Residents at The Homestead, a complex of 31 flats in Lytham St Anne’s, is the latest retirement site where FirstPort is angling for the sale of the house manager’s flat.
The site was built in 1986, but almost certainly a lease was issued on the house manager’s flat in 2009, when Tchenguiz was stripping value out of his retirement freeholds.
Somehow or other – and FirstPort is not explaining – the flats have ended up in its possession and it readily sells them off whenever there is the chance.
Residents are usually asked to vote in favour of a visiting house manager, even though their leases refer to one and to the obligation to maintain the house manager’s flat like any other common part of the building.
After they have done so, the flat is sold off and residents get £10,000 into the contingency fund (which FirstPort controls and spends on items it thinks a site needs, such as some more gear from its subsidiary Cirrus, for example).
Residents at The Homestead should be very cautious about all this.
First, there is no good reason we have been shown why FirstPort owns this portfolio of hundreds of house managers’ flats, with leases created long after all the others.
Secondly, have the residents been paying for the upkeep of the flat since 2009, when Peverel / FirstPort took ownership? If it is no longer a common part, FirstPort can pay for this itself.
Thirdly, £10,000 is a very minimal amount to receive for surrendering a property that may be worth £80,000.
Why not do it the other way round: £70,000 to the residents’ to spend as they like and £10,000 to Peverel / FirstPort?
And why only £10,000? Anchor paid out £15,000, as does FirstPort in fancier sites.
Best of all, get shot of FirstPort and appoint a management that serves the interests of the residents rather than simply serving itself.