April 27, 2017

If Peverel Retirement is admitted to ARMA-Q, what message does that send thousands of cheated pensioners?

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LKP, January 2014: Should leasehold management companies that haven't run a price fixing cartel to cheat pensioners really sit down with Peverel / FirstPort in ARMA-Q?

LKP January 2014: Should leasehold management companies that haven’t run a price-fixing cartel to cheat pensioners really sit down with Peverel / FirstPort in ARMA-Q?

Ten months after being found guilty by the OFT of systematically cheating residents in retirement sites, Peverel Retirement is now lining up to join ARMA-Q.

This is the new ethically enhanced membership scheme that ARMA hopes will demonstrate greater professional rigour in leasehold management. The announcement will be a shock for the ARHM (Association of Retirement Housing Managers), although Peverel will continue to bankroll this compliant trade body and remain a member.

The open question is whether ARMA will take the shilling and admit Peverel Retirement, which along with the rest of the group is being renamed FirstPort.

Or, insist on some weasely probationary arrangement. Or, the most reasonable response of all, tell it to clear off – as the ill-fated Campaign for Housing in Later Life did in April.

ARMA members who passionately believe in professional standards in their sector – and have faith in ARMA-Q as a significant step-upwards – will be aghast at the admission of the country’s most controversial – and largest – managing agent.

Such is its pariah status that Peverel has been dropped by all major house builders, including Berkeley, Barratt and even McCarthy and Stone, which turned a small Hampshire estate agency into the management giant of today.

After a string of controversies, Peverel was the subject of an OFT inquiry that established collusive tendering involving a bunch of stooge companies had won its subsidiary Cirrus contracts at 65 retirement sites.

Displaying an invertebrate streak, ARMA chief executive Michelle Banks declined to make any public comment on the subject.

In January she wrote to a Carlex supporter: “We certainly do not condone the practices which led to an adverse ruling … [but] Cirrus is not and never has been an ARMA member.

“While it has been part of the Peverel Group, the practices that gave rise to the OFT ruling involved Cirrus and Peverel retirement properties. None of the blocks involved were managed by ARMA members and none of the ARMA member companies within the group were involved …

“In these circumstances, our Independent Regulator has no locus to investigate or take any action against Cirrus.”

She added that under ARMA-Q “the practices on which the OFT has ruled will be outlawed, and much greater transparency will help to ensure that if they did occur they would be speedily detected”.

That’s even more transparency, presumably, than the pellucid, crystalline versions promised so often in leasehold customer charters and similar.

It was all rather feeble, compared with Sir Peter Bottomley publicly asking whether the authorities were aware of “possible unlawful or criminal behaviour involving Peverel”.

The ARHM, which Peverel Retirement largely finances, said nothing at all until July, when it decided on careful reflection that it would do nothing either.

It did not, however, have any qualms about accepting Cirrus as a sponsor for its summer annual conference.

Below is the statement today from Peverel’s website

The restructuring with FirstPort means that the services division – Cirrus, Careline, Kingsborough – have been hived off from the property management.

So it’s an open question whether ARMA-Q has “locus” or not over that lot.

Raising the standards with ARMA-Q

We are delighted to announce that all of our private residential property management businesses have submitted applications for ARMA-Q accreditation.

ARMA-Q is the new self-regulatory accreditation for ARMA* members and aims to raise standards across the residential management sector – placing consumers at the heart of everything. ARMA-Q will ensure that ARMA members are complying with their Consumer Charter and bespoke Standards. All ARMA Q accredited members will be subject to a auditing regime and will overseen by an independent Regulatory Panel.

Our retirement business has also applied to join ARMA and, in the near future, will submit an application for the ARMA-Q accreditation.

Talking about ARMA-Q, Janet Entwistle, CEO commented:

“We fully support the work of ARMA and ARMA-Q accreditation in helping to raise the standards across our industry.

“I’m looking forward to our retirement business becoming part of ARMA, in addition to their existing membership of ARHM – this will mean all of our property management businesses will be ARMA members as we change to FirstPort over the coming months.

