March 26, 2017

Hand over £100,000 Mere Court house manager’s flat and we will give you £10,000, say Peverel / Tchenguiz

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Mere Court in Knutsford, where Peverel wants to sell the house manager's flat ... and give residents only £10,000

Mere Court in Knutsford, where Peverel wants to sell the house manager’s flat … and give residents only £10,000

Selloff

Residents at Mere Court in Cheshire have been offered a £10,000 donation to their contingency fund – provided they surrender their interest in the house manager’s flat.

A meeting was held by Peverel at the 39-flat site last Friday (July 19) and the residents are now to be balloted on whether they wish to dispense with having a live-in house manager.

Ballot papers were distributed at the meeting and the vote will be completed on August 19.

Residents are concerned at what they regard as a hasty process that aims to allow the freeholder to sell a flat worth perhaps £100,000 in exchange for a £10,000 donation to the site’s contingency fund.

Both the local MP George Osborne and Sir Peter Bottomley contacted Peverel questioning the process and raising concerns.

“There was a long debate and significant challenges were raised against Peverel during the meeting,” writes a Carlex reporter who was present.

“The letters from Sir Peter Bottomley and Gerge Osborne were referred to, and there was criticism of the lack of transparency of dealings between Peverel and the Tchenguiz freeholder in relation to the proceeds of any sale.

“Peverel would not entertain splitting the ballot on whether to have an in-house manager from the issue of selling the flat, which would give the residents time to obtain a legal view on its ownership.”

Peverel / Tchenguiz is under close scrutiny in this process – which marks an abrupt about-turn on its policy elsewhere of resisting the removal of in-house managers.

At nearby Metcalfe Court, in Romiley, a ballot on an in-house manager was resisted for months before being held. Carlex involved Sir Peter Bottomley and local MP Andrew Stunell in the dispute.

Feelings were such that Andrew Stunell felt it necessary to attend the count at the London offices of the Tchenguiz organisation.

The Metcalfe Court residents’ association, which was accused of bullying dissenters by the freeholder, finally prevailed in ending the live-in manager. More on Metcalfe Court here

At Mere Court, Peverel is driving the move to end the live-in house manager and sell the flat.

Last Wednesday (July 17) Sir Peter wrote to Peverel CEO Janet Entwistle, referred to the Peverel price-fixing scandal over Cirrus, and told her that leaseholders’ interests should not be “reduced by ignorance, speed and cleverness”.

Dear Chief Executive

We have not spoken recently.

I am taking an interest in the wrong-doing by Peverel business in the past, including the questions of the legality and the propriety and the timings of the self-reporting of misdeeds to the OFT or to the Serious Fraud Office on price-fixing and other possible wrong action.

That will be for another day.

I am not the MP representing the leaseholders in Knutsford. My good colleague George Osborne is.

I know CARLEX have written to him.

You know I know quite a bit about freeholders and managing agents, including successes in helping the leaseholders’ interests not to be reduced by ignorance, speed and cleverness.

Not as the constituency MP, would you kindly let me see the contents of the letter I understand you sent to leaseholders about the possible sale of the apartment described as the house manager’s apartment.

What is it worth?

How much are you offering to the leaseholders? Who gets the benefit of the rest? What is the basis of the calculation?

Have you guided them to a reliable source of practical and legal advice?

At other sites, Peverel has resisted the discontinuation of the use and cost of the live-in house manager.

Have you decided not to oppose all future applications or is there a special consideration at Mere Court?

Yours sincerely

Peter B

I copy this to the local MP and I shall make it available to CARLEX, the Campaign Against Retirement Leasehold Exploitation.

If your timetable changes or is suspended, do please let me know.

In dealing with the £10,00 payment, Janet Entwistle replied to Bottomley/ Osborne: “This money will only be paid to the development’s service charge account if the residents vote to change from a residential to a visiting housing manager. Such a payment is in line with how we have approached this issue on similar occasions at our other developments.”

Peverel is now being asked to provide details of previous arrangements concerning sales of the house managers’ flat.

In a reply to George Osborne’s constituency aide, Peverel clarified the terms of the meeting at Mere Court in a letter from regional manager Peter Whalley, reproduced below.

