April 24, 2017

Leaseholder Association: Is secret mediation really the cure-all for leasehold?

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UPDATEDudley Joiner demands removal of Leaseholder Association leaflet published on LKP / CarlexDudley Joiner, of the Leasehold Association, has insisted that the letter explaining the organisation be removed from the LKP / Carlex websites.He claims it is a breach of copyright to reproduce the document, which was purportedly sent to all “invitees” – in fact, Martin Boyd was not sent a copy.It was also circulated to MPs.

The copy reproduced on LKP / Carlex was that sent to Sir Peter Bottomley as part of the Leasehold Association’s lobbying exercise of elected politicians.

There is a public interest defence in reproducing copyright material that is being used to sway public policy, as could be argued is the intention of Mr Joiner’s leaflet.

However, Mr Joiner has specifically requested that this document be removed from public view on LKP / Carlex. We have no idea whether it will be published on the Leaseholder Association website.

The contents of his leaflet are broadly in our report, and both Mr Joiner and his colleague in this venture have given their version of its purpose both here and, at greater length, on LKP here

Mr Joiner added that LKP / Carlex could reproduce the photograph with an LA copyright line.

Mr Joiner suggests that he “probably” would have consented to publication of the photograph in the LA leaflet:

“subject to a credit and seeing the article and context [before publication].”

Last month saw the first stirrings of a new organisation: the Leaseholder Association, which is urging another confidential dispute resolution service as the cure-all for leasehold.

The Leasehold Association “has the potential to restore confidence in leasehold ownership”, it informed key “stakeholders” in the sector at a meeting in central London on November 18.

The initiative does not come from a representative group of leaseholders but from entrepreneur Dudley Joiner, founder of the Right To Manage Federation, which isn’t a federation but a commercial RTM facilitator, and owner of property management company Team.

The Leaseholder Association wants to educate leaseholders at £150 a head when they purchase their properties, and to provide a confidential mediation service to resolve disputes.

It is argued that there are 200,000 new leasehold property purchasers every year and “our target is to give them all the opportunity to join the LA.

“Potentially, within five years over one million leaseholders could be enjoying membership benefits for the lifetime of their property ownership.”

It would also mean the Leaseholder Association would have revenues of £150 million.

The leaseholders would join as individuals rather than collectively in a residents’ association that signs up to the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations, an organisation which is representative of leaseholders.

“Through early education leaseholders will become aware of their statutory rights, which should encourage more residents to join tenants’ associations and work together.”

Whether leaseholders really need to pay for this “education” is somewhat doubtful. Subject headings on the Leaseholder Association website briefings are remarkably similar to those found on LEASE and ARMA, where they can be obtained for free.

Talk of leaseholder lacking “education” also makes Carlex / LKP a little queasy.

The argument that leaseholders are basically ignorant of what they have bought, and that this is the source of unfortunate misunderstandings, has been repeated at virtually every occasion when the sector’s professionals meet.

But the observation is not usually accompanied by another of equal validity: that the leasehold sector is purposefully complex and obfuscated for the financial gain of those who operate within it.

There are also a number of issues that require urgent reform, such as these.

Plenty of wealthy, educated and otherwise well informed leasehold owners have fallen foul of the system; they simply have greater means to get out of a fix than poorer leaseholders.

The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership / Carlex (which was invited, then disinvited and finally re-invited to Mr Joiner’s meeting; but unfortunately could not attend) has no issue with educating leaseholders.

But the sector does not require another confidential mediation / dispute resolution service.

Mediation in secret is a way of sweeping the ills of leasehold under the carpet.

Janet Entwistle of Peverel is a firm enthusiast, naturally enough, so long as it keeps disputes out of the property tribunal. On the other hand, she has rejected mediation, suggested here, to address Peverel’s compensation for pensioners cheated in the Cirrus price-fixing scandal.

The Leasehold Advisory Service, which ran an unsuccessful mediation service, also has spoken in favour of this gentle process.

More importantly, the property tribunal itself is seeking to expand its mediation services before disputes escalate to full hearings.

This is actually an encouraging and useful widening of its remit: mediation by the tribunal service is in a different league to other have-a-go efforts, and parties can always reject it and fight things out in a full hearing.