“The residential property management sector is a complex one. Any opportunity to provide our customers with greater confidence and reassurance in us as their managing agent can only be a positive step forward.”

ARMA-Q will take effect from January 2015

*Association of Residential Managing Agents is a leading trade association for managing agents in the residential leasehold sector

Comments

  1. Change the name and do the same, self regulation never works in this country its no more than a trade association where ideas for further money extraction can be exchanged.

    • Michael Epstein says:

      Spooner,
      An interesting point you make about name changes.
      As a matter of fact you may be in agreement with Janet Entwistle, CEO, Peverel Group.
      In response to the question “Will Peverel be renaming its various companies?” The answer is “Changing the name is not a priority”
      I wonder what could possibly have happened to have suddenly become such a priority?

    • Michael,

      Above all it shows the ways and methods used by Peverel Management Services Ltd how they take advantage of pensioners who retire and look forward to peace and tranquillity. Instead have to fight against this Tyrant Company that has been allowed to behave openly and uncaringly, using the very people that they purport to care for as seen on the front of the terrible magazine from Peverel Retirement.
      The magazine carries 33 adverts which must bring in a lot of money and is seen as a Cash Cow, which is purely to raise money for the Peverel Group. We were informed by our Area Manager that part of our Managing Fees go into production of this magazine.

      I had a meeting with our Area Manager on Thursday, he arrived on site at 9.00 am and had a meeting with our Freeholders to discuss the building of an office on site which would release the House Managers Flat.

      Peverel Services Ltd, (are far as I am aware) do not own our Freehold, but have a 125 year lease using another Peverel Services Company, Meridian who are the Lessor, the Landlord as well as the Managing Agent.

      I have met with the Freeholder of Ashbrook Court and spoken to the Financial Director before he moved on. I find, the company has been very good and has been open and transparent with me, unlike Peverel Retirement who are a disgrace.

      Not only did the Area Manager fail to make the 10.00 am appointment, he was no more than 20m away and he did not bother to say he was running an hour late, typical. He could have called on the Warden Call System (that he states is free) which costs us a Line Rental Charge and an Insurance costing £19.50 a month which was never consulted about or asked for.

      I asked about our long running Insurance Claims where he used the Insurance Cover of Subsidence and Storm, and Flood Water to refuse a simple claim for £702.27 for a leaking WC and Damaged Carpets.

      After 5 years of asking it turns out that all the correspondence was verbal and he never placed the claim with Kingsborough Insurance, who sent me print outs which confirm no claim was ever made.

      I asked the Area Manager about Ashbrook Court being involved in Price Fixing, where he replied, not me Gov, that was the Manager of Cirrus Communications and Technical Manager of Peverel Management Services Ltd.

      The AM admitted that he never kept written correspondence with Cirrus Communications when we were informed that the Warden Call System (WCS) was OBSOLETE, a £20,000 replacement was agreed verbally between our Area Manager, Peverel Management Services and Cirrus Communications.

      No report has been seen which determines that not only was the WCS OBSOLETE, but when damaged in a Lightening Strike, no report was ever seen, that stated the level of damage that had occurred. It took 9 months for the new system which was Up-Graded, to be replaced.

      The two contractors used by Peverel were in collusion and were found guilty of Price Fixing, some 65 Retirement Developments, at a cost of £1.4 million. We at Ashbrook Court believe we were part of this Scam and the model found by the OFT was identical to the model we found had been used by Cirrus and Peverel Management Services Ltd.

      I put this again to the Area Manager who again stated not me Gov, I knew nothing of the goings on at HQ, I aske if he was aware that the contract that was won by Cirrus Communication was in fact sub-contracted to Glyn Jackson the defeated other contractor that was finned £27,500 by the OFT then placed its self in administration not paying a penny, not me Gov.

      This same company Glyn Jackson was back at Peverel Retirement this year, undertaking sub-contract work for Warden Call System’s /Fire Systems under an other name.

      Would you believe this is possible and Peverel Services are ready to join ARMA-Q leaving ARHM, could a fiction writer make this up.

      I asked our Area Manager to bring the Invoice File for last year, still waiting even though he visited my flat on the 23/10/14.

