders, who are presented with the bill, knowing anything about it.

Now along comes another incentive payment – or bribe, in common language – of which managing agents have no obligation to inform leaseholders and a huge vested interest to keep quiet.

In response to the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation campaign and big money scandals uncovered at LVTs – including the £1 million pay-back to residents at St George’s Wharf, in Vauxhall – ARMA announced ARMA-Q, an attempt to provide ethical backbone for the trade body.

Outgoing chief executive David Hewett declared that this would be Banks’ first task at the organisation.

Allowing Energy Renewals to tout for business in this fashion is a depressing debut.

27.03.12 Grant, you’ve got a problem!

Prompted by an invitation by Housing Minister Grant Shapps, three representatives of Leasehold Knowledge Partnership had a positive meeting with the Department of Communities and Local Government today.

The department was eager to learn more about LKP and its fast-growing accreditation scheme.

The meeting dwelt at length on the origins of LKP – which began with the Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation campaign – and why such an organisation is necessary.

As well as the national scandal of stealth charges in retirement developments, the department was reminded of the massive LVT settlements at prime London riverside developments, and strong criticisms of the freeholders who appoint themselves as managing agents, insurance brokers, CCTV providers and the rest.

The  London Assembly’s hard-hitting report Highly Charged shows that other branches of government are taking leasehold issues extremely seriously.

Shapps is reportedly in touch with the LA and wants to meet for talks about this.

Developers are distancing themselves from the familiar offenders – big managing agents who were handed out vast numbers of leasehold units to manage during the boom years, and lost no opportunity to load service charges, insurance commissions and numerous other extras.

LKP made clear its views on the feeble codes of practice of trade bodies such as ARMA or RICS. The former has been particularly craven by declining to name one single managing agent who has been expelled from the organization for malpractice – or failing to pay its ARMA subs – over the past 10 years.

The consumer-driven approach of LKP was made clear.

It was accepted that LKP would be consulted along with the trade bodies in future discussions of leasehold issues.

The department argued that the record sums paid to London riverside leaseholders may indicate that the present system functions. But all the leaseholder actions have cost tens of thousands of pounds and have involved highly successful professional residents living in owner-occupied blocks.

The young homeowner, probably living in a block with many rental properties, is extremely vulnerable and most simply sell up and leave a block where rip-off practices prevail.

23.03.12 Please note there are three new forums

There is a lot of debate about whether house managers should be resident, non-resident, full time or part-time.  Opinions vary widely depending on the age of the residents, their degree of active living/independence etc.  They usually work a maximum of 9 – 5 under current working time directives.  Is employing a house manager dedicated to your site a success? Do you consider this represents good value for money? Is there general agreement on the subject amongst all the residents in your block? Is there a detailed job description in place for this position? Please leave your views on the forum.

The second new forum concerns the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.  We are hoping to gain an insight into leaseholder’s experience at the LVT prior to our meeting with two of the senior management of the RPTS who run the LVT.

The third new forum concerns the Right to Manage. Please leave your comments there with regard to your opinion of this legislation, whether you are in a mixed development so you are prevented from using this process and if you have been successful and how have a new managing agent, we would like to hear about that too.

Please add your comments via the Forum section.  It only takes a moment to register if you have not already done so.

New press article from the Daily Mail loaded on our Press page re Choices for Retirees.

22.03.12 LKP meets East Anglia managing agents

Leasehold Knowledge Partnership this week toured East Anglia and met promising managing agents to discuss their way of doing business and the LKP accreditation scheme.

In Cambridge it met chartered surveyor Jeremy Wager, of Cambridge Property Management. In the new town of Cambourne, west of Cambridge, developers handed over the management of their schemes to Peverel, Trinity and Mainstay.

LKP also met Stephen Chard and Neil Robinson of Encore, which has 7,000 units under management in Cambridge, Ipswich, London and, within the last nine months, Nottingham and Bedford.