Then there is the fact that all managing agents have to be members of an ombudsman scheme. This is an initiative that came in this year thanks to former housing minister Mark Prisk, and is broadly to be welcomed, even though the rulings are not published.

No one seriously expects ombudsman schemes to make a huge difference, but they are fine for resolving sub £1,000 leasehold disputes.

Finally, there is ARMA, whose regulator is former Labour housing minister Keith Hill. His rulings are public and, as a result, have teeth, as we have already seen.

The mediation offered by the Leaseholder Association is much weaker.

It says:

“Unlike the First Tier Tribunal determinations and decisions of the Housing Ombudsman Service, the Leaseholder Association will assure parties full confidentiality in the settlement of complaints. The LA considers this will be attractive to both parties and in particular the managers as it means there would not be a published decision that might create a precedent.”

Well, at least Mr Joiner is frank about who would most benefit from this.

Janet Entwistle could not have expressed the virtues of mediation more clearly.

Finally, Mr Joiner is seeking a “modest” 10,000 signed-up leaseholders in the first year, rising to 35 per cent of the 200,000 new leasehold sales in the next, or 70,000.

That would bring revenues of £10.5 million to the Leaseholder Association (a company limited by guarantee – ie no shareholders like the RTMF and, indeed, LKP / Carlex).

It may be another hat for Mr Joiner, but if he pulls this off we will raise ours (and eat it).

Comments

  1. Michael Epstein says:

    Perhaps the Leaseholder Association might like to add to their credibility by involving Benjamin Mire?

    • Perhaps Mr Joiner needs the money to pay for the Elim Court appeal?

      • Michael Epstein says:

        A bit harsh, Insider.
        The RTMF has a value of at least £3,500 that could if needed be utilised towards a potential £25,000 legal bill

    • I am surprised and disappointed to read the Carlex/LKP article that appears to criticise the aims of The Leaseholder Association (LA) before the service has even had an opportunity to begin.
      I was employed by Age UK for over 15 years as their national leasehold retirement housing advisor until I was made redundant in 2013 when Age UK made the decision to close this valuable service. (please see Carlex/LKP article on 31st May 2013 ‘Age UK to wind down retirement leasehold service’). I had many years’ experience of using conciliation methods throughout my work, which resolved the vast majority of disputes that arose. I note that the Carlex/LKP article I refer to acknowledged favourably this impartial service and the use of non-adversarial methods to resolve complaints.
      The ways in which The LA seeks to operate within the wider leasehold sector are in many respects similar to the service Age UK provided and are primarily what attracted me to seek employment with The LA.
      Adversarial models to resolve disputes in the leasehold sector are time-consuming and rarely successful often resulting in strained relationships between the parties for a considerable time afterwards. Although The LA is primarily a service for leaseholders we consider the best approach is for potential disputes to be dealt with quickly by engaging with all the parties at an early stage, before relationships deteriorate and the potential for compromise is lost.
      I consider that there are a number of inaccuracies and misunderstandings in the report Carlex/LKP have put on their website, which I would like to address.
      The Leaseholder Association (LA) will not only be educating for a one-off fee of £150 per flat but will provide advice, ongoing support and conciliation for the lifetime of ownership at no extra charge.
      The costs of The LA would increase at the same time revenue is received from membership fees as the demand for advice, support and conciliation would rise both with an increase in LA membership and in respect of new flat-ownership as disputes are likely to arise after an initial period. The reason past attempts at setting up mediation services failed is due to lack of funding.
      The Federation of Private Residents Associations (FPRA) has indicated that it is supportive of the aims of The LA as it can only provide advice to associations and does not provide ongoing support or conciliation at all. The LA differs from the FPRA in providing help to individual leaseholders some of whom may have no prospect of forming an association.
      LA members will not be paying specifically for early education as this is only one of the services offered. They will be paying for specific advice, ongoing support and where necessary conciliation, none of which are provided by ARMA or LEASE.
      Independent sources all indicate that there is need for education in respect of leasehold matters such as the recent CMA Report. With 4.1 million leasehold flats we have to make leasehold work. There are four decades of legislation to protect leaseholders and although it can appear complex, it is not that complicated when properly explained.
      There is a great deal of evidence that suggests the leasehold sector will benefit from a conciliation and conflict resolution service. The only current redress for most leaseholders is to use the landlord or managers’ complaint procedure, which is clearly not independent and viewed by most leaseholders as biased towards the manager. The alternative is to make an application to a First Tier Tribunal, which is fundamentally an adversarial system and can be time-consuming and costly.
      The LA will not be conducting mediation. It will be offering a conciliation service followed by an independent and unique form of redress. It is quite normal that parties entering into dispute resolution and who wish to settle through conciliation might want to keep the outcome confidential. Not everyone wants their affairs made public in the press or on websites.
      Ombudsmans’ schemes cannot resolve sub £1000 disputes. Ombudsman schemes have a very limited remit which concentrates on evidence of maladministration and whether the landlord or manager has followed procedures. They do not determine the reasonableness of service charges and whether they are payable or cover the wide range of other complaints that burden the Tribunals, which The LA can deal with. Cases can only usually be referred to Ombudsman once the landlord or managers’ complaint procedure have been completed whereas The LA will offer a speedy process and certainty of an outcome.
      ARMA’s determinations are about the conduct of managing agents who choose to sign up to ARMA-Q. Despite its undoubtedly good intentions, it does not provide an outcome to individual leaseholders.
      All parties will benefit from the type of conciliation The LA will offer because it gives certainty of an outcome. Carlex/LKP have not mentioned that The LA panels and committees convened to hear disputes will always be formed of equal representation from leaseholders and property managers.
      I hope that the above information will enable Carlex/LKP to publish more balanced and accurate information in the future regarding the service we will be providing.

