November 17, 2018

Retirement housing message to Clive Betts MP’s Select Committee

By Michael Hollands

Clive Betts MP chairs the Communities Select Committee which is inquiring into leasehold issues

I am interested in Leasehold Retirement Complexes of which I have much experience in the way many unfortunate Pensioners are robbed of their valuable savings.

1 When purchasing new these retirement properties are always more expensive than the non retirement properties, manly because they are desperately needed by elderly who have to downsize. Upon resale they often reduce in value due to the unfair lease charges and conditions and maybe poor management.
When purchasing second hand, many purchasers are not given the necessary information by Estate Agents on Ground Rents, Exit Charges and the possibility of a very short lease term remaining. From my experience very few of the elderly leaseholders are aware of the latter.

2 Exit /Transfer charges should be banned, this was an OFT recommendation years ago.
No service is provided to warrant it.

3 Ground rent should be banned as it also a charge for no service whatsoever provided.

4 A management company attempted to incorrectly charge me with their own Estate Agent fees when I sold my flat via another Estate Agent. They also attempted to frighten me with a threatening letter from their Dept Collectors. This type of threatening should be stopped.

5 Complaints procedures of many Management Companies are evasive and useless.
Both ARMA and ARHM are absolutely no help as they are trade associations who support their members. Take the Peverel Price Fixing for example, where both these organisations accept the offenders as full members.

6 There has been no one out there who assists Leaseholders, whether is be these trade organisations, LEASE, Government Departments, Solicitors and the Legal Profession.

Apart of course from a handful of helpful MPs and the magnificent Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. There are far too many vested interests in the Leasehold industry.

Please do all you can to make it much fairer to leaseholders. Many of us elderly have been campaigning since the 2010 General Election and have become entirely disillusioned with the lack of progress.

Comments

  1. Michael:
    The purchasing new of these retirement properties are more expensive as they are charged for the Communal Areas – kitchen – Lift – Laundry – Lounge. Upon resale they reduce in value, which varies from area to area.
    When purchasing many leaseholders are not given the necessary information by both Solicitors and Estate Agents regarding Ground Rents and Exit Charges. I agree, many are unaware of what they purchase.

    My elderly relative paid circa £135k and now decided to move closer to family. In the past 5 years many of the 1 bed flats had sold for £75k – a loss of 44%. There is also an Exit Fee of 2%?

    Will this be charged on the original sale price or the resale price as 2% of £135k is £2,700 or 2% of £75k is £1,500. As with McCarthy & Stone developments, they sold the Freehold to Fairhold Estates who use Estates & Management (E&M) as agents and Firstport Retirement as Managing Agents. How unlucky is that?

  2. I agree – Apart of course the helpful MPs and Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP). There are far too many vested interests in the Leasehold industry. Many of us elderly have been campaigning since 2008 have become entirely disillusioned with lack of progress.

    My friend attended a meeting at the Department of Justice on 06/09/2018 in his capacity as a Right to Manage (RTM) Company Director.

    He was invited by representatives of the Law Commission looking into reforms to current Leasehold legislation. Justin Bates was there which tells you everything.
    Information Notice to the Landlord is required once the RTM Company is set up in the usual way. This notice would request details such as:

    * scope of the buildings
    * service charges
    * list management contracts
    * list management functions

    The Law Commission were considering the following timeline.

    1. Landlord has 30 days to respond to the information notice .
    2. RTM Company has 30 days from the Landlords response to serve the claim notice for RTM
    3. landlord has 30 days from the date of the claim notice to serve a Counternotice
    4. If after 14 days from receipt of the Counternotice the parties have not agreed the allocation of management functions the RTM Company has to apply for a statutory-approved form of mediation
    5. If parties fail to reach agreement within 30 days of the mediation either party would have the right to apply to the Tribunal for a determination

    If Justin and his Landlord employers get this legalistic tosh into leasehold law it could deter many from going for RTM and may fall into the hands of dishonest greedy landlords.

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