      A phone call I just received at 12.35 today, informed me that the Invoice File was posted to the House Managers Flat, last week. Since the House Manager left on the 26/08/14 and the Invoice File would not fit in the Letter Box.

      Previously the Invoice Files were delivered to Denehurst just 300 m away and I would then pick them up. The House Manager at this development has not been undertaking the full House Managers functions since April 2014?

  2. Michael Hollands says:

    I am hoping that this will be a change for the good.
    ARMA have already stated that the way Peverel have behaved in the past would have precluded them from membership. So becoming a member must mean a change in attitude and policy from Peverel.
    Also when Peverel do eventually leave ARHM, which I am sure is likely, then ARHM will have more freedom in which to enforce their Charter which is in fact quite a good one.

  3. Michael Epstein says:

    Michael Hollands,
    I take a different view from you on this issue.
    Any admission of Peverel to ARMA (which will financially be of benefit to ARMA) will undermine the credibility of ARMA-Q.
    ARMA have already allowed Freemont(whose directors were connected with Peverel during the price fixing period) affiliate membership.
    Indeed since Miss Entwistle CEO, Peverel Group) has refused mediation to settle compensation claims for the price fixing, Peverel are already in breech of ARMA-Q before they have even joined.
    As for ARHM, without Peverel’s support, they will most probably collapse.
    In my opinion, retirement living is so specialised, it needs its own specific regulations. I do not feel ARMA-Q deals properly with this.

    • Michael Hollands says:

      Dear Michael Epstein
      I think we are both saying more or less the same thing but I am looking on the bright side for the future with yourself taking the opposite view.
      I have correspondence from ARMA which states that had Peverel been a member of their organisation at the time of the guilty verdict they would have been expelled.
      So there is no way Peverel can now join without dealing fairly with the consequences of the Price Fixing.
      Also ARHM have told me that they can continue successfully without Peverel as a member.
      So perhaps their attitude will now change for the better.

  4. Michael Epstein says:

    Michael Hollands,
    An optimist has a glass half full. A pessimist has a glass half empty.
    When it comes to Peverel, I don’t even have a glass!

  5. “They won’t be fooled again?” 🙂

  6. Alex Ellison says:

    Having recently made a complaint to ARHM about the duplicitous dealings of Peverel when it attempted to get the leaseholders at Mere Court and Ash Court in Knutsford to give up their rights to the house manager’s flat, it was very apparent that ARHM were unwilling to take any action against Peverel even when the company had admitted what had happened.The background to this story can be found on the Carlex website.

    Peverel head office’s excuse, which was in part accepted by ARHM, was to blame the shortcomings of the Area and Regional managers, which probably explained why Peter Whalley (Reg. M.) left Peverel so quickly and Sarah Whitehouse (Area M.) was moved, but I have found nothing to date to make me believe that this was just a local North-West issue. Otherwise Peverel would not refuse to answer the question of exactly how many house manager flats have been acquired from leaseholders region wide for £10,000 (they hold newly created leases on very many).

    There is also no answer from Peverel as to whether the developments who accepted the money were aware that Peverel was the leaseholder or if they had also been told, wrongly, that it was owned by the freeholder, whether by an inadequately informed employee or not. Peverel also needs to answer how much these flats, acquired for £10,000,have subsequently been sold for.

    Peverel took a multi million pound mortgage with Royal Bank of Scotland which was backed in part by hundreds of newly created (and still questionably legal) leases on these flats, so it would seem unlikely that they would not be as proactive in trying to get vacant possession of the manager’s flats at other developments as they were at the two Knutsford ones.
    Nor have Peverel answered the question as to whether every one of the leases belonging to the leaseholders would require redrafting to allow for the changing financial responsibilities of the upkeep of the HM flat if it were to be sold.

    No organization should allow Peverel to become a member while it is withholding information like this, otherwise ARMA or ARMA-Q could in the fullness of time find they have to deal with another scandal like Cirrus.

    ARHM were not brave enough to take on the likes of Peverel so it is to be hoped that whichever organisation does embrace this company, that it is prepared to be properly and honestly regulating and that it requires Peverel to provide answers to outstanding matters before it is allowed to join.