  2. Michael Hollands says:

    I assume that the Leaseholder Association will only deal with legal disputes and not your everyday complaints which will still have to go through the Management Companies dispute procedure.
    If they can proceed with legal disputes without this delay and have teeth meaning that the management companies take notice then it could be £150 well spent. Cover for life.
    At present there is no point in proceeding through ARMA or ARHM, who are very weak, and Government promoted schemes are long winded.
    If they will also deal with the Landlords who are often far remote then this is a plus.
    Plus a correspondence course on the vagaries of my lease, what more can I ask.
    So I say, give them a chance.
    What is the management companies and Landlords reaction to this new association and will they cooperate with it.

  3. Michael Epstein says:

    The “objective” of the Leaseholder Association is to “educate” leaseholders for a fee of £150.
    I note the following statement from the Leaseholder Association:
    Potentially within five years over one million leaseholders could be enjoying membership benefits for the lifetime of their property ownership.
    May I, take this opportunity to “educate” the Leaseholders Association for a fee of £0?
    The point about leasehold (that is at the root cause of the problems) is that it is not “property ownership”
    You own a document permitting residence for a given number of years.
    I am surprised to find a launch statement of objectives to be so seriously misleading, especially on the key issue for which leaseholders are misled.
    Read carefully, it may also appear that the £150 fee is not for lifelong individual membership, but needs to be paid each time a leasehold property is purchased.

    • Michael Hollands says:

      Michael
      If it is based on the AA system, membership goes with the member and not the vehicle.
      So the £150 could be for lifelong membership.
      The AA have a 95% satisfaction rate and solve 80% of problems on the spot.
      Let’s hope that the Leaseholders Association can do the same

      • Michael Epstein says:

        Michael,
        The phrase used by the Leaseholder Association is “for the lifetime of their property ownership”
        I would take that to be specific to the property. Others may construe it to be referring to all subsequent property ownership.
        The trouble is, if it were to be disputed and went to mediation, any result would be kept secret!

  4. I cannot believe that yet an other useless “body” is even considered to [REDACTED …] Leaseholders and the cost “only” £150.

    Any Leaseholders that are ripped off bullied, harassed, lied to charged for so called services such as non existence maintenance of Fire Equipment year after year, lease extension takes ten months plus, prices quoted for the same size properties in the same Estate £6,200 up to £20,000, demanding to change the Lease terms in order to give them even more powers etc.

    This antiquated medieval rip off Leasehold should be abolished without any delay. No other civilised Country in the World never heard of it so why we the Leaseholders should still be treated as a servants, prisoners need consent for everything from cats and dogs etc. Just like a big brother is watching (treated as little children).

