May 22, 2017

‘Our flat at McCarthy & Stone’s Buckingham Court has fallen in value £60,000 in 14 years’

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BuckinghamCourt2

(… and what does the Elderly Accommodation Counsel / HousingCare.org actually DO, apart from advertise these properties for sale?)

By Ian Robinson

If you require an example of how bad the resale value of the properties are in the retirement market you need look no further than the McCarthy and Stone built Buckingham Court.

We assisted our parents to purchase a two-bedroomed apartment at the site in Shrubbs Drive, Bognor Regis, West Sussex 14 years ago for £142,00.

These flats are now being advertised in the local press two weeks ago by estate agents for sale at £80,000 – a loss of £60,000.

This coupled with a lease that is frankly draconian and a landlord, Fairhold Homes Ltd, which has no requirement of any type to look after the property because the lease ensures that anything that requires repair is to the cost of the leaseholders just makes my blood boil.

[The flat advertised below for £75,000 is in fact a one-bed flat.]

 

Here is what the Elderly Accommodation Counsel / HousingCare.org says are the main facts and it also points out a one-bedroom flat for £75,000. It also notes that Buckingham Court is managed by FirstPort (previously Peverel) “for great customer service”.

Main facts

Retirement/sheltered housing
46 flats. Built in 2001. Sizes 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom
Resident management staff and community alarm service
Lift, lounge, laundry, guest facilities, garden
Access to site easy, but less so for less mobile people. Distances: bus stop 150 yards; shop 150 yards; post office 1 mile(s); town centre 3 mile(s); GP 100 yards; social centre 175 yards
Regular social activities include bingo, coffee mornings, and music evenings. New residents accepted from 60 years of age. Both cats & dogs generally accepted (subject to terms of lease and landlord permission)
Leasehold
Developed by McCarthy & Stone
Info updated: 17/02/2010.

Availability
The following details have been provided to EAC:
Re-sale: a one bedroom retirement apartment located on the first floor. Price £75,000. Please contact our Retirement Homesearch sales team, as above. (Notified 09/10/2015). Re-sale: a one bedroom retirement apartment located on the ground floor with access onto the communal gardens (former show flat). Price £. Please contact our Retirement Homesearch [FirstPort’s in-house estate agency] sales team, as above. (Notified 09/10/2015).

And here is another McCarthy and Stone one from the archives:

MurielMcNally

Comments

  1. Michael Hollands says:

    I have mixed feelings about the EAC
    They do provide a valuable library of all types of Retirement Complexes which is very useful for reference for those wishes to purchase.
    They do not give any indication of the Management Companies failures and sometimes do not update their information on change of management. They have described old M&S complexes managed by Peverel as award winning.
    Although the EAC card game used to make awards to Management Companies gives residents some enjoyment, it does not take into account some serious past or present offences, which probably those residents have little knowledge of.

    • Further to the above posting this was seen on CARLEX on 22/11/12?
      Pensioner blames Peverel for loss of value to her flat November 22, 2012 By Carlex:- an abridged version with facts added.
      A resident at Denehurst Court, Muriel McNally blames Peverel Retirement (name changed to FirstPort Retirement Property Services Ltd) for the value of her flat.

      A pensioner who blames Peverel Retirement 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 – attended the hearing himself.

      For five years, she has been fighting the action, involving local and national politicians, CARLEX 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, the residents says).

      Chas Asks Sebastian:-

      Does any one know what the outcome was?

      CARLEX Continued:-

      She bought her McCarthy and Stone one-bedroom retirement flat at Denehurst Court, in Church Stretton, Shropshire, in August 2005 which was on offer for £124,950, but she paid £119,950 using the exchange of her normal freehold family home.

      Chas Says:

      Beware those who use part exchange there freehold family home, as this has also been seen as a poor investment for the seller and a great investment for the Developer, see on CARLEX???