PevereltoOsborne

It states that the position of Mere Court and other retirement leasehold development (presumably Metcalfe Court) “is not one that can be compared due to the terms of the lease and matters in relation to the landlord”.

Other retirement sites have been made the same offer of £10,000 into the contingency fund in exchange for allowing Peverel / Tchenguiz to sell the house manager’s flat.

It is suggested that Gables Court in Eastbourne actually accepted this offer, although this is unconfirmed.

COMMENT

Carlex urges any leasehold retirement development that is made this offer to get in touch immediately.

The offer of £10,000 into the contingency fund is only being made because Peverel / Tchenguiz are aware that the residents have a claim to this asset.

 We would argue that the house manager’s flat is as much a  common part of a site as the drive up to the front door.

 Read the Oakland Court case, where leaseholders won a case involving £137,000.

 Far better than accepting £10,000, would be to gain control of these flats, sell them and buy the freehold.

 This would remove Peverel / Tchenguiz completely.

 

Comments

  1. Hi Friends
    We at XXX Court lost our House Manager last year when she was sacked for Gross Misconduct. We then were visited by a Relief/Deputy Manager who received remuneration equivalent to £14.50 an hour when travel and holiday pay were added. The Relief Manager was travelling 46 miles a day at 0.40 pence an hour which was equivalent to £18.00 a day. When we complained we were offered a ballot which was a choice of a new House Manager or a Part Time Manager. The residents overwhelmingly voted for the Part Time Manager.

    The House Managers Residents would either be sold or rented and an office will be built for the incoming Manager for 3 hours a day 5 days a week.

    We were taken by surprise when we were offered the choice. Our Freeholder is not part of the Tchenguiz Family Trust (TFT) as far as we are aware. The ballot was arranged by Peverel Regional Manager and Area Manager. The Regional Area Manager is the same person that answered the letter above to MS Robertson.

    We were not offered a £10,000 incentive and find the offer from TFT coming at a strange time. We have been without a House Manager for seven months and generally we manage well.

    Our freeholder has agreed to build and pay for the office for the Part Time Manager.

    Have we been naive in accepting the removal of the House Manager and is there some thing we need to be aware of?
    Chas

  2. Michael Epstein says:

    This is pure speculation on my part, but i do have a theory as to what is behind the £10,000 offer.
    I seem to recall that Peverel/Tchenguiz created a lease on house managers flats, which they used to securitise loans.. It is open to question as to whether the lease stipulated that it was for the use of a house manager.
    Clearly though, the value of the freehold and the leasehold is greatly enhanced if the stipulation that the flat is for the use of a house manager can be removed.
    By agreeing to the offer of £10,000 and releasing that stipulation, it would also have the effect of relieving Peverel of a huge problem if in fact they did not disclose it was a house managers flat, when they created a lease, as by not doing so, it increased the value of flat, thereby enabling them to borrow more.
    Whatever the reason for the offer, residents can feel sure it is made for Peverel’s benefit, not theirs!

  3. From an ex- Peverel employee

    When I worked for Peverel both the Area Manager and the Regional Manager received financial incentives to sell these apartments.

    That is why they have a meeting with the residents before the vote – to ‘persuade’ them to sell, telling them that the apartment will need upgrading soon – new kitchen, carpets etc. All at the residents’ expense.

    Instead of spending all this money the residents can receive £10,000 – wow!! I understand that the Area Manager received £3,000 and the Regional Manager received £10,000.

    • Hi ex Peverel Employee (ePE)
      How correct you are, we were invited to a meeting and we have correspondence from Peverel Regional Manager and Area Manager informing us of the 3 options for the House Managers Position,
      At the first ballot we voted on option 2, then a further ballot and the results were, we voted for a Part Time House Manager.
      The Residential Managers House would ideally be sold and the Freeholder would build an office. We received a Notice of Consultation that was informing us how better we would be if we had a Part Time Manager working from an office, and as you said they informed us if we didn’t chose to have a Part Time Manager, the house required updating with a new kitchen/bathroom/boiler and decoration.

      This ex Peverel Employee certainly knows how Peverel work and hopefully they will continue to provide us with further information.
      Well done ePE
      Chas