    One only have to read some comments in CARLEX, LKP and About Peverel Home sites how the Leaseholders are treated in the 21st Century and there are many more in fear of been targeted, bullied and harassed etc who can’t go public.

  5. Hi all

    Secret means NOT Open

    Not Open means NO ACCOUNTABILITY.

    NO accountability means UNJUST.

    It is WHY in the courts you have a JURY, why generally anyone cann attend as a visitor, why each party MUST declare all it’s information not only to the court but to each other.

    A system that fails to follows the rules will necessarily FAIL

    Is that clear enough ?

  6. Has anyone actually checked the accounts of RTMF. Is there any substance to this company or is it just a money making organisation. If open and transparent why have secret meetings and surely there must be a conflict of interest to have the same family run business carrying out the property maintainance.

  7. yet even if the ownership is outright say under commonhold all the other problems of communal expenses and priorities obligations to and from each other payment problems and the difficulties will still exist.

    And of course under commonhold the education about rights etc will not need to cost more than £0, as there aren’t any!
    Well no more than can be put on the back of an envelope, in big handwriting.

    • But … why does commonhold work in the rest of the world?

      England (and Wales) is alone in persisting with its leasehold system.

      Why do both McCarthy and Stone and Peverel say there are fewer problems with property management in Scotland? (Answer: because a single, minority investor in the site – the freeholder – has ludicrous powers over those who own only leases – ie tenants.

      If they weren’t tenants, but joint freehold owners there will certainly be problems and fall-outs, but not the system playing which is endemic in leasehold.

      • Thats not the point- the point is that while it might remove the asset manager approach and system playing, there is an almost rabid expectation that CH is akin to owning a house and the restrictions and obligations which come with leases will vanish. The almost complete absence of rights and protections in those matters makes commonhold dangerous for owners. You can achieve what you want by legislating the transfer of freeholds and grants of peppercorn rents and leases of forever – 1 day and outlawing forfeiture, while maintaining a lot of protections, even if they need a week in a body shop to get back in shape 🙂 CH as legislated will have to be scrapped or end up inevitably with a two track apartment ownership system.

        This little nugget is a warning to all

        “The RTM has written to all the residents stating that the appearance of certain vehicles lowers the value of the flats and now requires that all vehicles be no more than 7 years old or if older has a reasonable market value of £2,500. ”

        Which, as not an uncommon mentality, it explains why professionals in the field, not those slavering over every inch of common areas to lease or claiming a “draught excluder” precludes RTM, have a realistic cynicism.

        • Who has this “rabid expectation” about Commonhold?

          Those who have lived and owned flats abroad (or Scotland) have experience of functioning commonhold systems.

          They do not stop all disputes, but they stop the type reported so often reported here and on LKP.

          • Hi

            The SCAMS run by peverel are as equally bad in Scotland as elsewhere.

            Ignore the deeds, get a few residents “on side” to stop the them being sacked [mole technology], and the usual over charges and under performance on insurance, cleaning, and supply of electricity… etc etc etc – let alone refusal to answer sensible questions.

            happy days

  8. Michael Epstein says:

    In November 2015 all long term leaseholds in Scotland will convert to a form of common hold.
    If they can do it why not in England and Wales?

  9. Thats not the point- the point is that while it might remove the asset manager approach and system playing, there is an almost rabid expectation that CH is akin to owning a house and the restrictions and obligations which come with leases will vanish. The almost complete absence of rights and protections in those matters makes commonhold dangerous for owners. You can achieve what you want by legislating the transfer of freeholds and grants of peppercorn rents and leases of forever – 1 day and outlawing forfeiture, while maintaining a lot of protections, even if they need a week in a body shop to get back in shape 🙂 CH as legislated will have to be scrapped or end up inevitably with a two track apartment ownership system

  10. This little nugget is a warning to all

    “The RTM has written to all the residents stating that the appearance of certain vehicles lowers the value of the flats and now requires that all vehicles be no more than 7 years old or if older has a reasonable market value of £2,500. ”

    Which, as not an uncommon mentality, it explains why professionals in the field, not those slavering over every inch of common areas to lease or claiming a “draught excluder” precludes RTM, have a realistic cynicism. A self appointed managing agent dictatorship is however I agree the other extreme

  11. Michael Epstein says:

    Any RTM company still has to abide by the terms of the lease. Therefore i suspect they would have a hard time trying to enforce the 7 year/£2,500 car rule.
    That said, I was wondering what it was on my development that lowered values? My conclusion was Peverel!

