March 26, 2017

Tchenguiz backs down over demanding £5,000 from couple … for a conservatory built more than 20 years ago!

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TookeyTchenguizWinThe Tchenguiz Family Trust has backed down on demanding £5,000 for consent for a conservatory that was attached to a  retirement leasehold bungalow more than 20 years ago.

Two days ago, Carlex raised the issue with Estates and Management, which manages the Tchenguiz residential freehold portfolio.

The original story can be read here

The correspondence was also copied to Kris Hopkins, the housing minister, and Michael Ellis, the MP for Northampton North, where the retirement leasehold bungalow is situated.

It was also copied to Sir Peter Bottomley and Labour MP Barry Sheerman, who has spoken in the Commons over similar demands concerning Tchenguiz freehold interests in Huddersfield.

The demand for £5,000 consent was presented to owners Simon and Susan Tookey, who were trying to sell the property at Sheraton for £140,000 at last November. The buyers’ solicitor queried consent for the conservatory.

The couple claim that the £5,000 fee lost the sale even though the Peverel employed house manager could confirm that the conservatory was built more than 20 years ago.

Peverel refused to allow its employee to assist the Tookeys by confirming this date because it would harm the interests of its employer at the site, ultimately the Tchenguiz Family Trust.

The bulk of Peverel’s business comes from this organisation, which until the arrest of the Tchenguiz brothers on wrong evidence in March 2011 also owned Peverel itself.

Carlex this morning received the following email from Suhail Qureshi, of Estates and Management:

Dear Mr O’Kelly,

Following an initial query by Mrs Tookey, we made a number of enquiries to establish the facts around the construction of the conservatory at 46 Sheraton Close, including contacting the Deputy House Manager.

We have been advised by the Deputy House Manager that she believes that the conservatory was built by the previous tenants over 20 years ago.

Notwithstanding the fact that no documentary evidence has yet been found to corroborate this, we have made decision to waive the £5,000 fee.

A letter confirming this has been issued to Mrs Tookey’s lawyers.

Yours sincerely,

Suhail Qureshi

Consents Department

Comments

  1. Michael Epstein says:

    I am very pleased to hear of this particular outcome. However, i doubt very much that E&M would have responded in the way they eventually did, without the assistance of Carlex/ LKP.
    Congratulations are due to the solicitor involved who sought to find the permissions to build the conservatory. That solicitor performed their role in a proper manner, the previous solicitors less so.
    Since permission is required for “alterations” may i ask what is legally defined as an alteration?
    Ranging from a conservatory(which of course is an alteration) is a new bathroom or kitchen classed as an alteration? Maybe a new front door or windows? But what if the doors and windows are the same design?
    Come to that what about new heating systems?
    When Peverel were trying to flog off some Quantum Heaters (alongside SSE the very day they received a record fine for mis-selling) to raise a few bob, they put on their website “No permission was needed for the new systems”
    Did they have this in writing from the freeholder (assuming they know who the freeholder is?)
    What happens a few years down the line if a short of money freeholder says a leaseholder did not have permission to install Quantum Heaters? What then?

    • Depends on the lease wording. Alterations in general, where permitted, are subject to consent which cannot be unreasonably witheld, and reasonable professional fees can be recovered. A conservatory may be an alteration however if the area is demised as a garden, or the lease would treat this as an addition or extension, there is usually no right or presumption to do this, and therefore a premium and fees might be due. Sadly experience of “Extortion and Malfeasance” shows that they rarely check the lease- throw enough mud some of it will stick- means people naively pay up.

  2. Great, but in the meantime Mr and Mrs Tookey have lost their sale and paid out for legal assistance to resolve the issue. I can’t imagine Estates & Management have rushed to offer them compensation for the extra expenses suffered. Furthermore it clearly needed Carlex’s help to force the issue. It really is time that MP’s brought this awful company E&M to book. Between us, we have enough evidence of them fleecing the elderly.

  3. Michael Epstein says:

    Ian Hay,
    With a few honourable exeptions, MP’s cannot plead ignorance of the activities of E&M. There are enough parliamentary motions concerning them.