    • Michael Epstein says:

      What a shame about ARHM. I bet Keith Edgar would have sorted your problems with Peverel out, whilst he was with ARHM!

  7. Alex,
    Excellent posting and above all it shows the ways and methods used by Peverel Management Services Ltd
    to take advantage of pensioners who retire and look forward to peace and tranquillity instead have to fight against this Tyrant Company that has been allowed to behave openly and uncaringly, using the very people that they purport to care for as seen on the front of the terrible magazine from Peverel Retirement.

    The magazine carries 33 adverts which must bring in a lot of money but are seen as a Cash Cow which is purely to raise money for the Peverel Group.

    We were informed by our Area Manager that part of our Managing Fees go into production of this magazine.

    I had a meeting with our Area Manager on Thursday, he arrived on site at 9.00 am and had a meeting with our Freeholders to discuss the building of an office on site which would release the House Managers Flat.

    Peverel Services Ltd, (are far as I am aware) do not own the Freehold but have an 125 year lease using another Peverel Services Company, Meridian who are the Lessor and the Landlord as well as the Managing Agent.

    I have met with the Freeholder and spoken to the Financial Director before he moved on and as I speak what I find, the company has been very good and has been open and transparent with me, unlike Peverel Retirement who are a disgrace.

    Not only did the Area Manager fail to make the 10.00 am appointment, he was no more than 20m away and he did not bother to say he was running an hour late, typical. He could have called on the Warden Call System (that he states is free) which costs us a Line Rental Charge and an Insurance costing £19.50 a month which was never consulted about or asked for.

    I asked about our long running Insurance Claims where he used the Insurance Cover of Subsidence and Storm, and Flood Water to refuse a simple claim for £702.27 for a leaking WC and Damaged Carpets.

    After 5 years of asking it turns out that all the correspondence was verbal and he never placed the claim with Kingsborough Insurance, who sent me print outs which confirm no claim was ever made.

    I asked the Area Manager about Ashbrook Court being involved in Price Fixing, where he replied, not me Gov, that was the Manager of Cirrus Communications and Technical Manager of Peverel Management Services Ltd.

    The AM admitted that he never kept written correspondence with Cirrus Communications when we were informed that the Warden Call System (WCS) was OBSOLETE, a £20,000 replacement was agreed verbally between our Area Manager, Peverel Management Services and Cirrus Communications.

    No report has been seen which determines that not only was the WCS OBSOLETE, but when damaged in a Lightening Strike, no report was ever seen, that stated the level of damage that had occurred. It took 9 months for an Up-Graded System to be replaced.

    The two contractors used by Peverel were in collusion and were found guilty of Price Fixing, some 65 Retirement Developments, at a cost of £1.4 million. We at Ashbrook Court believe we were part of this Scam and the model found by the OFT was identical to the model we found had been used by Cirrus and Peverel Management Services Ltd.

    I put this again to the Area manager who again stated not me Gov, I knew nothing of the goings on at HQ, I aske if he was aware that the contract that was won by Cirrus Communication was in fact sub-contracted to Glyn Jackson the defeated other contractor that was finned £27,500 by the OFT then placed its self in administration not paying a penny, not me Gov.

    This same company Glyn Jackson was back at Peverel Retirement this year, undertaking sub-contract work for Warden Call System’s /Fire Systems under an other name.

    Would you believe this is possible and Peverel Services are ready to join ARMA-Q leaving ARHM could a fiction writer make this up.

    • Michael Epstein says:

      Without doubt ARMA-Q is an improvement. For example, under ARMA-Q it could not be decided verbally to spend 20 grand of residents funds to renew a warden call system, with no survey nor a trace of paperwork to support that the warden call system needs renewing. How very odd though, that if the system was deemed obselete, such that replacement was required only a few weeks later it was deemed to be in good condition for the purpose of an insurance claim?

  8. Michael Hollands says:

    Alex
    I think you should copy your comment to ARMA.
    They will have to persuade Peverel to sort this major issue out before admitting them to membership.
    Otherwise their own reputation will be at stake