    • This is a real example: An RMC in Kensington introducing daft £912 subletting fees after a panic over prostitutes moving in.

      The leaseholder facing this charge could have gone to the tribunal, but that would have involved suing herself ultimately, as she is a shareholder of the RMC.

      There are plenty of examples of empowered leaseholders doing daft things. And they have to make tough decisions, such as what to do about non-payers and those who cannot pay.

      Wherever you get a collective group of people you will have disputes over just about anything.

      But it is absolutely absurd to pretend that commonhold makes these worse or unworkable.

      Italians / French / Spanish, Australians all live in commonhold flats: my experience of the former is that they take running the building very seriously and, after animated discussion, make sensible decisions.

      • Scadinavian Countries, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and also Germany etc in other words every other country in the World have Commonhold, no criminal activity, ripping of property owners etc.
        Everything done in accordance to the Law “no if no buts” meaning every word. Works perfectly no problems what so ever. That is a fact!!!

        It seems to me that there are people who wants to hang on to the backwards old medieval Leasehold regardless of all the huge problems it causes to the Leaseholders. It’s is like a never ending battle.
        It simply is not suitable in the 21st century. Let’s look forward and not pretend that it has been the practise for hundreds of years it must be kept at any cost.

        Perhaps the Solicitors and all the professionals (although I don’t count Managing Agents in since anybody without any qualification can open one) involved with the Leasehold are alarmed for losing easy money making business with “minimum red tape”.

        Nobody from oversees can understand and are shocked how in this country the Leaseholders are treated. 120 years Lease have to be extended before it goes dawn to 80 years otherwise there is “Marriage Value”. When extending through the Statutory route adding 90 years. Nobody lives over 200 years. What do the Lease years actually mean. After an other 30 years and other extension??

        It is purely and simply an other way just to rip off the Leaseholders. Unbelievable and yet some people want to carry on with this crazy system and the way the Leaseholders are abused.

      • As is the above example about cars. Even if they must abide by the lease it is the process an owner has to go through to eventually get them to see sense. Its one thing fighting landlord in Luton and another when they live next door.

        • There as at least three key differences between the landlord in Luton and the co landlord next door.

          One seeks to make a profit from you the other not
          One has no interest in the value or your flat the other has a mutual interest in the value of both properties
          One does not want you to influence the other sites they own one does not own other sites.

          As the result of the three issues that also means there is less inventive of the person next door spending lots of money in taking you to court than someone who earns their living from making a profit from being your landlord.

          Yes an RTM or and RMC or commonhold site can make a silly rules but at least the members of the group can vote on those rules and change them or find out you are limited in what rules can be made. A freehold owning landlord can make up rules which are a lot more onerous and a lot more difficult to overturn.

          We had to spend a year and over £20,000 going to court before we could recover our costs and the money the landlord chose to charge for renting us the reception area and gym even though there was nothing in the lease which allowed for such a charge. Not the sort of thing which would happen in a commonhold system?.

  12. Michael Epstein says:

    Martin,
    Mention is made of a landlord in Luton. Is it not in fact a managing agent in Luton and a landlord in the British Virgin Isles?
    You fought a magnificent campaign at Charter Quay. Had the Leaseholder Association existed at the time and you had used their services than even if you had won, who would have ever known about your victory and the extent of the deceit you had exposed ?
    Is it not correct that managing agents/freeholders rely on “not being found out” to continue corrupt practices?
    Is it not correct that many leaseholders are emboldened to take action once they realise they are not on their own?
    Who could possibly benefit from mediation (sorry it’s conciliation) being kept secret?
    How could any Leaseholder Association be enforced? And since the Leaseholder Association is not a statutory body, what happens if a satisfactory result cannot be achieved? What then?
    Since leaseholders will be paying for Leaseholder Association services, may i ask if a managing agent wishes to use mediation services will they have to pay or will it be free to them but chargeable to leaseholders?

