June 17, 2024

Pensioner blames Peverel for loss of value to her flat

Muriel McNally: blames Peverel for the fall in value of her flat

A pensioner who blames Peverel for reducing the value of her leasehold flat is having the case heard by mediators on December 11. And head of Peverel Retirement Keith Edgar – who leaves Peverel in December – is attending the hearing himself.

For five years, Muriel McNally, 75, has been fighting the action, involving local and national politicians, Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation and Age UK and appearing twice in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

It is perhaps this media exposure that has made Peverel suggest this issue be taken up with a mediation service (which it will pay for, McNally says).

McNally bought her McCarthy and Stone one-bedroom retirement flat at Denehurst Court, in Church Stretton, Shropshire, in August 2005

It was for sale at £124,950, but she paid £119,950 using the exchange of her normal freehold family home.

The flat is now on the market for £95,000 “and I would be lucky to get even that,” says McNally. “One flat has sold for £70,000 and another for half what the owners paid for it.”

McNally is arguing that Peverel’s mismanagement of the site, particularly in relation to controversial changes to the car park, mean that Denehurst Court is a turn-off to buyers.

“Flats there have plummeted in value not just in relation to the general market in Church Stretton, but also in relation to other retirement developments in the town.”

Denehurst Court in Church Stretton, where property values have plummeted

She cites the example of Ashbrook Court, also in Church Stretton, where prices have held up better than Denehurst Court, she claims.

McNally has been fighting Peverel for five years over issues at Denehurst Court, where the atmosphere is so bad, she claims, that she has moved out to flat in Hope, near Sheffiled. This means she is paying £1,800 in fees and £1,200 in council tax for a flat that she does not use or rent out.

She believes Peverel broke the ARHM code (Association of Retirement Housing Managers) in not consulting residents over the changes to the car park at the 55-unit site.

The case has been referred by Peverel to London-based mediators ListeningWise, run by Michele Lee and Rif Sharif. It describes itself on its website: “ListeningWise is the only organisation in the UK (that we know of!) that specialises in preventing and addressing conflicts that affect older people.”

Its website is here. Or http://www.listeningwise.org

McNally is sceptical of using a mediation service suggested – and paid for – by Peverel, and she reserves her legal rights to take the case to the courts.

Peverel chief executive Janet Entwistle has been urging residents to take their disputes to mediation, which avoids the unwelcome publicity and costs surrounding Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

But Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation argues that mediation solves very few leasehold disputes – it was attempted and dropped by LEASE, the Leasehold Advisory Service. It also continues to keep leasehold disputes out of the public eye and helps no one else other than one particular complainant. LVT rulings are the only language abusive freeholders and their managing agents will listen to.

Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation has also long draw attention to the fact that retirement leasehold has proved a wretched investment that has fallen in value far further than all other forms of residential property. Falls of 40-50 per cent off peak are not unusual.

The reason for this is obvious enough: developers, freehold owning companies and their managing agents have all been too greedy. They have drawn up unbalanced leases  (including clauses such as sub-letting and exit fees, which the Office of Fair Trading believes are wrong) and then used every opportunity to monetize the assets by heaping costs onto the leaseholders.



  1. From Fleeced2

    I wonder how much these disputes between leaseholders and Peverel cost in terms of time spent at meetings, writing letters, postage, travel and the legal costs at LVTs. And it’s us the leaseholders that pay the price in the end.

    Muriel McNally’s £5,000 part-exchange deal is small in comparison to what I was stung for at £45,000 by Pegasus Retirement Homes – yes, you’ve read that correctly… Even more shocking they had deliberately overpriced the flats by about the same amount which was challenged at a valuation tribunal reducing the Council Band from D to C. And now with thousands of pounds wiped off the value of the selling price it’s been an utter disaster.

    I reported the part-exchange rip-off and suspected mis-selling/misrepresentation to Trading Standards at the time in 2003 but I was fobbed off onto the police who in turn also failed to investigate. I had major surgery in 2005 and was too ill to pursue it any further.

  2. I think the word getting round that a new purchaser will have to fight endless legal battles through the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal –why would any retired gentle folk want that? At the end of the day it’s supply on demand that will dictate the value of the property— with the hastle that comes with leasehold the demand is falling and so the price.

    • We have found, in the non-retirement sector, that a block of flats that is well run, has a strong residents’ association, doesn’t have a predatory freeholder/managing agent arrangement, or even the ideal solution of residents actually owning the freehold, is a property that is far more sellable than an acrimonious set-up. But residents must fight the battles to get to this state – or keep on paying and watch capital values fall.

  3. If Muriel can find 30 resident supporters, she should set up a RTM company to replace Peverel by another local managing agent which can provide better management service.
    There are some companies which are quoting 40 – 50pds per flat for delivering RTM . Being forced to sell a retirement flat at 50% of its original cost is very disasterous for the owner and family. Also the other flat owners in the block will also suffer similar loss of market value for their properties.

  4. Looking at the situation again, it seems that if one flat has sold at 70K , it would have brought down the capital values of all the flats on this estate. Since there are 55 leasehold units at Denehurst Court, the capital lost by falling property values equals 55 units x 45K say average loss per flat = 2.5 Mil pounds approx lost by the community .
    Since the minimum age for taking up residence at Denehurst Court is 60 years, it means selling to a cash buyer as not many lenders are interested in offering mortgage to retired persons. Also if subletting is allowed, the rental value is only about 450 pds per month and this comes to 5400 for thewhole year which after paying the 1800 serviice charge leaves 3600 ( about 5% yield ). Not a nice situation to be in.