Stephen and Neil were large-scale residential property investors and founded Accent, which they since sold. Encore is a major property manager in Cambridge and has recently won the management of a new 200 unit Berkeley Group scheme.

In Norwich,  Guy Hudson, a multi buy-to-let landlord, set up Norwich Residential Management at the converted resident scheme Paper Mill Yard following appalling experience of national managing agents: soaring service charges, poor maintenance and ever changing property managers (who had no experience of maintenance).

With 1,500 units under management, he has won the contract to manage Taylor Wimpey’s NR1, which is on the opposite side of the river.

At Bury St Edmunds, father and son Derek and Daniel Wilson have run Temples Property Management for a number of years.

“If you explain the lease to people and the charges beforehand you will avoid having arguments in a year’s time,” says Daniel, who claims not to have lost the management of a block. “It costs me far less to keep people and ensure that they are happy than it would do to go out and get new business.”

All exhibited ways of doing things that are quite at the opposite end of the moral spectrum from … well, the usual.

RPTS/LVT meeting

A meeting with Siobhan MacGrath and Chief Executive of the RPTS (Residential Property Tribunal Service/LVT) is being arranged for April to discuss issues regarding the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal service that many leaseholders find expensive and difficult to contend with, despite its initial aims.

16.03.12 Leasehold Law history published on LKP website

See www.leaseholdknowledge.com for LKP’s accreditation news updated today with more companies approaching LKP with regard to achieving accreditation. New webpage also loaded for Hunter Grey.

LEASE Conference

Melissa Briggs has been formally invited to attend the LEASE conference in May.  This will give leaseholders a proper representative and possibly a voice!

Peverel Sale Saga – questions arising

Peverel still seem a little slow on getting up to speed themselves with the administration caused by  their multiple company name changes. Their privacy statement has not been updated to say Peverel Services and their websites seem to be unconnected.  Is there going to be an implication in the tripartite leases with them no longer having Peverel Ltd as the relevant company?

For the financially minded among us, who wants to join a possible treasure hunt – could someone look into where the £595 million loan due to Peverel Ltd has gone as it seems to have disappeared as a potential asset under the administrator’s latest report?

Peverel CV’s and who actually works for who?

Since Janet joined last week, Peverel have gone through various iterations regarding names, and she has been contacted by many many leaseholders. Her replies are very carefully worded and safe, and do not commit her to anything except for looking into the situation.  Reading Keith’s blog, it is difficult to understand whether he works for Janet, or whether Janet works for him as a customer service representative.

Janet Entwistle

With the arrival of its new financial partners, Peverel is also delighted to announce the appointment of Janet Entwistle as Chief Executive. Janet, who takes up the position with immediate effect, has held senior roles in services businesses and has a track record of business transformation through focusing on the delivery of industry-leading levels of customer service. Her most recent role was as Managing Director of BT Fleet, which operates from a national network of sites and which she built into one of the UK’s leading fleet management companies.

Janet is also on the Board of the Freight Transport Association and was previously on the Board of Opportunity Now.

Janet is a Barrister and during her legal career held roles ‘in – house’ supporting business development activities in the UK and Europe.

Keith Edgar

Keith joined Peverel in 1994 as a Regional Manager and then began working for the Head Office team, setting up the company’s first Legal Department. In 1997 Keith became Regional Director for the Southern Region of Peverel and now holds the post of Managing Director of the Retirement Division which encompasses Peverel Retirement, Retirement Homesearch and Peverel Scotland.

Keith’s former career was in law, in private practice and commerce. This included working for McCarthy and Stone’s legal department, dealing with a wide range of commercial disputes and employment law work. A large portion of this was for Peverel, then a McCarthy & Stone Group company.

Keith is the former Chairman of the Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM) and is still involved in leading the push for the Association to represent the interests of its members and to help continue the development of best practice across the sector.

