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News analysis


Peverel residents face uncertain future


Despite assurances from Peverel to residents that block management will remain unaffected by the collapse of its holding companies, some leaseholders are looking for alternatives. Flat Living reports


service charge arrangements, maintenance contracts and points of contact. However, direct communication with residents has allegedly been poor. One block told Flat Living that all they have received is a letter posted on their communal notice board – not enough to put residents minds at rest. Leaseholders would have appreciated a visit from someone senior to explain the situation and answer questions.


FINANCE FEARS


On 14 March, Peverel Limited and three other holding companies behind OM Property Management, Peverel Property Management, Pembertons and Consort Property Management went into administration. Peverel, which manages nearly 200,000 British homes, is the UK’s largest and possibly most controversial property manager, attracting press reports both of alleged unfair service charge rises and excessive exit fees as well as coverage of the financial activities of property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz, who bought the company in 2007. According to administrators


10 www.flat-living.co.uk


Zolfo Cooper, despite the collapse of the Peverel holding companies; “the group’s operating companies, which are all the businesses within Peverel Property Management, Peverel Retirement Division and Peverel Building Technologies, are unaffected by the administration”. Zolfo Cooper has been quick to reassure residents, customers and landlords that the service they receive will continue to be provided as normal. The Peverel website is now featuring a list of frequently asked questions together with answers relating to


Such inaction has not helped quell fears among Peverel-managed residents they may be in danger of losing service charge funds or money set aside in sinking funds for future repairs and according to recent press reports and leaseholder campaigning groups, right to manage enquiries are on the increase. According to Steve Wylie at block administrators Urban Owners, he has been contacted by a number of unhappy residents concerned over what has happened and asking for advice. “Leaseholders are understandably concerned from a financial perspective. They don’t always appreciate that service charge monies and sinking funds are held in a client account that is completely separate from the management company’s own funds,” he explains.


Bob Suvan, Managing Director


of property managers Blocnet and a leaseholder in a Peverel- managed block confirms that people have been unnerved by the situation at Peverel. “Residents are concerned. They are not sure they can now rely on their managing agents to follow through on their commitments”, he says.


IS RTM AN OPTION?


The Peverel administrators are now looking for a buyer for what is considered to be a profitable business, once the cost of servicing various loans is taken out of the equation (source: The Guardian). However, according to Bob Suvan, this prospect doesn’t make the situation any better for leaseholders. Speaking as a resident, he says: “We feel it can only get worse and our block is getting close to going down the RTM route as a permanent solution to the recent non-performance of Peverel”. Bob confirms that like Urban Owners, Blocnet is also receiving increased numbers of enquiries from leaeholders needing advice and considering whether or not RTM could provide a solution to their block management concerns.


So is this the right time for


Peverel leaseholders to be considering RTM or should they wait for the dust to settle?


UNHAPPY RESIDENTS


Steve Wylie believes there is never a bad time to consider RTM and that it should always be considered as an option by residents who are unhappy – for whatever reason - with the way their property is being managed. “RTM puts you, the leaseholder, in charge of what is going to happen to your block. How you progress once you have been through the process is up to you – you don’t have to take on a lot of responsibility if you don’t want to. Residents are free to either self-manage or appoint their own property manager if they so wish, but at least they know they are in control”.


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