      CARLEX Continued:-

      The flat is now on the market for £95,000 “and I would be lucky to get even that,” she says. “One flat in 2012 was sold for £70,000 and another for half what the owners paid for it.” She is arguing that Peverel Retirement’s mismanagement of the site, particularly in relation to controversial changes to the car park. “Flats there have plummeted in value not just in relation to the general market in Church Stretton.

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

      Chas Says:

      I have lived at Ashbrook Court since 2008 and the value of the flats did fall for a time as there were 7 flats for sale at the same time. Since then the value has increased by some 37%. One flat sold for £79,000 which was a one off for a quick sale. One then sold in 2012/2013 for £117,000 and now flats have been on the market for £120,000. They are lovely flats having 2 bedrooms and finally a part time Development Manager, who so far has been seen, as very good.

      One particular resident has given his free time for the past 4 years to keeping the 28 flats looking very nice as he provides Hanging Baskets outside flats. These were paid for by Peverel when the House Manager at the time, over spent £4,000 of our money without any consultation. The Regional Manager Mr Whalley decided that a Good Will Payments of £3,700, was due for the failure of the House Manager and her direct boss the Area Manager who had not prevented the HM from spending our Service Charges and using the House Managers Phone, for personal phone calls, (£1,250), over a twenty month period.

      The resident at Denehurst moved out of the flat, but was still paying £1,800 in Management Fees which included over £8,000 in rent for the Resident House Manager, and £1,200 in council tax for a flat that she does not use or rent out. She believes Peverel Retirement 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 was 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

      The resident is sceptical of using a mediation service suggested – and paid for – by Peverel Retirement and she reserves her legal rights to take the case to the courts. Peverel chief executive at the time Janet Entwistle had been urging residents to take their disputes to mediation, which avoids the unwelcome publicity and costs surrounding Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

      But CARLEX 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. LVT now FTT are the only language abusive freeholders and their managing agents listen to.

      CARLEX has also long draw attention to the fact that some Development Leaseholds 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.

      Chas Says:

      I have seen first hand what CARLEX has said, but would add that in my experience and from residents around Britain that contacted me, the developments where the values have dropped, have been those with communal areas, such as Lounges and separate kitchen areas, where the value is not reflected, when the flats are sold.

      Also the rise of the Retirement Villages will no doubt be the next bomb shell, when relatives realise the amount of Exit Fees that will be charged???

      • McCarthy & Stone retirement homes – what happens when you want to sell?

        By Richard Dyson:- Daily Mail: 28/10/2012 Published: 00:01, 28 October 2012: Updated: 07:51, 28 October 2012

        McCarthy & Stone, the specialist retirement property developer, is currently advertising 239 developments on its website (as of October 2012). Of these some are at planning stage, some under development, and some complete. In 13 of the developments the company is actively promoting ‘resales’ – flats which have been previously owned but which are now on the market again.

        Investigation: The grim reality of care home sales:-

        Our research looked at these properties and then identified other flats in those, same developments that had been sold within the past 12 months and where Land Registry records existed for another, previous sale. This showed how values had changed over a specific period. Records existed for properties in 11 of the 13 developments.

        The results detailed below, make grim reading.

        Argent Court, Barnet, Greater London

        A McCarthy flat here is currently being marketed at £199,950. The same flat sold last, in July 2008, for £266,950, so today’s asking price represents a loss of at least 25 per cent for this owner. The most recently sold flat within Argent Court changed hands in June 2012 for £190,000, having previously sold in October 2007 for £248,447, generating a loss for that owner of 24 per cent. During the period the wider local housing market saw prices fall by a far smaller 0.44 per cent.

        Pinetree Court, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

        A McCarthy flat here is currently being marketed at £130,000. The same flat last sold in August 2006 for £159,450, so today’s asking price means the owner will lose at least 18 per cent if a sale is achieved. The most recently sold flat in the development with records of a previous sale went for £147,000 11 months ago. Before that it sold in December 2006 for £200,950, meaning that owner lost 27 per cent. The wider local market actually rose 3 per cent in the period.