Transparency and best practice (three of Peverel’s current favourite words, borrowed from us)

There has been no statement made whatsoever about the cessation of inter company placement of contracts, and a re-tendering process in the open market, (for services like emergency monitoring, insurance, communication provision, warden call etc) which would be an absolute requirement if they were to adopt a policy of transparency. For those who are suggesting to Janet that Peverel should become accredited with LKP, on reading the accreditation document, readers will realise that it would be totally impossible for Peverel to become accredited. Full transparency with regard to all facets of management is required, including management of contingency funds, and their current business model could not begin to survive the LKP level of scrutiny. Multiple leaseholder reference contacts are also required for LKP to contact individually. Obtaining sufficient numbers of these could also be somewhat difficult.

Insurance – Kingsborough response

Recently there has been a very surprising response from Judi Runciman with regard to insurance – see email forwarded to us by one of our supporters.  Have Kingsborough now made the decision to change their name by April 1st, or is this an early April Fool’s joke?  Or is the freeholder starting up a new insurance company Kingsboroughtoo?

Good morning Mr H,

I am afraid I will not be able to assist you with the information for the period 01.04.12 onwards as Kingsborough will not be placing the insurance.

The freeholder will take over this responsibility from this time.  I would therefore suggest that your enquiry is directed to the freeholder in respect of 01.04.12 onwards.

If you require any information for the period prior to the above date please continue to approach me.

Best wishes

Judi

Judi Runciman (IRIB) (AIRPM)
Group Head of Insurance
Dir Tel: 01425 632209
Email: judi.runciman@kingsborough.co.uk

Kingsborough Insurance Services Limited
Main Switchboard
Tel: 01425 632341
Web: www.kingsborough.co.uk

 

15.03.12 More Peverel facts are slowly coming out…

It is clear from the administrator’s report that the bank was willing to accept this as the “least worse” situation, with almost half the purchase price going to clear internal debts.  This means the bank will not even realise the full sale price paid by Knight Diamond. In accepting the sale, the bank presumably also accepts that the over half a billion pounds worth of assets owned by the Peverel Group and in particular Peverel Ltd has now disappeared for ever?

One more thing owners may want to ask Janet. In the last set of Peverel Group accounts covering the year ending December 2009, it shows that £153,443,846.00 was held in client account monies and another £7,658,032.00 held in joint accounts – presumably waiting to be placed into the right client account. The administrator’s report remains silent on the amount of client monies paid over as part of the sale. WHY?

Today, Knight Diamond has become Peverel Services Limited but still with no directors listed. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

There are only 15 Commonhold alternatives to dreaded leasehold

The Land Registry has given LKP details of the 15 developments in England and Wales that have been built with Commonhold tenure – ie the form of ownership that exists just about everywhere in the world except … er … England and Wales. Thanks to leasehold, we have aristocrats still owning chunks of London and, of course, housebuilders love it as they sell a place twice over: once to the leaseholder, and then the added perk of flogging the freehold to pension funds (if you are lucky) or dodgy creeps (if you are not) who set themselves up as the building’s managers and start “monetising” by preying on the leaseholders. The full list of commonhold properties can be read on the LKP website.

LKP are actively promoting commonhold as an alternative to the outdated leasehold system which is so stacked against the leaseholder and is not not regulated or controlled by any law or government department.  Developers are not yet totally persuaded, but we are continuing to work on them!

Sebastian O’Kelly shortlisted for award

LKP co-director Sebastian O’Kelly has been deservedly shortlisted in the property columnist and property staff writer categories for his work at the Mail on Sunday  in the LSL Property Press Awards to be announced next week. Full shortlist is here: http://www.awards.lslps.co.uk/2012-shortlist.html

LKP announce their latest addition to the ranks of approved managing agents.

Congratulations to Hunter Grey (www.huntergrey.com), operating in Loughborough and Nottingham, who are the 13th and latest company to join the ranks of LKP’s approved managing agents. Headed by Susan Hunt, it is engaged in hard-fought RTM battles on behalf of leaseholders, and one epic has already been reported on the LKP website .

14.03.12 – Peverel latest news – a confused picture emerges….

