March 25, 2017

Another day, another set of fees in a retirement flat sale …

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Dear Sir/Madam,
I am writing to make you aware of the exorbitant transfer fees, contingency fee & charges for information packs that we were charged by E&M Estates Management Ltd when I sold my parents flat last week. The flat in question was built by Mcarthy & Stone in Deal, Kent, managed by Peverel & now E&M.

Transfer Fee £1,499.50
Contingency Fee £1,800.00
E&M Information pack £135.00
First Port Info pack £318.00 (charged by First Port Retirement Property Services Ltd – who administer the ground rent)

The Transfer fee seems an exorbitant amount just to check if the person(s) buying the flat are capable of maintaining an independent lifestyle (according to the copy of the lease we have)

The Contingency fee is somehow related to the service charge, which has already been paid (on a bi-annual basis) which already contains a charge for contingencies. So there’s a double charge?

I can’t understand the charges for the information packs from E&M & First Port – over £450 for a couple of booklets that could be photo copied or provided online?

I was shocked at these extra charges as both of my parents have had to go into care homes & have to pay for their care from the proceeds of the sale. I’m sure if more people were aware of these charges they would reconsider their options when buying retirement homes, especially if they are being managed by E&M or First Port.

yours faithfully

Peter Marriott

Comments

  1. Peter,

    Have you checked the lease, see if any of what you have mentioned are included?

  2. Peter –
    Do you have any evidence they did, in fact, check your incoming purchaser was ‘capable of independent living’? And does the lease say categorically that’s what the fee is for?
    When my Father bought his (McCarthy & Stone) flat, their solicitors told me verbally that the 1% ‘transfer fee’ was for checking the suitability of future purchasers. What a pity I had nothing in writing! The lease was cunningly worded on this point, too.
    When we came to sell the flat, I was told the transfer fee was ‘just a fee’, and not payment for a service.
    We had no option but to pay, as otherwise they wouldn’t have completed the conveyance. But we made it clear we were ‘paying under protest’.
    When all was safely concluded, I took Fairhold to a Small Claims Court. They tried to frighten me, with the prospect of high costs if I lost. But that’s not what Small Clams are about. I did lose (they had a barrister), because I had no proof of what I was told when we bought. However, they had to pay their own costs (which they estimated at £10,000).
    If you decide you’d like to explore a Small Claim, ask Sebastian for my contact details. Will be only too happy to share my experience, as you may have a better case than I did. And your lease could be different.

  3. 1. What does your lease say about transfer fee ? A transfer fee of not less than 35 pounds is often in private apartment blocks. I cannot believe the fee of £1495 will be written into your lease.

    Its only about a 20 minute job for a senior clerk to amend the name of the departing leaseholder by the incoming leaseholder’s name after transfer because the Notice for registration of transfer will have been served with a copy of property title in new owners name.

    2. If First Port are charging £315 you to confirm your service payments and ground rent are up to date, there should not be any additional charge by E&M .

    3. Does the wording in your lease say Contingency fee must be paid and what is the amount ?

  4. Lynne Hulbert says:

    I can fully sympathise with you as my brother and myself have just been through a similar experience.With great relief and celebration we have today completed on the sale of a sheltered housing apartment with assisted living at Aire Valley Court Bingley belonging to our late parents.Originally built in 2003 by McCarthy&Stone,managed by Peverel/Firstport and ground rent administered by Estates and Management.Maintainance fee £413pm ground rent £365pa. It was purchased in October 2012 for £120k at a very stressful time and due to this we didn’t realize the full implications of the lease.We have just sold for £94k gross(net just over £89k) after everyone has taken their cut. So a loss of £30k.They only lived in it for 4 months before my father passed away and my mother went into a care home.
    Outlay for sale:-
    Event/exit fee £940
    Contingency fee. £940
    Welcome pack Firstport £ 318
    Information pack Estates and Management (emailed). £ 135
    Retirement Home search estate agency fee £1800

    Fortunately prior to selling the apartment was rented out for 2 years to the same Tennant.
    Outlay for renting:-
    Fee to contingency fund £525
    Sublet transfer fee. £ 80
    Annual transfer fee(same Tennant)£90

    We only made around £100 pm net after maintainance charges and ground rent and after
    various repairs just about broke even.

    The whole experience has been a nightmare from start to finish and there is certainly no way we would ever buy a leasehold retirement apartment ourselves. Yet McCarthy and Stone continue to build hundreds all over the country.

    I am going to e-mail my MP with the whole story of my experience and ask him to support Carlex,MPs Peter Bottomley and Jim Fitzpatrick in their efforts to outlaw and abolish these unfair practices.I have also emailed Estates and Management to say that the fee of £940 paid to their client Fairhold(no12)Ltd was made ‘unwillingly and under duress’and that I fully intend to reclaim in the future when hopefully leasehold is abolished.