        Northgate Court, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire

        A McCarthy flat here is currently being marketed for resale at £164,950, although Land Registry holds no records of a previous sale. But another flat in the development sold in April 2012 for £140,000, having previously sold in September 2009 for £169,850. That owner’s loss was thus 18 per cent – during a period when wider local house prices rose by 5 per cent.

        Eden Court, Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire

        A McCarthy flat here is currently being marketed for resale at £140,000. This flat sold twice before: for £172,351 in October 2007 and for £149,000 in September 2010. Both owners appear losers. The most recently sold flat in the same development went for £172,500 in January 2012, having previously fetched £221,604 in October 2007. This owner lost 22 per cent. The wider market fell by less than half this amount – 9 per cent – in the same period.

        Salter Court, Colchester, Essex

        A flat here is currently up for resale at £119,950. The same flat sold in October 2005 for £158,950, so its unfortunate owner will have lost 25 per cent over seven years – and worse if less than the asking price is paid. Another flat in the development sold in June 2012 for £113,000, having sold previously for £148,950 in August 2005. So that owner lost 24 per cent during the period. The wider local market grew 7 per cent in the period.

        Portman Court, Uckfield, Sussex

        A McCarthy flat here is currently being marketed for resale at £170,000, but Land Registry holds no records of a previous sale. But another flat was sold in this development in April 2012 for £180,000, having previously sold in August 2008 for £249,950. The poor owner of this property thus lost £70,000 in four years (28 per cent). The wider market for the region, meanwhile, rose by 3 per cent in the same period.

        Amelia Court, Worthing, Sussex

        A flat in this development is currently being advertised for resale at £395,000. This is more than the price the same property achieved in September 2010: £375,000. Another flat in the complex was sold in April 2010 having previously fetched £228,950 when it changed hands in September 2010 – a drop of 15 per cent. Wider property in the region dropped by just 2 per cent in the period.

        Otters Court, Witney, Oxfordshire

        A flat in this development is currently being advertised for resale at £149,950. The same flat last sold in September 2010 for £177,950, so the owners are looking at a likely loss of 16 per cent or more. But elsewhere in this block is a case of a McCarthy owner making a profit. Hurrah! A flat was sold in June 2012 for £249,950 which had previously sold for £222,733 in November 2008. So that owner pocketed a 12 per cent profit – more than the wider market’s growth, which was 9 per cent for the period.

        Montes Court, Coventry, West Midlands

        A resale flat in this development is currently on the market for £154,950. It last sold in May 2009 for £179,950, so today’s owners are looking at a loss of £25,000 (14 per cent) minimum. That would be better than the loss suffered by a neighbour. A flat sold in this complex in July 2012 for £179,950 having previously been sold for £229,678 in March 2008. So those unfortunate owners suffered a 22 per cent loss. The wider market fell 9 per cent in the period.

        Rowan Court, Thirsk, North Yorkshire

        A flat is on the market in this development for £119,950 having previously sold in July 2007 for £107,500. This appears an exception among McCarthy stock where prices have risen (if the current price is reasonable and achievable). Another flat in the complex sold late in 2011 for £144,450 having previously sold for £158,613 in May 2007. That’s a loss of 9 per cent – but, crucially, it’s a smaller loss than the wider local market, which fell 13 per cent in the period.

        Timothy Hackworth Court, Stockton-on-Tees

        A flat here is on the market for £145,000. It has sold twice before: for £166,261 in July 2008 and then for £158,716 in February 2009. So both owners look like losers. But one of their neighbours did better. In June 2012 a flat in the complex fetched £220,000, having previously changed hands in June 2009 for £174,950. That represents a handsome 26 per cent gain, which outstripped the wider local market, which grew in price by just 2 per cent in the period.