Information emerging from Companies House this evening…. the Peverel Group has today disappeared and been renamed PGL Realisations 2012 Ltd. Peverel Limited has also disappeard and has been renamed PL Realisations 2012. There is nothing on the Peverel Group website about this latest name-shuffling exercise.

It looks as if an old dog is unable to learn new tricks, and we are going to get lots more company name changes so nobody can remember who the original parties were. Someone also needs to get a move on and change the Peverel Group website, unless a another new company is going to become Peverel Group tomorrow.  (They are not quite as hot at keeping their websites up to date as we are!) We did wonder why there was no notice of the sale on the Zolfo Cooper website. The Administrator has submitted a notice of extension to the administration with further information to follow.

As suspected there was a black hole in the accounts. Knight Diamond Ltd, the new holding company, (incorporated in February) paid just £29.6 million for the company, of which £1.5 million is deferred until September. The purchaser also cleared a further £29.1 of intercompany debt (this is likely to be monies paid by service charge holders to Peverel, but not paid on to the operating companies) a further £1 million is being held in an escrow account in respect of Kingsborough shares, prior to the FSA approval of their sale.  This seems a bit vague and it may be that Kingsborough is being sold on?

There is then a £1 million adjustment limit to the purchase price, subject to working out how much real working capital exists which will be done within three months. It would appear that Peverel’s accounts are as up to date as ever.

We will be further analysing the information coming out of Companies House tomorrow morning, and another update will be posted as early as possible.  It is not surprising that Ms. Entwistle cannot answer any of the specific questions that are being emailed to her every few minutes, and is carefully confining herself to the fact that she is not yet experienced enough, after just one week, to supply detailed answers.  She may be wondering herself what on earth is going on. White vans were probably rather easier to manage than this set of spinning plates.

Click on the pdf below to read Zolfo Cooper’s annual statement about the Administration – and see how very well they are doing out of this deal at their generous hourly rates.

peverel_march_2012_admin_update

London Assembly – Service Charge Report update

It has been unanimously adopted by all parties and all members of the housing and planning committee.  We will be reporting further on this over the next couple of days but it is excellent news for leaseholders as it will influence policy very soon.

13.03.12 – Meetings with DCLG and the BPF arranged

LKP’s next meeting with the Department of Communities and Local Government, requested by Grant Shapps (the Housing Minister) to discuss the ongoing development and implementation of the LKP accreditation system is now arranged for the 27th March.  LKP are meeting the management of the British Property Federation on 30th March.

Latest LKP Accreditation news

Congratulations to Urban Living Property Management who became the twelfth managing agent to be accredited by LKP today. See LKP website for details – www.leaseholdknowledge.com.

Peverel announces their all new management team

Can you spot a property manager amongst them – no, nor can we – see http://www.peverel.co.uk/board_of_directors?

11.03.12 – 2 6 0, 0 0 0 hits and counting!

We keeps you up to date on all matters leasehold.

Peverel Sale information

Interesting fact: the Zolfo Cooper website contains no reference whatsoever to the Peverel Group sale, although two other companies they have been involved with (that have been recently sold), are referred to.

According to the latest JE statement: references in recent Peverel communications should be taken to include the following three companies:

The brand new and shiny, (but unlikely to be a girl’s best friend) Knight Diamond Limited, Registered in England No. 7925019. Registered Office: 4 St Paul’s Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AY. (Same address as Electra.) Active Date of Incorporation: 26/01/2012 – see www.peverelfuture.co.uk/privacy.html

Peverel Management Services Limited trading as Peverel Retirement. Registered in England No 1614866. Registered Office: Queensway House, 11 Queensway, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 5NR.
Peverel Scotland Limited, registered in England No. 3829468. Registered Office: Queensway House, 11 Queensway, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 5NR.

Peverel are continuing to use the xxxxx.xxxx@peverel.co.uk with their names for email, but are using a new website domain name: www.peverelfuture.co.uk.  This is somewhat inconsistent, but no doubt all part of their latest corporate branding master (mistress?) plan.

