April 24, 2017

How to sell your Peverel flat

How to sell up and avoid the fees

Are you in a retirement property, and in a position of trying to break free fron Peverel?  Maybe you’ve decided to move.  Or maybe bereavement has forced a sale.

Here are a few pointers to guide you on your way, which have been collated from actual experiences.

However, if any of you have anything to add – please put a comment on this site.  There may be other helpful hints out there for sharing, and we will keep the information updated.

Sell with Peverel

The Peverel Web includes its very own in-house estate agent: Retirement Homesearch.  If you want to put more money in the Peverel Pocket, go right ahead and use them.

However, it would be wise to do some checking first. For example, does your lease include a requirement to use Retirement Homesearch when selling?

It is very doubtful.  It’s much more likely that you’re free to use any agent you choose.  Nevertheless, don’t be surprised if you are pressured to use them – particularly by house managers.

House managers show prospective purchasers round on behalf of Retirement Homesearch – and receive a kick-back for any successful sale they are involved in.  (A contributor to the Peverel Action website states the amount is currently £150.)

So don’t be surprised if they push this option.  Or even give the impression you’re obliged to use them.

Don’t be misled!  Check your lease, and local agents’ fees and services.  You might be pleasantly surprised how they compare.

Also, before committing yourself, check how the advert will appear.  We’ve seen Retirement Homesearch advertising specific flats for sale online, but the details turn out to be generic ones, which could apply to any of the properties in the development.  We don’t believe Retirement Homesearch does any measurement or photography.  Not useful for prospective purchasers!  And exceptionally lazy.

Your lease undoubtedly prohibits the display of an agent’s board.  However, there will most likely be a generic board outside, to alert passers-by that there are retirement properties for sale.  If the board only mentions Retirement Homesearch – complain vigorously.  This is probably not only in contravention of the lease, but also represents a restraint of trade.

Some developments put a list of properties for sale on the internal noticeboard.  You are entitled to have your property included on the list.  It’s not just for advertising the Retirement Homesearch ones.

In 2010 & 2011, Mr Edwards (Company Secretary & Head of Peverel Legal Services) confirmed the following to one of our contributors, so we have no reason to believe this doesn’t apply nationally, for everyone:

“Our house managers (HMs) are not permitted to hold sale brochures in relation to flats for sale. The instruction given to them is that they should maintain a list of properties for sale and provide copies of the list upon the receipt of any enquiry. We do not ask HMs to hand out brochures for any estate agents, including Retirement Homesearch (RH). …

“I can also confirm that House Managers (HMs) are provided with a financial incentive when they are involved in a successful sale through Retirement Homesearch (RH).

“The incentive provided is extremely modest and is by way of recompense for the time they have spent in dealing with the sale.

“In this regard, HMs are expected to deal with the sale in addition to their normal duties and consequently would be expected to work extra hours or forego their break periods in order to deal with any sales. In reality the time spent by HMs dealing with RH sales is very low.

“The correct position is that house managers (HMs) are encouraged to assist in such (other) sales to the extent that they are authorised to provide access to the premises and to conduct tours of the common areas within the development on behalf of other estate agents. HMs are not, however, permitted to undertake viewings of individual flats which are placed with other estate agents …

(Mr  Edwards assures that) “your flat will be included in the list  of flats for sale on the notice-board of the development, (and) clarifies that this will obviously apply to anyone else who places a flat at the development on the market through an agent other  than Retirement Homesearch.”

And – to avoid any doubt – make sure the house manager doesn’t hi-jack your own viewers to look at the flats she’s promoting.  Yes – it has happened!

Legal matters

Peverel’s property transfer department deals with their legal side of the sale process.  They have helpfully collated a “solicitor’s pack”, which they charge a pretty price for.

There is absolutely no requirement to pay for this.  You will already have much of the information – especially if your record-keeping has been good.

For example, if you’ve kept service charge and budget documents going back a few years.  Before you part with any hard-earned cash, find out what’s in the pack, and ask your solicitor what they need.

There will be the odd document you have to pay for – but that’s all. It’s tempting to think your solicitor needs all the stuff, simply because the pack is available.  However, a bit of homework will save you money.