  4. There are many examples about E&M ie for obtaining a consent for the replacement of the windows.
    E&M never explained their reply: “A consent is only given in condition we don’t get any complaint from a local neighbourhoods”.
    How can any neighbour even know what windows were replaced since all the replaced windows were identical, “like for like” recommended by the Property Manager. The Leaseholder requested for a confirmation, clarification this Company did not do so even an Ombudsman was involved.

    It is absolutely disgraceful how this company treats the Leaseholders and it seems even the Ombudsman seems to be powerless to do anything. E&M pays for the Ombudsman services as far as I understand it.

    • “E&M pays for the Ombudsman services as far as I understand it.”

      I assume you mean the Housing Ombudsman for which Peverel used to pay an annual subscription, and was stopped last year, over Age UK’s involvement as Peverel was funding its leasehold advice service? I don’t know how it ever came about in the first place because the HOS is for social housing! It is now the Property Ombudsman with no annual fee payable by Peverel – I don’t know about E&M?

      On the subject of who pays for window repairs etc, at the Budget meeting held here last week, that issue was raised and the ignorance of all the leaseholders present was staggering. From the discussion that ensued it transpired that no one seemed to realise that all the repairs in the common parts were paid for by us the leaseholders out of the service charge. Most had thought that the landlord paid for the repairs to windows and the common parts!

      I think this misconception stems from the sales techniques used; the building company and Peverel deliberately refer to leaseholders as ‘Owners’ (!) – the notice on the door of the lounge reads – “Owners’ Lounge”, not Residents’ Lounge. Most residents think they own their flat. One relatively new resident, who always has the most to say, stood up and said: “What do I actually own?” to which the reply was NOTHING! His ego was somewhat deflated!

      The realisation that, even though the landlord is responsible for keeping all the common parts in good repair, it is the leaseholders that pay, and this came as a shock to all those present – so the penny may be beginning to drop? – at last! I wonder how widespread this belief is among leaseholders in general?

      • Lesley Newnham says:

        Very widespread I would suspect as advertising ” a home you OWN” is fine according to the advertising standards agency even though it is clearly VERY MISLEADING!! They seem to think that at point of purchase all these things are explained by solicitors!!

        • No, thats basic ignorance, spending 6 figure sums and not bothering to find out what you are buying into.

          Ever since its publication, our enquiries packs -info for buyers and sellers- is sent with a specific guide on the service charge scheme for that block written for the newbie as well as “Living in Leasehold”. Vendors have grumbled that its giving their buyers” info to reduce their offer” or “scaring them off”.

          So thats why its often about people superimposiong their expectations in place of obtaining an understanding.After all you do own it only for a fixed term not forever and as long as you keep up the payements. The prroblem is the the way payments are created and exploited…

          • “The problem is the the way payments are created and exploited…”

            Yes, and how would a buyer, and their solicitor, be aware of these fraudulent practices that take place immediately AFTER the contracts are signed?

            Change of the House Manager’s employment contract and a steep rise in service charges after the first year are two examples – mis-selling and misrepresentation.

            It’s not just the way payments are created that is the problem but the exploitation of vulnerable/sick/disabled older people who are often desperate. Despicable behaviour.

          • Since this antiquated Leasehold is only in this country not heard of by most of the property purchasers let along by foreigners. It is easy to blame the ordinary honest people for being ignorant. It seems that someone here knows the Leasehold Law inside out.

            Firstly these companies such as OM Property Management, Estates & Management, Peverel owned companies their practises are well documented by CARLEX, Leasehold Knowledge,
            About Peverel Home, Channel 4, BBC, some newspapers etc.
            One only finds out from experience about poor sub-standard maintenance ie windows painted often when raining no preparation a new paint slapped on top of the old one etc.
            No amount of complaining helps the Leaseholders got no choice but to pay up for the so called Services.

            Until the Leasehold is abolished at the point of purchase there should be a long list published with the Lease document what to expect ie the property is not own by a purchaser, anybody from anywhere in the world can open up business no qualifications what so ever and start ripping off Leaseholders, the Lease might state 120 years but after just over 30 years one have to get an extension to it at the cost of £10K+ or if the Lease has 80 years left there will be extra cost “Marriage Value” etc.
            The list would go on and on and these fraudulent practices won’t be listed for sure.