MIPIM, International Property Show, Cannes, France and the mayoral race

Neither Vincent Tchenguiz, nor Boris Johnson, nor Tony Courtauld, president of the British Property Federation and CEO of Great Portland Estates attended MIPIM (Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier is a trade show that its organisers describe as a “market for international property trade” and “the international real estate show for professionals”) in Cannes this year.  The number of local authorities was drastically down on last year’s attendance too. Maybe, just maybe, Vincent is feeling the pinch, and Boris is probably busy trying to improve his poll ratings.  Partying in the South of France probably would not convince any extra London residents to vote for him, although his appearance on the Andrew Marr show last Sunday was definitely trying to make him appear a serious and caring politician, (and included a much improved haircut.)

Boris – here’s a tip for you – join/support our campaign for regulation in the leasehold sector and pick up more than a 100,000 extra votes in London.  After all your London Assembly used very strong language in their very recent report on Service Charges, condemning opaque charging and lack of transparency, and have detailed nearly many of the important points that we have been making for nearly the last four years.

Jenny Jones is the Green Party mayoral candidate, also a member of the London Assembly who was at the meeting on 23rd January when the Service Charge report was discussed.  Although late, her one contribution seemed knowledgeable.  Perhaps she will attach some real importance to the plight of leaseholders in London. The campaign kicks off properly on 20th March, so we will soon see whether our issues are mentioned at the hustings.

9.03.12 Please see LKP website for details re latest accreditation

Congratulations to HML Andertons who have become LKP’s eleventh accredited managing agent – they manage approximately 15,000 units in the South of England including those at Charter Quay, Kingston upon Thames.  Their head office is based in Croydon, Surrey and they have several other offices including Maidstone and Bristol.

8.03.12 Further comments regarding the Peverel sale

Amongst all the conjecture – was it a management buyout, why was it such a cheap deal, etc etc, several articles are appearing on the internet. Perhaps Lee and Keith would like to answer the question honestly via one of the related websites – on this one would be good!  How much did they put in, as there appear to be a few million unaccounted for, and have they been given a contribution to help from a business related individual whose assets are mainly abroad?

We would like to observe that criticising News on the Block for obtaining an early interview with Janet Entwistle when we published one at virtually the same time is not an indication that they are in bed in Peverel, just that they are quick off the blocks, the same as ourselves in terms of following up a breaking story.  We all had emails from her inviting contact, so those of us who could, did exactly that.

Whether Janet can change the public’s perception is the big question – changing the name of the company for the fourth time seems to be a bit flimsy, although if they have their own stationery company in the portfolio, they will be very pleased to be inventing yet another letterhead and logo. Not changing the management team rather indicates that strategy will remain the same, so unlikely to improve the lot of their leaseholders in the short term. If they are trying to ensure the profitability of the group, terminating contracts for the sake of improving transparency and re-allocating them outside the group to bring leaseholder service charges down also seems to be unlikely.  So what can they actually do on a daily basis to change?  Keeping on 4,200 people, when your business is shrinking also seems to be a commitment that may not be realistic in anything but the short term.

Our advice is: if you are considering Right to Manage and appointing a new managing agent, go for it as quickly as possible. OM/Peverel/Peverel Future/Peverel version 5/6/7/8 will be less able to issue notices of objection if they are busy giving Janet training on leasehold law and best practice!! They will not wish to fight for survival at quite so many LVT’s as in the recent past as it is costing them a huge amount of money every time, and the new partners will not want to haemorrhage such large sums at the beginning of their involvement with the attendant growing weight of public criticism out there for all to read.  Interesting related articles here about all their advisors (Legal Week), background information (the Guardian) and the latest re the trial.

http://www.legalweek.com/legal-week/news/2157527/raft-firms-line-gbp62m-private-equity-rescue-peverel

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/06/peverel-bought-administration-4200-jobs?newsfeed=true