A good example is the “purchaser information guide”.  Peverel has produced a nice bright shiny (and expensive) one.  (Which you might expect to be on their website to download, in these modern times, but we can’t find any sign of it.)

You will have received a guide when you bought the flat originally.  Find out if it’s the up-to-date version.  If it is, you can photocopy it.  If not, the development will have its own copy, available for everyone to read.  Photocopy that one.  It will only be around 40 pages.

Exit fees

The final sting in the tail – the reviled exit fee.  This is a percentage of the final selling price (often 2 per cent), which has to be handed over from the sale proceeds.

If you don’t hand it over – Peverel won’t register the sale at the Land Registry.  And it’s ‘in the lease’.

You may think this means you’re stuck with it.  Certainly, the one per cent which is destined for crediting to the contingency fund, for the benefit of keeping the maintenance charges lower for future leaseholders, is believed to be fair.  The other one per cent, however, goes straight into the landlord’s pocket – and it is this which has been (and continues to be) the subject of an Office of Fair Trading investigation.

Following countless complaints, the OFT commenced an industry-wide investigation into the practice of charging ‘exit fees’ in November 2009.

Their website is updated from time-to-time with progress.  The most recent update was in April this year, and alluded to the negotiations they are undertaking with Fairhold on this matter.

However, the OFT is being cagey, and it’s a question of ‘watch this space’.  We are all hoping the OFT will rule that the exit fee represents an ‘unfair contract term’, and is consequently unenforceable.

However, if you need to sell before they come to a conclusion, it is vitally important that you make it clear you are paying the fee ‘under protest’, or ‘under duress’, and that you expect it to be refunded if the OFT rules, at some future date, that the fee is unfair.

Your solicitor will have a suitable form of words to express this, but unless you point it out, they may be unaware of the on-going deliberations.

Comments

  1. Peter Reynolds says:

    I am trying to sell my late fathers Peverel flat and i am being told that the exit fee will be 1/2 percent for every year we have held the lease?

  2. Margaret Chambers says:

    I am about to try to sell my late mother’s property – any tips would be very welcome please

    • Margaret, The most important point is indicate that the Office of Fair Trading’s view is that exit fees are unfair, that you pay the fee unwillingly and that you reserve your rights regarding future litigation.

  3. Michael Epstein says:

    Well done for speaking out.
    I assume you are not selling through Retirement Homesearch (one of Peverel’s companies) otherwise your House Manager would be in line for commission.

  4. We were informed when we purchased our property that the exit fee would be 1% of the selling price. However, we now understand from a recent communication that this has been amended to 1% of either the price at which we purchased the bungalow or the selling price – whichever is the lower.

  5. Trevor Perry says:

    4 years on from the start of its investigation in November 2009, what is the OFT’s final decision on Exit Fees?

  6. Robert Cooper says:

    I am in the process of selling my Peverel retirement flat in Worthing which I have sold via a local estate agent instead of Retirement Homesearch. All was going well until it came to being sent the Freehold Pack from the owners of the flats, which has taken them weeks to send and it has still not been sent out. They have dragged their heels over this issue, even telling my solicitor that they had a lot of correspondence to deal with the matter straight away. I wonder if they say the same to people owing them money? The current situation is that my buyer is so tired of the delay that he is on the brink of pulling out of purchasing my flat, which would be a disaster for myself and for the vendor of the property I am planning to buy, plus the fact that both parties involved in purchasing my flat and the vendors of my proposed purchase are living in bed and breakfast accommodation unable to make any progress and running out of money, until the freehold owners of Pegasus Court in Worthing forward the required documents to my solicitors! Are they incompetent or just being bloody minded?