    • It’s true in the case of Charter Quay part of the managing agents offices were in Luton and the landlord based in lots of places. I was working on the assumption AM was just talking about a hypothetical case.

      I have responded to Mark’s comment on the LKP site to explain why the article is correct.

      There will be occasions where conciliation works and others not. Most often its the landlord and agent who gets a benefit from keeping things behind closed doors. For large complex cases like ours it seemed conciliation was a non starter as the managing agent was in total denial about their own abilities (until the courts decided otherwise). As the various cases moved forward mediation seemed to be offered when they thought we were in a weak position. At one point the offer was give in and withdraw now and we’ll not pass on our costs. Somehow despite a s20C order in our s24 case we still had to take some of those costs into a s27 case becasue they had accidentally been added to the accounts.

      Even after our s27 cases we still found it difficult to get payments as an awful lot of processing was needed by the managing agent – or so they said. In the end we found that payments often followed a story in the press. Thanks to The Times, The Telegraph and the The Mail not forgetting the Kingston Guardian for helping smooth the way.

      So yes sometimes it is best to keep things behind closed doors and Peverel was very keen on occasions that things remained that way. In the end did not need to sign a compromise agreement with Peverel or the Tchenguiz group.

      • Yes it is a hypothetical. The very real example above indicates that a distant and remote landlord or agent is very different to the landlord who lives down the hall, and sadly the whispering rumour and gossip campaigns that sometimes go with it. Seb rightly pointed to the RMC case and of course the LKP story of the four in a converted house who have burned through many agents and LVT appointed managers.

        While many here have suffered at the hands of big landlord and those that rue the day they RTM’d or bought the freehold, they are in the main exceptions to the majority of schemes under external or resident control who get by one way or the other, happily making it up as they go along,to so so or to excellent service.

  13. Michael Epstein says:

    Martin,
    That you did so much good and more importantly you refused to be gagged and you made so much effort to make sure that your experience could be shared so that others might benefit is very greatly appreciated.

  14. I have reluctantly given up any hope that my actions and comments will be reported by LKP/Carlex fairly and without additional spin to unreasonably distort or unnecessarily exaggerate what has been said or done.

    I have for some time been seeking an agreement with Cartlex/LKP over some basis protocols. I have discussed these with Sebastian and Martin privately on several occasions.

    The Leaseholder Association is not seeking a cover up, which is implied in today’s update. We circulated some material to a select list of industry specialists from whom we have been acquiring feedback prior to a formal rollout of our service in the New Year. That information is our copyright and every organization has the right to protect its intellectual property from unlawful copying. I have not sought to prevent honest reporting.

    I am copying below my recent email to Sebastian and leave it to readers to judge if I am being unreasonable. I see no point in continuing dialogue on the matter. I have made my position clear for the record and the matter is now closed.

    Email dated 18/12/14

    Dear Sebastian,

    In my view the law on copyright is quite straightforward. If you want to actually copy our documents or photographs you need our permission. Otherwise it is a breach. If you want to keep the photo on the website I will give permission as long as there is a credit under the photo to say ‘Photo courtesy of The Leaseholder Association. Copyright.’ This prevents third parties copying it again and using it without consent. I would like you to remove the LA letter and attached documents.

    My general point, as explained to you and Martin when we had coffee, is that in my opinion you have a responsibility as a journalist to seek my comment whenever you publish something quoting my name or something I have allegedly said. That seems to me a common courtesy. Further if you had called to say you wanted to reproduce our photograph I would probably have consented from the outset, subject to a credit and seeing the article and context. If you don’t want to extend that professional courtesy, then I will be forced to protect our intellectual property rights on our material when copyright is breached and to seek corrections where you misrepresent or misinform your readers. That seems to me to be quite ethical and fair.

    I believe the attitude you expressed in your earlier email is wrong. To the best of my knowledge, unless there has been a change in the law I am unaware of, you cannot copy and publish someone else’s material without their consent on the ground of public interest. You seem to think you can do what you like without impunity. I disagree and I don’t like threats about ‘handing it over to professionals’. It seems to me you should seek advice before, not afterwards.

    KRgds
    Dudley

    • Dear Dudley,

      Your latest post displays your almost limitless sense of grievance, and repeats – again – fundamental untruths.