            That’s why there are so many complaints from all Leaseholders.

  5. Well done Carlex and Sebastian,

    My neighbour in a residential development close by, has been notified that the hard wired smoke alarms are in need of being replaced and updated as they are approaching 10 years old. The name at the bottom of the notice was Barry Everett should they be concerned? also Cirrus is one of the contractors?

  6. Michael Epstein says:

    Chas,
    Just a thought.
    Perhaps every resident could sign a petition that for their development all work that has to be carried out must not be done by a company connected to Peverel?
    Take away the financial incentives from Peverel it will be remarkable how many works that are needed are suddenly not so needed!

  7. AM
    I agree that they have over the years attempted to find scams going back to 2007/08 or are they known to have been scamming prior?

    I have only been in a Peverel Retirement Development since 2008/09.

    I have been informed by the OFT that we all most certainly, have been Price Fixed? but we were not one of the developments that Peverel Group admitted too, cheating, even though we had Cirrus and Glyn Jackson as the only 2 companies to tender?

    In that time I have been informed that Peverel Retirement Developments have been known to undertake:-

    1. Insurance scams where they fail to report the claim?
    2. Break the claims into smaller claims, so the excess is more than the loss?
    3. Receive Commissions for works undertaken by others and pass commissions to the Managing Agents?
    4. Increase the premium for Building Cover when recessions occur?
    5. Refuse to provide written confirmation that any claim was made?
    6. Use sister companies as go be-tweens yet receive commissions for doing nothing of any use?
    7. Refuse to take out insurance cover for fraudulent use of Service Charges?
    8. Add monies to Audit Trails when the item has changed e.g. replaced House Manager?
    9. Charge for other developments from other Service Charges.
    10 Not have time to check the Expenses Files for mistaken invoices and incorrect costs added?

    Is this a possibility?

    • Yes, it is very possible. Remember when I discovered Peverel had used Cardinus that used an unqualified surveyor to carry out a secret building insurance valuation? I even received a letter of apology from the Managing Director of Cardinus.

      No.11!

      “BUILDING VALUATION FRAUD
      With the help of Peverel Action, I have been able to uncover a huge building valuation scam, estimated to be £1.85m, with a 46% hike in premiums. And for this year the record shows that Peverel is still scamming our service charges. This proves what I have said all along this is a fraud being carried out on a vast scale and without our knowledge.”

    • There is always the chance of these things having happened. Owners and RTAs have rights to appoint a surveyor or a management audit in order to investigate such mattters,

  8. Chas,
    Don’t forget the use of Premium Credit, which forces vulnerable residents to take out a loan,(when they may never have had a loan in their life) and must have a major impact on leaseholder rights.
    Why is it that a company the size of Peverel cannot accept direct debits? Is it because they are not financially sound enough to be offered this facility by the banks?
    How could a company that has admitted fraud get insurance cover against fraud?
    Anyone remember the “stolen cheques” episode? I believe that involved £640,000.
    Naturally, Peverel blamed the Post Office. How ironic that the only letters that were stolen either contained a cheque or a leter of complaint!

  9. Direct debits are not available as they are only managing the clients bank accounts which are protected in trust, so without boring you with detail in order to offer it the scheme, desigend to work as a form of credit it needs be underwritten or guarenteed, Simply put its not set up for service charges. There is no reason why they cant offer without prejudice to the terms of the lease, ie if you miss a payment it all becomes due, standing orders with a small admin fee for processing 12 not 2 or 4 payments year. While I have found that transformative for agent and home owners, people are stupid- when end of year balancing charges or ground rents or insurance crent is due or a major works fee on a one off is sent, they ignore it thinking its all in my SO or DD when it isnt, or if it is, they are surprised when they are overdrawn, or get an arrears reminder. Simply put its often more hassle than its worth and thats the fault of people.