  7. Michael Epstein says:

    Robert,
    Your situation may be the result of typical Peverel incompetence, or it could well be because you “dared” not to use Retirement Homesearch. The impression given is that a House Manager is paid commission for showing a potential client around a property as a “Thank You”.
    When challenged on the basis that whilst a House Manager is showing a property they are being paid for by residents, the answer Peverel gave was that “They only showed properties during their lunch hour”
    I quote from the requirements for a sales negotiator working for Retirement Homesearch.
    Liasing with and advising house Managers on sales procedures, visiting developments on a monthly basis to ensure Retirement Homesearch is represented by promotional material and through the House Manager.
    Ensuring that viewings are followed up and NO ENQUIRIES ARE LOST TO AGENTS!
    So you can see it is not simply a matter of a House Manager giving up their lunch hour is it?
    another, rather unpleasant possibility is pure revenge on the part of Peverel, particularly aimed against those they perceive to be troublemakers. May I ask, have you made any previous complaints against Peverel or is the trouble you are now experiencing the first time you have had problems?
    You should send a letter giving them 14 days to supply all the information required, after which you should sue them for any consequent losses.

    • Robert Cooper says:

      No, I have never complained about Peverel before and with regards to House Managers, my discussion with same this morning left me with the impression that she is nothing more than a Management Madame!

  8. That is good news- as “sales packs” are easy money with low skill needed of staff- its a sign that if they cant even cope with that and have had to cut staff there- they are in trouble. Not good news for the OP though and I commiserate.

  9. With due respect to LKP on “good record keeping” in many cases the “sausage machine” conveyancing firms based in business estates rarely accept a vendors records and will insist on it coming from the freeholder or agent in order that it is “independently verified”. In fact its actually about following a standard sausage machine procedure and cutting down the amount of work they do for the fixed fee, though a few questions can only be answered by the freeholder or agent.

  10. Michael Epstein says:

    Roger Cooper,
    That you have not got on the wrong side of Peverel (as a few of us may have) implies your problems stem from a lack of competence on the part of Peverel, possibly due to a lack of sufficiently trained staff combined with low pay, overwork and rock bottom morale.
    That they cannot handle a simple routine request as yours demonstrates how much of a chaotic state they have descended into.

  11. Liz wilkinson says:

    My late mother had a peverel flat which was sold in March. This week( July) I have received a request for a further sum of £950, as the management company had sent an invoice for transfer fee. I am very disappointed to receive this and not inclined to pay as I have a completion statement now and all monies has been distributed to the beneficiaries. Where do I stand if I choose not to pay?

  12. Michael Epstein says:

    Liz,
    First of all may i express my sympathy for your loss.
    This is purely a matter of opinion before all the legal people jump on me!
    If the lease provided for a transfer fee it is payable. That being the case the next question must be as to who should pay? My view is that it would be the estate of your late mother. Assuming p[robate was granted and your mother’s estate has been wound up, Peverel have left it too long and have nobody to collect from.
    i would write to Peverel “Without prejudice” Please note any demand for transfer fees has been made too late. The estate of xxxxx has been liquidated, and no longer exists.
    You have no claim against any beneficiries.

  13. Mr A . Tyldesley says:

    Hi Carlex, before I read your opinion of Peverel on your site, I was tempted to make an offer on one of their flats in Windermere. I also discovered that maybe ALL the firms contracted to do work for them are in fact subsidiaries of (guess who) Peverel. I think I’ll wait for somewhere administered by another company. I understand they are changing their name. What is the saying about a leopard? Have you any definite opinion re- ANCHOR HOMES ? The abolition of this Leasehold business is long overdue. What a ridiculous contradiction that I should pay maybe £90,000 for a flat and pay RENT as well !! Keep up your excellent work and let’s hope the OFT finally return from their several years holiday. A. Tyldesley.