    • Can some one help, I have been sent a magazine from Age UK Life which is a good magazine and I looked for who was advertising and supporting. Every thing was fine until I looked at the back page and saw that Churchill Retirement Living was advertising.

      I had become aware that Churchill Retirement was linked to McCarthy & Stone who in the late 1980 and into 1990 began building Retirement Developments using Peverel as Managing Agents.

      Are there any links still between them???

  2. Has my comments been spammed again?

    • Michael Epstein says:

      Perhaps re-sale values might be enhanced if only Peverel/Firstport Retirement the managing agents were regulated by ARMA-Q?
      I understand that they applied for ARMA-Q accreditation some 15 months ago, yet still remain outside of it?
      Could there be a compliance issue?

      • Michael Hollands says:

        Michael, If you look at the First Port website (retirement section), from the way the Accreditations are written, you would get the impression they are already ARMA Q members.

  3. Michael Epstein says:

    Michael Hollands, Not just Firstport. If you look at the Freemont Property Managers website (who are owned by ex Peverel/Firstport directors) they make mention of ARMA-Q . They have written “ARMA-Q, which is our trade bodies class leading code of best practice” Note the sneaky use of the word”OUR”. the implication is that Freemont are members of ARMA-Q, but it has been put in a way that doesn’t actually say they are members.

    • Michael Hollands says:

      It amazes me how a Professional organisation like ARMA allows them to get away with it.
      I spent a lifetime working in the building industry and the professional bodies like RIBA, RICS and CIOB would never stand for it.

    • Michael, when companies attempt to get away with sneaky ways of confusing they are answerable to the
      ASA.

      How are ARMA acting professional when they refuse to reply to legitimate question I asked over a year ago?

      • Michael Hollands says:

        Chas, I have been asking them legitimate questions for years, I very rarely get answers, and when I do they are fairly meaningless.
        If Peverel/First Port ever do get Q qualification, then I anticipate that ARMA will be flooded with questions from the hundred thousand or so of their residents. They will never cope.

  4. Michael have a look at the ASA

    “The Advertising Standards Authority is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media. We apply the Advertising Codes, which are written by the Committees of Advertising Practice. Our work includes acting on complaints and proactively checking the media to take action against misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements.”

    1)Peverel Management Services Ltd, 2) Peverel Retirement, 3) Firstport Retirement produced Booklets which were given to Residential House Manager, so they could respond when they were asked “WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE MANAGEMENT FEES” these Booklets were part of the “DEVELOPMENT GUIDE” which can be found at each development, usually in the communal lounge areas.

    I have recently been sent these booklets and it can be seen that Peverel/Firstport have used them to help Retirement Residents to purchase Leasehold Flats, then later deny, what was in the booklet, was correct?

    1) Peverel Management Services Ltd, Peverel Group Limited 2003 Booklet, under the heading ” IMPORTANT INFORMATION EXPLAINED” – (Purchaser Information Guide) Paid by Residents when moving in, paid again, £304.00 when moving out?

    2) Peverel Retirement Booklet was under the heading of “YOUR SERVICE CHARGE EXPLAINED” – (What does the Management Fee Cover).

    3) Firstport Retirement Booklet is under a different headings “WHAT DOES YOUR MANAGEMENT FEE COVER” – (Explaining Management Fees) – (Your Money Our Management).

    Both of the Booklets 1) & 2) explain items covered by Management Fees, paid as part of the Service Charges.

    Peverel Retirement decided unilaterally 2005/06 to begin charging for items, which are included in the Booklets?

    I emailed the Director of Firstport Retirement, Carol Crowe, in August 2015, she informed me in writing, that these Booklets had no relevance at all, and Items I mentioned, were not DUPLICATED?

    From these two booklets 1) and 2) it has become clear that we have been paying twice for a Range of Activities and for the publications of “The Welcome Pack” and for the magazine “Life & Style” which the Director also now denies, that we pay for both out of Management Fees.

