June 24, 2017

Peverel’s approach to self-regulation is … you pay for it and it goes on the service charge (even though an LVT says it shouldn’t)

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UPDATED 4/11/12

Peverel commented on issue:

“The LVT decision you refer to was specific to one development.

“We would prefer to resolve issues when they arise, long before an LVT is considered. We are therefore reviewing the use of Ombudsman and mediation services across the Peverel Group and will announce any changes when a full review has been carried out. We will continue to subscribe to this valuable service for residents in the meantime.”

But what faith can anyone have in Peverel’s ombudsman and mediation services when it has no intention of even considering applying an LVT decision (!) across the group? Ombudsman and mediation would be of even less value as the findings would be secret and affect only an individual or a single development.

 

Last March a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal ruled that Peverel should not dump its membership fees of the Housing Ombudsman Service into the service charges. But Peverel is not paying the slightest attention.

The ruling followed an application by Alan Wilkes of The Mansions in Broadstairs, Kent, who disputed whether the £40 charge should be paid for by leaseholders. The full ruling can be read here: www.lease-advice.org/decisions/8587pdf/7001-8000/7825.pdf

Given that Peverel’s membership of the Housing Ombudsman is proudly used in its marketing material, Wilkes presumably felt that it should be paid for out of Peverel’s income as a business cost.

The LVT agreed. It ruled that the Housing Ombudsman costs should only be included if the lease specifically allows for it.

Peverel argued that the cost was permissible because of a clause in the lease that allowed

any additional expenditure in respect of any additional service or item provided by the Manager during the Term which in the Manager’s’ absolute discretion shall enhance the enjoyment security or safety of the Lessees of the Dwellings

But the Tribunal ruled membership of the Housing Ombudsman Service was not a service provided by the manager. It added:

“the facility of paying the subscription through the service charge is not a “service or item provided by the Manager” which “shall enhance the enjoyment security or safety of the Lessees of the Dwellings”, in that the subscription provides access to an additional body to whom lessees can complain, and does not enhance their enjoyment security or safety.”

Although Peverel lost the action, and could not claim its legal costs, Carlex reader Alan Eadie was astonished to receive an email today from Keith Edgar in response to an “Ask Janet a question” email he had send chief executive Janet Entwistle.

Edgar stated: “I confirm that the company has no intention of withdrawing from the valuable service to residents and deleting the nominal cost from the service charge accounts.”

Given that Peverel seems to be determined to defy a legally constituted tribunal, perhaps the best course would be to complain to the Housing Ombudsman Service that its subscriptions are wrongly coming out of the service charges!

Edgar announced his resignation last July, but is still styled “Managing director Peverel Retirement”.

It was wittily suggested that he pay a 10 per cent “exit fee” back to retirement leaseholders on leaving. But this appears to be a protracted process.

Peverel has been contacted for a statement.

Comments

  1. I am sure this is not the first time that Peverel has disregarded rulings from law courts, or other bodies such as ARHM, that simply do not suit them, Clearly they are a law unto themselves.

  2. This is the problem with the whole system that there is no penalty or enforcement— therefore, the system is abused all the time to the detriment to leaseholders. Where is the Human Rights act or equality in this – clearly there is this superior inferior aspect?
    Leaseholders are vassal to their Freeholder.

    • Ombudsman Fees
      My experience with this issue started on 15th June 2012 when I raised it by quoting the LVT references to my Area Manager by post and asked for our contribution to be similarly withdrawn.

      I was informed that it had been referred to my Regional Manager and she would be contacting me, she never did.

      On the 31st July the Area Manager made a routine visit to my development and I arranged to see her to get an update on the progress of my enquiry, she had no information for me apart from a rather glib unacceptable comment supposedly from the Regional Manager in answer to my issue.
      I informed her that I was instigating a Stage 1 of the complaints procedure because of their unacceptable response in the matter.

      On the 28th August I received a reply to the effect that Mr. Edgar had written to the Ombudsman about it but had not received a reply, but would advise me “if a response does become available” [sic] it never did, also that from “feedback” [sic] she had had “that the LVT ruling does not apply to all developments” [sic].

      On the 29th August I escalated the complaint to a Stage 2 by writing to the Managing Director so that the issue may be resolved or if not I could would have then exhausted the Peverel Complaints procedure and could move onto Stage 3 to escalate it to the Housing Ombudsman.

      On 13th September I received an answer to my Stage 2 complaint mail to the Managing Director from the Regional Manager again calling it a “Stage 1 Complaint” [sic] and reiterating her previous comments.

      There has been no further contact since then.

      I must admit to loosing interest in this rather small matter to me personally comparing it to the wider concerns that Peverel are burdened with as up in now I haven’t seen any other correspondence about it.

      Do we have a way forward here though?

      • I agree it is a minor matter, but it is very odd apparently to ignore an LVT ruling. Peverel has been contacted about this and Carlex is awaiting a reply.

        • I am just about to have a stage 2 complaint considered after first receiving a refusal because my complaint was about a complaint ! I am already enquiring of the HO the process of expelling one development from the scheme which the area manager has threatened to do if we don’t pay up, although our lease does not give Peverel the right to collect.We should all pursue this to at least stage 2!