  14. Anne Curran says:

    I am in HomeFarris, Shaftesbury,Dorset SP7 8AU (Managed by Peverel)
    At the beginning of this week 13th Oct 2004 I sent a letter to The Area Manager of Peverel from the residents here saying that we did NOT want certain work carried, namely “the wall in the residents’ lounge knocked down and the kitchen there enlarged and a dishwasher installed, also the wall in the Guest Room be knocked down and the kitchen done away with and replaced with a dressing room”. Many of our residents felt that this was a waste of money and of no real benefit to us. When the House Manager announced this in the residents’ lounge after a coffee morning there, those present were given to believe that a decision had already been made and it was to go ahead on her return from holiday (tomorrow 20th Oct) However replies I have had from the Area Manager say that no work will be carried out without the residents consent, however if they feel that work needs to be carried out for the Landlords interest then they will do it. There are 44 flats here, 5 are empty,15 are being rented and only 22 occupied by the leaseholder, 2 flats I’m not sure about. It begs the question as to how the absent leaseholders every hear of prospective work to be carried out. The leaseholders are not very happy. The Service charges here are very high and one feel that one is helpless in the hands of these people. I can tell you, that had I known of how it would be living in a Peverel managed apartment I would never have purchased the Lease. If I sold now I would not get what I paid. Anne Curran Flat 34 Homefarris house, Shaftesbury SP7 8AU

  15. Anne Curran says:

    Home Farris House Shaftesbury SP7 8AU (Managed by Peverel)

    Another complaint amongst residents is that at previous meetings with their managers residents have asked that a ramp be built to replace 2 steps outside the back door. We have always been fobbed off with it contravening Health and Safety regulations, however on being pressed about this it transpires that it is their own Health and Safety Officer and when I asked if I could check it out with The Health and Safety Executive the Area Manager said “she would look at the steps after the meeting” and did so with some of the residents there with her. A notice was then announced that it would cost £4,400 to built. At that price it was prohibitive and I said I would not want it to go ahead at that price. Others were of the same mind and the House Manager (who has always been against it) took a ballot, which broke even and so it was decided not to go ahead. However not every resident was balloted and when I asked who the contractors were who had tendered (the house manager said there were 3 tenders) the Area Manager said to go and see the House Manager, who returns from holiday tomorrow. Watch this space.

  16. Niel and Jason Driver says:

    We cannot believe what has happened to us today regarding a sale in LEMON TREE COURT IN LYTHAM ST ANNES we were selling my late mums apartment and were due to exchange contracts tomorrow with our solicitor. We sold the apartment thru an estate agent Not Peveral.
    The purchaser went yesterday for a final viewing to check sizes etc. with a viewer from the agency.
    On their departure the HOUSE MANAGER busied himself introducing himself and talking about the residence so the girl from the estate agent left them to it and went.
    He had then procided to show her another property that he was selling thru Retirement Property Search which was rock bottom priced ten thousand pound cheaper.
    She instantly liked it said she would have it. This morning she left a message at the estate agents to say she was cancelling her offer. NOT ONLY HAS THE DECIETED UNDERHANDED SCROTE LOST US A SALE HE HAS ALSO COST US £750 SOLICITORS FEES FOR ALL HER WORK done to prepare the sale to exchange and complete.
    He is a Sly Undercutting Nasty man who should not be allowed to get away with it.
    But i mentioned contacting his boss but been told hes so well in with his boss its a waste of time………
    He needs Whipping.

  17. After some sustained and determined pressure we have managed to get the peverell/girlings advertising sign taken down from the communal area of our development as this was in clear breach of the terms of the original lease. It is of note that the managing agents tried to justify said signs presence by way of some supposedly implied ‘Freeholder’s management covenants?.’ Given that private landlords are not allowed to advertise their own properties on the development, this was clearly an iniquitous situation and worried no doubt that a court hearing an injunction application would think similarly, peverell/girlings capitulated!

  18. Liz Shanks says:

    I am trying to sell my mom’s apartment to help pay for her care fees. That was in November 2014. I did send for the details from Retirement Homesearch but wasn’t prepared to pay the high fees for selling and the 1% that they want for leaving. Outrageous. So I put the apartment on the market with an independent estate agent.i have put a board in my mom ‘s window in HER property. The HM has gone into the property and removed it. I asked why and the reply Peveral don’t allow boards up. This is my mom’s property NOT Peveral and what right have they to say no. Can they do this? Grateful if you could let me know as I will seek legal advice. Liz