    • The items below can be found in the Booklets provided by Peverel/Firstport and are now denied by Carol Crowe Director of Firstport, as not having any significance?

      In have spoken to my MP, who will now support my actions.

      Items found in the Booklets.
      1.Management Fees
      2.Service Charge Assessed & Verified
      3.Independent Audits
      4.Arrange Tenders
      5.Development Managers Training
      6.Staff Visits & Travel Costs
      7.Major Works Consultation
      8.Health & Safety
      9.Risk Assessments
      10.ARMA Codes of Practice
      11.Welcome Pack
      12.Life & Style Magazine

      Booklets are from 2003, 2011,and 2015

      1. Management Fees (MF)
      Management Fees are not shown complete as Peverel/Firsport separate costs giving the impression that the actual MF at Ashbrook Court (ABC) is less than half what we pay for the Service Peverel Supplied. Included in the Service is the RHM who received Remuneration which we paid nearly £12,000 a year. Then Relief Costs if required, allows the costs of traveling which is also in the Management Fee?
      * Management Fee £12,920.40
      * Remuneration £11,715.38
      These two costs added together are £24,635.78, Area Manager (RC) stated this was for clarification only, when I asked why was “Training” was not a separate heading, RC said nothing?

      2. & 3 Service Charge Assessed and Verified/External Audit
      This is shown as being included in the Management Fees, yet we have been charged this fee as separate £328 Professional Fees?

      4. Arrange Tenders
      The tenders for Painting and Window replacement was charged to the Service Charge costing us nearly £3,000 even though the costs were included in the Management Fees prior to the Technical Staff been made redundant?

      5. Development Management Training
      Development Managers Training is covered in the Management Fees, yet we are charged again under Remuneration. The costs charged to our Service Charge over the past 7 years amount to over £2,500 for the 4 RHM and £500 for the Part Time House Manager.

      6. Staff Visits & Travel Costs
      We have in the past and in the future pay for Relief/Deputy visits which cost us £15.00 P/H, times the number of hours worked 3 hours a day this works out to £45.00 a day three visits a week costs us £54.00 in Travel Costs which are shown to be included in the Management Fees.

      7. Major Works Consultation
      Major Works Consultation is included in the Management Fees, we were charged 10% of the contract sums for both Painting and Replacement Window contacts costing us £3,000 in Service Charges, this reflects the redundancies arranged by Peverel in 2009/10 by Keith Edgar when the Peverel Group made almost all Technical Staff redundant and transferred the costs to the residents?

      8 & 9 Health & Safety/Risk Assessment/Fire Testing Assessments
      Health & Safety is an ongoing requirement which is included in the Management Fees yet we have paid from Service Charges for Risk Assessments to trees which were only saplings at the time and charged again to the Service Charge for Tree Surveys? Risk Assessments are included in the Management Fees yet we were charged by Cardinus for a Risk Assessment which was a farce and was not properly carried out this again we paid for from the Service Charge. Fire Testing is only required in the House Managers Flat and is included in the Management Fees, yet other developments are charged separately for this and charged to the Service Charge?

      10. ARMA Code of Practice/Ombudsman
      These are not provided by Peverel so are not a Service Charge, but are a Management Operational Cost which is part of the Service they are required to provide under the LTA.?

      11. Welcome Pack
      Welcome Packs (WP) are charged to the resident selling, (£304) which is then given to the incoming resident and is included in the Management Fees, the new resident then pays the Service Charges, Management Fees which also include the payment for the WP, so every resident pays twice for the WP?

      12. Publication of the Life & Style Magazine
      Publication of the Life & Style Magazine is paid from the Management Fees, when I asked RC if we contributed to the magazine he wrote “yes” in a letter to me, then denied it?

      I therefore requested on the 28/08/2015 that Carol Crowe, Samantha Gibson and Roger Cooper attend a meeting at Ashbrook Court, to arrange refunds for the items, we paid for twice?

      Still waiting for the meeting???