    • Trevor Bradley says:

      AM, sorry I cannot agree with your comments about DD payments. I m not able to quote word by word on what “standards/criteria” a company needs to meet to accept DD payments at moment but I know that to accept DD payments a company has to meet certain criteria/standards. It is nothing to do with what it says in a lease etc. If Peverel will not accept DD payments then they must have a problem inasmuch that they do not meet the banks criteria to do so

      • It may be of interest to know that a previously registered email address was directdebits @peverel.co.uk.
        Because direct debit payments are guaranteed by the banks, they are very strict about which companies are allowed to collect direct debits. The past and present financial state of the company is considered. This includes any defaults or administration process.Accounts must be in good order and have been filed in timely manner. The company needs toshow that they are solvent.
        If a company cannot readily show this they will not be allowed to collect direct debits.
        Any company that does collect direct debits must have a direct debit originators licence.
        If a company does not qualify to collect direct debits they can engage a company with a direct debit originators licence to collect the direct debits on their behalf.
        Thus far Peverel have refused to answer my question as to whether they currently hold a direct debit originators licence? It may be of interest to know that Premium Credit do have such a licence.
        A coincidence perhaps?
        To those paying by direct debit to Premium Credit the banks guarantee your payment to them.
        That protection is only in so far as the payment to Premium Credit. Any subsequent dispurte over payments is between the payer, Premium Credit and the bank.
        Another question that Peverel have swerved is “what happens if you have paid Premium Credit but the money is not passed to Peverel?”
        Since you will not have paid directly to the freeholder or appointed managing agent, you will not have complied with your lease. What then?

  10. AM,
    I quote from the “much missed” Keith Edgar blog of 7th March 2011.
    Following our new owners announcement on tuesday,please ensure you continue to pay your service charge to peverel Retirement as we are still operating as normal.
    I would ask you not to cancel any direct debit arrangements as you have to pay your service charge.
    AM, why do you think Keith Edgar makes such a specific reference to direct debits?

    • Because they can be arranged, but only as set out above, and it is quite a complex exercise to do so. For the payee its simple “fill in a form” but the underlying banking arrangements are not as simple as them being say a standing order that can be varied on notice.

  11. I have found a letter from Peverel Retirement with a Direct Debit form for Peverel Retirement, could this be a forgery?

    I have finally received the tender documents from Cirrus and Glyn Jackson after waiting over a year?

    They show that all the Unit Costs have been added to by increasing each unit price by 20%?

    One would think that Glyn Jackson had a copy of the Cirrus Tender as each item had been increased by exactly 20%?

    Surely they wouldn’t give a competitor the very information that was PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL?

  12. here we go 1 reply and then everything else is blocked.

    • I did not mention the TOL as you suggest, as it has everything to do with it. if a person has contracted pay annually quarterly etc, and you vary that to a monthly frequency then that estops you from then insisting that the payment is due in full, unless of course your agreement says so. In that case it is of course all to do with the lease as that is the original contractual basis on which the amount and frequency will revert to, and on which you may have ultimately to sue on. Moreover should there be a need to terminate the arrangement you still face the issues of estoppel having accepted payments monthly.

    • I’ll try again later to explain DD and why it does depend on the lease.

  13. Check out the OFT Decision on Collusive Tendering, Price Fixing, Cheating of:-

    THOUSANDS OF PENSIONERS WHO PEVEREL WERE PAID, TO PROTECT AND MANAGE.

    The OFT states that:-

    PEVEREL GROUP LTD (PGL) INFORMED THE OFT THAT, AT LEAST FROM LATE 2006, IT WAS OF THE VIEW THAT THERE WAS COLLUSIVE TENDERING IN RESPECT OF EVERY SUCH CONTRACT.

    So, Peverel Group admitted to the OFT, that they PGL, believed that Cirrus Communications their own Sister Company, had cheated more than the 65 Developments that they self reported.

    If each development had 30 flats then some 1950 pensioner were cheated and if all the other up to December 2009 were also cheated then the number could have been close to 10,000 pensioners cheated.

    I wonder why the Serious Fraud Squad refused to investigate and the Office of Fair Trading allowed the contractors to be investigated under Chapter One????