At the Carlex / LKP roundtable at Westminster yesterday there were a couple of interesting questions from attendees.
One gentleman asked: “I own a portfolio of  retirement properties. Most are in sites that were built by McCarthy and Stone and are managed by FirstPort formerly Peverel formerly etc …
“In almost all these cases Peverel and FirstPort have managed these operations since they were built. That is something like 30 years.
“I challenge anyone to think of any other business relationship that has gone on for 30 years and has never been subject to price competition and never been put out to tender, and which just goes on its merry way.
“In the very few examples where we have successfully got rid of Peverel / FirstPort there’s being a saving of about 10 per cent in the service charge every year. [Others report 20 per cent]
“This service charges go up and up, but Peverel / FirstPort is very rarely challenged. Why? Because the residents in these properties just want a quiet life and do not want to have residents’ associations involved in challenging costs.
“If I said to you that in the 30 or so developments where I have flats, one or is it two have actually got a residents’ association. It is something like that.
“Peverel / FirstPort continue to charge ridiculous service charges. Surely, the solution here that has been adopted elsewhere in other areas is to pass legislation for compulsory tenders of the management of retirement sites, say, every five years.
“I’m looking at MPs and members of the House of Lords here. Come on guys, can we have some legislation to achieve that please? It would help create competition and reduced costs.
The chairman of the roundtable, Martin Boyd, a trustee of LKP / Carlex, replied that it was one of the provisional proposals of the Competition and Markets Authority report into leaseold.
“But my understanding is that it was felt that more investigation was needed in that matter before it should come forward as legislation.”
The questioner asked: “So, they were got at by Peverel, were they?”[Laughter.]
Another question which got a very short reply was perhaps related to the articles on LKP:
“Could I ask what the situation is with regard to the chairman of LEASE?”
“No,” replied Sir Peter Bottomley.