  19. Merlynna Johnson says:

    Dear Everyone,

    I inherited my mother’s Peveril retirement property four years ago and at the outset had no idea what a nightmare I had been dropped into. Having initially tried to sell, unsuccessfully, I decided to let until the economy picked up again. I have only just discovered this site and it is good to not feel alone with this. Drip by drip I found out through the manager all the fees demanded by Peveril which ever way I moved. I have paid a fee in order to sublet but the rent only barely covers management costs. Also, the manner with which I was treated by Peveril was truly horrific – even claiming that they knew exactly what was in my mother’s estate when it went to probate. I asked for a copy of the lease as having searched through my mother;s papers I could not find one. When I asked Peveril they said they did not give out copies of the lease! Is this legal? I, therefore, was set on a path without a map but where hungry lions could leap out at any moment. to demand sums of money. I have managed property myself but with this I feel trapped in a situation over which I seem to have no control. I need to know to whom I can complain and guidance on how to extract myself from this situation which causes me sleepless nights. Some inheritance!

    Merlynna

  20. linda porter says:

    well I stumbled on this website and have learned a lot which may help me. I inherited my parents flat 18 months ago after my parents died within six weeks of each other. their flat has been on the market for 12 months now and although there have been viewings,no offers. My concern is the management fees. As there is no one living in the flat surely there should be a reduction in these fees. My parents would be horrified if they knew what stress this is causing me, I would absolutely not buy a retirement home that made leaving a heartache to my family. this is as bad as holiday timeshare
    Linda

    • Niel and Jason Driver says:

      Hi Linda.
      I feel for you. My mum died 14 months ago and we neefed to put her apartment on the market imediatley. Its a sea view 2 bed apartment in Lytham St Annes when it first went on the market it was priced at £99.500 for a quick sale. Although we have had a few viewers and a very near sale its still on the market now at a 3 times reduced price of only £69k through Retirement Homesearch another branch of “”First Port Property “” the new apparent name of Perveral.
      Our problems are the fround rent and service charges. The service charge includes the laundry water rates communial lighting and heating etc etc oh and the house managers wages snd apartment. Why should we still be liable for the full amount of it when for 14months now we have never been in the property except regular check ups.
      Im disabled my self and living on DLA my partner works part time. We are pennyless and live in rented property with council help yet they are now threatening to take me to court for the property. If Retirement Homesearch are unable to sell the property what am i supposed to do ?? And how can i pay the service charge from my dla benefit….

      • linda porter says:

        I have decided to go with another agent to sell my mum and dads flat and retirement homesearch have bombarded me with phone calls to keep my business…..so why didnt they do there job properly in the first place? I will let you know how I get on……..but this is causing me so much stress….there must be someone who can help?

  21. The day will come(one day) when I will be selling my 90yr old Mothers 2 bed flat at Pegasus Court,Rustington. I have read all messages on this site and as the future sale price will not be a major monetary matter I may accept that a sale through Homesearch maybe the easiest approach although not the cheapest when needing a quickish sale.?……………………any views..?

  22. I would not use Peverel ON PRINCIPLE. Exercise your right to use an independent agent. For years Peverel has operated an web of interconnected companies to keep all conveyancing and related income in house. It is a scandal. Leasehold law in England needs major reform to stop the likes of Peverel from ripping off vulnerable leaseholders and their families. Leasholders need to make a stand by putting the absolute minimum of business Peverel’s way.

  23. Nikki Parsler says:

    Any news on the OFT findings?

  24. If Peverel won’t register the sale at the Land Registry can’t you do it yourself or get your solicitor to do it? I have just done one for probate and it seems quite simple

  25. Julia Mortimer says:

    Does anyone know if First Port buy back properties? I guess it would be at a substantially reduced price but if I can’t find a buyer for my parents’ flat, this might be an option?

  26. Julia Mortimer says:

    Does anyone know if Firstport buy back retirement flats?

    • Ruth Harger says:

      They pass the details to an agent who shares an office with Retirement Homesearch. She is a very knowledgeable and pleasant lady called Laura, and she negotiates on behalf on of investors.

      My late mother’s flat is on the open market for just under £140,000, and has been for over two years, gradually being reduced. All viewers this year saying they are too young for the lifestyle!! My brother and I are paying out all the charges, as directed, and like others, getting NOTHING in return! My sister in law has had to fight tooth and nail just to get a resale board put up outside, a previous board was just chucked in a hedge!! We were offered just £90,000 for the flat, and despite their claim to pay all solicitor costs, would have been stung for an exit fee no doubt. So proceed with caution!!!