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/07/property-tycoon-vincent-tchenguiz-trial

6.03.12 Peverel bought for a bargain £62m (down from £500 million valuation in 2006)

Peverel Group, the property management company formerly owned by Vincent Tchenguiz was bought out of administration for £62m, as has been reported by both News on the Block and Property Week earlier today.  We have also been adding their own research to the articles:

Janet Entwistle

Peverel has been bought by private equity firms Chamonix, (£4 million) and Electra Partners (£33 million), Royal Bank of Scotland have put in £25 million in a deal which will see its debt cut from £125m to £25m.  (Some of you may recall that we already know of Electra. They financed the original MBO by Nigel Bannister and Catriona Wadlow of Peverel Management Services Ltd from McCarthy and Stone back in October 1993 for £29 million.) The company, which manages around 190,000 properties and retirement homes, collapsed into administration a year ago. Zolfo Cooper was appointed as administrator to the holding companies of Peverel in March 2011.

However, Chamonix and Electra have acquired not just the holding companies, but also all the operating subsidiaries, which includes Solitaire Property Management and Pembertons Residential.

Peverel has appointed Janet Entwistle as chief executive following the deal. She said the transaction “marks a new beginning” for the company.

Paul Lester CBE, former chief executive of defence supplier VT Group, has been appointed non-executive chairman.

Entwistle has invited “stakeholders”, including ourselves (see email received below) – which we assume includes Peverel’s victims – to contact her on askjanetaquestion@peverel.co.uk.  Also note, yet another website – Peverel Future?? What happened to the OM re-branding? Has that been jettisoned already?

Dear Melissa

I wanted to write to you in your role as Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation founder because I thought you would want to be made aware of today‟s announcement that Peverel Group has been rescued from Administration with financial backing from Chamonix Private Equity and Electra Partners.

On a personal note, I am also delighted that the new owners have appointed me as the Group‟s new Chief Executive. I join Peverel from BT Fleet, where – as Managing Director I built the business into one of the UK‟s leading fleet management companies, with an industry leading reputation for customer service. I am looking forward to working with the Peverel management team to develop this business by delivering on our promises to our customers and operating to the highest standards of business integrity.

In addition, I am pleased that Paul Lester CBE has been appointed as independent Non-Executive Chairman. Paul has a deep background working within British industry, most notably as the Chief Executive of VT Group, which he transformed into a diversified support and business services group.

Today‟s announcement marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the Peverel Group, and I hope you will join me in welcoming it. Over the coming weeks and months I will be engaging with stakeholders of the business and would welcome a meeting with you. I look forward to hearing from you but in the meantime please feel free to pass a copy of this letter to other members of your community.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at askjanetaquestion@peverel.co.uk

Yours sincerely Janet Entwistle

Chief Executive, Peverel Group

www.peverelfuture.co.uk

‘Arms-length’ from Tchenguiz

In her first brief preliminary interview with LKP, Entwistle, 51 – who has a small shareholding in the new Peverel – said that she wanted to bring openness and fair-dealing to Peverel and act in the interests of its customers.

But are the customers freeholders or leaseholders?

“The leaseholders are absolutely our customers,” she replied.

Entwistle was aware of Peverel’s blemished reputation – along with other Tchenguiz vehicles it was dismissed as “disgraceful” by a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal last year for its fee-loading activities at Charter Quay, in Kingston.

There was no undertaking to rid the property manager of its add-on Kingsborough insurance broking, CCTV and other businesses – for which leaseholders have been so blatantly overcharged in the past.  The whereabouts of all the contingency funds, a major concern to all leaseholders, has yet to be established.

As for Vincent Tchenguiz,  “we will have a professional arms-length relationship with the Tchenguiz empire,” she said.

It will be an uphill struggle for Peverel to hold on to the management of the developments.

Both Barratt and the Berkeley Group have dumped the property management group and say they have no plans to use Peverel on future schemes.