      You demanded that we remove the reproduction of the Leaseholder Association leaflet on the weasely grounds that it was your copyright. This was in spite of the fact that you have circulated it widely among you chums in the sector and to MPs, rather than just the invitees to the meeting of November 18 (as you claimed).

      We removed the item, and then you complain that we did so with “spin to unreasonably distort” – Eh? Is there such a thing as reasonable distortion?

      Yet again, you write a long post on our websites.

      One concession that you may allow is that at least here you are free to spout whatever you like, even if it is sanctimonious and self-serving drivel. That compares rather better that your insistence on secrecy, and pretending that copyright is a serious matter here.

      To correct an untruth in your post, you did not distribute your material to “a select list of industry specialists”, but you also circulated it to MPs.

      I am confident that there is no copyright issue on such a widely circulated document, which seeks to influence elected representatives.

      However, your insistence on its removal speaks volumes for your priorities and methodologies.

      I will address the “basic protocols” point in your post.

      You appear to believe that you have been unfairly treated, particularly in not having been contacted prior to publication of matters that concern you.

      There are three recent issues that have been publicly addressed that have concerned you:

      1/ Quadrangle House
      Here http://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/quadrangle-house-residents-seeks-regain-control-rtm
      your Right To Manage Federation, which is not a federation but a commercial RTM facilitator, brought the site to RTM and your property management company Team was appointed to run the place.

      You have remained a director of the RTM company for four years. This year you ended up as the only director, even though you do not have a lease there, and are also the proprietor of the appointed managing agent.

      To put it at its most polite, this was an unsatisfactory state of affairs and caused concern.

      You were contacted, and did respond at considerable length, before publication of our reports.

      I shall contact you again as four resident directors now appear to have been appointed.

      2/ Elim Court
      First, you were angry because we reported on October 11 that the right to manage appeal to the Upper Tribunal had failed. http://www.carlex.org.uk/elim-court-fails-win-epic-right-manage-appeal/

      The result was that the residents learned from us, not you or the RTMF, that the appeal had failed.

      This was entirely your responsibility: the ruling had been on the Ministry of Justice website since October 6, and your own lawyer was well aware of the result weeks before that. (I met her on September 23.)

      In short, you had plenty of time to forewarn the residents and it was a shambles of your making that they weren’t.

      There was no requirement at all for me to contact you prior to publication over this matter. Only the tribunal ruling was relevant to the report that was published.

      Then we come to your desire to take this litigation on to the Court of Appeal. We reported this on November 7. http://www.carlex.org.uk/dudley-joiner-rtmf-take-elim-court-onto-court-appeal/

      We were questioning whether this was in the interests of the residents or whether it was, in fact, more in the interests of your own RTMF which faces the landlord’s legal costs.

      Our aim in running this article was to inform the residents in very clear terms what this litigation could involve in terms of their liability and, possibly, costs.

      I have already explained why I did not feel any obligation to contact you before we published this piece. But to repeat: you had made clear your desire to take the matter on to further litigation; we wanted to inform the residents of the potential risks of such a course.

      You have also made clear that you do not think that the Elim Court’s litigation is any of our business. Reasonably minded people would disagree with you on that, I believe.

      I have told you that while going to the Court of Appeal may serve your interests and involve confronting an issue of RTM law, it is not necessarily in the interests of the elderly residents, who are in a position of exposure.

      No one I have discussed this with in the legal profession agrees that a retirement site should be taking an RTM matter on to the Court of Appeal.

      I have urged you to litigate at this level on behalf of well-healed and well-informed metropolitans, rather than pensioners.

      I have frankly admitted to you that this case has made me question the RTMF business model: supposedly free or low cost RTM paid for by commissions to you from the incoming managing agent (that is, managing agent companies prepared to pay the commissions).

      The residents at Elim Court may well have been better served had they been in the driving seat of this litigation from the outset.

      That would have involved paying the RTMF properly for its work. But it would also have meant that the residents could have dispensed with your services at a time of their choosing.

      It is perfectly possible that Elim Court would now be in a better position had the RTMF – which was first introduced there by Carlex – never been involved.