  27. My brother and i are looking into this for my Dad and it seems to be a really bad idea. I’m confused, however: if my Dad purchases a flat, the managment company would sign an agreement with him. If the costs need to be paid following his death, then surely this would have to come out of his estate? They won’t be signing an agreement with either myself or my brother, so how could they come after us for the management fees etc? We certainly couldn’t afford to pay them. Are there any ethical companies building these properties or are they all sharks?

    • In the event of your father’s death, the service charges will still need to be paid by his estate or heirs.

      If you won’t pay this communal charge, everyone suffers and you will be taken to court. If you still don’t pay, the flat will be forfeited and you will lose your inheritance.

      Carlex

  28. Previous comments about exit fees mention a possible decision by the OFT. This department no longer exists. Can anyone tell me what the current situation is regarding exit fees please? Thank you.

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  30. David Colyer says:

    07/10/2016
    I am in the process of selling my Peverel Retirement flat (now managed by First Port) Firstly, I couldn’t find my copy of the lease, after I purchased the flat 4 years ago, so I phoned for a copy and they advised me it would cost £385. However, I applied to the Land Registry Office and they sent me a copy by return email, for £20, plus a copy of the title deeds.
    Now I am being asked for £324 for a ‘Purchasers Information Pack’. Some of this contains service charges breakdown and Service Charge Budget for the current year, management accounts, which I already have.
    Do I need to buy the whole pack when I have some of the documents already?

  31. Ruth Harger says:

    What is wrong with our late mother’s flat?…………………Beautiful two bedroom McCarthy and Stone flat in the very pretty village of Anstey, backing onto Bradgate Estate Park………….why will it not sell? There are other developments selling at twice the price in nearby Leicester, after three years it has still not sold!

    We have had offers, but the buyers pull out each time, and one of the problems is the age group that are buying, I think. Quite often they have lived in larger homes for many years, the family want to encourage a safe and more modest lifestyle, but at the last minute the buyer gets cold feet and changes their mind!

    The flats that are empty are not always in “showhome” condition if the family live some distance away. As a result we, the family, have been holding back the service charge, as we feel that First Port could do more to keep the flat fresh and aired, flushing the loo now and again! They would be gaining the charges without having to do anything otherwise, like refuse bins, laundry use etc….. What’s the incentive to push them for selling?

    We also had the problem of the boards, wouldn’t allow another agent’s board to go up, but did very little to provide their own.

    I have told my children: “don’t EVER put us in a retirement home!!

  32. Rob Simpson says:

    My parents bought a Macarthy and Stone property around 2005. My mother died first and my father a few years later. From 2013 for a couple of years the property was empty and for sale through a local estate agent. What little money that was left after the death of my father went to pay management/service fees. The property was marketed initially for £120k (£10k less than the purchase price) and the price kept dropping over time along with others in the development. It ended up at £90k when my sisters and I found someone to rent it.
    The rent covers the management, service and other charges. The tenant has a great deal and gets the benefits of living in a retirement home.
    Like everyone else we are stuck with no way out. My mother and father worked hard during their lifetime to ultimately be in a position to buy a new retirement apartment and live as best they could in their late years. As others have said they would be horrified at the situation we find ourselves in.
    From the property management point of view their income never changes whether the property is occupied or not. Their fee income is the same. What they haven’t cottoned onto is they could start to offer care packages depending on need and increase business. This service is what people are now looking for when they decide to go into retirement property, they know that should they need it care can be provided (at a cost). This makes the property an attractive option and a desirable place to live.
    Currently the management company are under the delusion all the residents can manage and live independently.
    We know this from experience when my mother in law had to move from her bungalow. The choice of a place that offered a warden and a hot meal at lunchtime in a now dated retirement complex or a new modern property with options for different levels of care depending on need was a no brainer.
    The management company just rips off everyone. Their behaviour and method of operation is bordering on criminal extortion. The sooner regulation of their methods of operation is brought in the better.
    Rant over.

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