Entwistle’s ambitions for a revived, straight-dealing Peverel committed to “transparency” follows last week’s report into service charges by the London Assembly, which described them bluntly as “opaque”.

Peverel’s management of landmark Thames riverside apartment blocks have resulted in staggering LVT awards – the record being the £1 million settlement paid by the freeholders at St George’s Wharf, Vauxhall, last September.

Leaseholders are also sacking the company as property managers, with Chelsea Bridge Wharf, beside Battersea power station, opting for right to manage last week.

6.03.12 – More smoke and mirrors in the Tchenguiz world?

The press have been active today reporting losses at Vincos, a company which for some reason trades under the name Consensus Business Group in a similar style to the way Peverel Management Services trading as Peverel Retirement. Although the Telegraph carried a report, it failed to notice a few things. Finding out which company runs what is proving very difficult. Suffice to say, Vincos is one of the companies in the group which has Mr Tchenguiz as a director and that has some big debts.

Meanwhile over in Peverel world, a company called Peverel Property Management who you may have thought ran their property management interests, has in fact been filing dormant company accounts for years. They filed another set in June 2011 showing they were dormant in 2010. Then in February 2012 they somehow amended the accounts to advise that it had in fact turned over more than £6 million in 2010, and employs over 150 people. Somehow this is allowed under Companies House rules. Perhaps someone just forgot who is working for who in this complex group?

It seems no sooner do you think you understand a part of the Tchenguiz group than it changes. Even respectable financial sources get confused. On 23rd Feb Moneyweek had to write this apology:

“We alleged that Consensus Business Group had been put into administration as a result of its disreputable activities in the property management sector, and that Vincent Tchenguiz’s business interests collapsed as a result of his links to Icelandic banks, leading to the Bank of America putting Consensus Business Group into administration, when it called in a £130m loan, and that he has brought the entire property management industry into disrepute.”

“We now accept that there is no truth whatsoever in these allegations and apologise to Mr Tchenguiz and Consensus Business Group for the distress and embarrassment caused.”

What Moneyweek failed to notice is that it is the Tchenguiz group’s interest in Peverel which fell into administration. What they also did not notice is that Mr Tchenguiz and his colleagues do not run their main business interests via Consensus Business Group Ltd.

Consensus Business Group Ltd 2010 accounts show that it is a very small company which sought exemption from certain financial reporting requirements and has no employees. The accounts show they were in turn owned by a company called Rotch. Even though owned by Rotch, the accounts advise that it is Vincos who will not withdraw its funding of the company for 12 months. All of which takes us back to the start of this story with Vincos losing more money.

Confused?  Don’t worry – we all are… and you will be!

Letter from Grant Shapps received by LKP today

LKP received a letter requesting a meeting with Melissa Briggs today to discuss the LKP accreditation schemes with DCLG.  LKP are hoping the meeting will be taking place in the near future.

5.03.12 – Congratulations to JJ Homes of Carshalton, Surrey

The latest managing agent to be accredited by LKP.  They manage approximately 4,800 units in Surrey and South London.

1.03.12 – Latest LKP news

Earlier today LKP had a good first meeting with two of the senior executives of Base Estates, who are making serious inroads into the competition in the area around Bolton, with 3,000 units under their management already. Their philosophy appears to be close to ours – the managing director is an ex-leaseholder himself so really understands the issues, and we look forward to hearing whether they wish to have further discussions with us in due course. We will be publishing more information regarding some of their recent LVT successes and the decisions made shortly.

This afternoon LKP met the senior management of Jones Associates, their accredited managing agent based in the centre of Macclesfield, to discuss marketing and business development issues.  They are involved in an LVT at the moment, and LKP will report further on this shortly as well.

LKP has made an 800 mile round trip including 6 northern towns in 3 and a half days to meet a range of different sized managing agents – many good contacts made, several relationships further cemented and more accreditations will be completed for the benefit of leaseholders shortly.  We will be doing a similar trip to the East side of the country later on in March.