      3/ The Leaseholder Association
      This was presented to the professionals in the sector on November 18. At this point, it could reasonably be said that relations between us were strained.

      Martin Boyd was invited, then disinvited specifically because of his association with me, and then re-invited.

      You obviously did not want us to write about this organisation until you were ready.

      Sorry, that is not a runner. You were lobbying the sector and MPs over this latest venture and we were justified in writing about it.

      Of course, we were going to address an ostensibly representative leaseholder organisation, albeit one set up by a commercial operator in the sector. (To date, you are the sole director of the LA, as you are with the RTMF: a “federation” that hasn’t been a federation since it was set up in 2006.)

      Should I have contacted you before writing about your meeting?

      I don’t see why. Your briefing paper had been passed on to me, giving your own account of the meeting at considerable length. I decided that there was no purpose in speaking to you.

      I reproduced your own account of the meeting, which set you off whining about copyright.

      My intent was not to offend, but to ensure that your account of this organisation was reproduced. As we are critical of the LA, this seemed to me balanced and fair. You probably won’t believe that, but in fact I habitually reproduce the documents on which an article is based.

      You now say that had I contacted you beforehand to reproduce your photograph, “I would probably have consented from the outset, subject to a credit and seeing the article and context.”

      The response to that, Dudley, is four-lettered and blunt.

      I am aware of Victoria Beckham making such demands over editorial approval, but they are not going to apply to you.

      We have had a strained couple of months dealing with matters in which you have been involved. We accept that we have been critical.

      You may not accept this, but we do try to report this sector accurately, fairly and responsibly.

      I am struck by the contrast between your praise for our coverage regarding your nemeses Mr Moskovitz and Mr Gurvits, and the opprobrium you feel once we consider your affairs.

      Regards,

      Sebastian O’Kelly

  15. Michael Epstein says:

    Well, Dudley Joiner,
    If your latest post is an example of “conciliation” to avoid “misunderstandings” becoming disputes as the Leaseholder Association appears to seek, threatening Carlex/LKP is not an encouraging beginning.
    Within such a short space of time, so much of what had been claimed by the Leaseholder Association has been “clarified” or rowed back on.
    Boiled down to its roots, you actually appear to be offering very little for a Leaseholder’s £150.
    Your much trumpeted conciliation service now appears to be for relatively minor matters ( perhaps a property manager not replying to a letter,but not a case of fraud for example). You seem to rely on an agreement from both parties to resolve minor issues, yet you cannot enforce such an agreement.
    With regard to education, leaseholders should know that if desired there is a great deal of information freely available already. Apart from seeing an opportunity to generate a lot of cash i can’t really see what the Leaseholder Association brings to the party.

  16. Michael Epstein says:

    DRYFORCE LTD DISSOLVED
    DESIGN& EVOLUTION LTD DISSOLVED
    PYROSAFE LTD DISSOLVED
    HARRISON PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SUSPENSION OF STRIKING OFF LETTER.
    Any comments Dudley?

  17. “spin to unreasonably distort” – Eh? Is there such a thing as reasonable distortion?”

    Grammar aside, the act of distortion is unreasonable. Whether or not you distorted anything is another matter.

  18. Carlex says:
    December 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm
    Who has this “rabid expectation” about Commonhold?

    Those who have lived and owned flats abroad (or Scotland) have experience of functioning commonhold systems.

    They do not stop all disputes, but they stop the type reported so often reported here and on LKP.

    I missed the reply, so I base that comment on comments made here during the year by supporters. Those abroad have not experienced commonhold at all, they have experienced non leasehold ownership Our commonhold is just awful. The problems here, egregious as they often are, are still affecting a minority of owners and the solution to those problems can be achieved without a two track flat ownership system with vastly differing rights and (lack of) redress, not to mention just as harmful carte blanche.

  19. Michael Epstein says:
    December 15, 2014 at 6:08 pm
    In November 2015 all long term leaseholds in Scotland will convert to a form of common hold.
    If they can do it why not in England and Wales?

    Well because they are not, leases have to be at least 175 years when granted and at least 100 years left and annual rent of under £100 to qualify The reason that the rest are not is because the higher rents and/or shorter reversions, contrived though they may be, are valuable and it was untenable to strip that asset from a freeholder.