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Invitation to leave 5 star review
Some of you will have noticed that (predictably) the usual batch of five star reviews have started to appear on Trustpilot (so far, three in less than two days). All in response to several days of rubbish reviews.

Something different now though. The following message now appears by the side of each of these positive reviews : “√ Invited”.

Clicking on “√ Invited” button takes you to the following :

(The following appears on the same page of Trustpilot)

“The reviewer left a review for this company after clicking on a direct link to Trustpilot’s Review Form. Read More.)

On my MS Windows system, clicking on the “Read More” button doesn’t do anything. But on my iPad using IOS (so it must be browser dependent) clicking that link produces the following :

(The following appears on the target Business Pages of Trustpilot)

“Basic invitations are an easy way to start inviting your customers to review your company. You use your own email service to send customers a link, which will then send them to your business’s page on Trustpilot.”

“Basic Invitations are best for businesses that would like to invite customers to leave a review using their own email service. They are simple, straightforward, and require little technical knowledge to set up.

“When a reviewer leaves a review after receiving an invitation, the review will be labelled as “Invited” on Trustpilot.”

My Note : Notice that the whole invitation process is originated by FirstPort. As in “You use your own email service to send customers a link, which will then send them to your business’s page on Trustpilot.”
Posted by David on 04 August 2020
DM entering properties
Our DM here in sunny Gt Yarmouth tells us that she can now enter our properties again.
Whilst most of the time she is a necessary evil to endure, most of us are not comfortable with this, but her AM has told her that when pull cord testing, she needs to enter every property.
We don’t mind pulling them for her whilst she waits outside.
Does she just want to nose around, or is this common practice.
Posted by Robert on 04 August 2020
Robert, your DM does NOT need to enter your property to test the pull cords. Especially when there is a worldwide pandemic affecting the health and wellbeing of mainly the elderly in each country. These are extra-ordinary times. Old rules go out the window.

We had our pull cords tested several weeks ago and the DM stayed more than two metres back from our front doors, passed instructions verbally and we did the pulling.

Your first concern should be to protect your flat from any possibility of entry by the Coronavirus. Do NOT let your DM, or anyone but your own immediate family, into your flat at this time. What's the point of having a working pull cord system if you are struggling for every next breath on a ventilator in hospital? Tell your DM and her boss to get lost.

AMs and DMs are not the sharpest pencils in the box. It is my experience that if you stand up to them they back down.

Finally, it's your flat. Stand your ground NOW and argue the toss later. In court if necessary. Tell them.

Posted by David on 04 August 2020
Our DM used to check the pull cords from the office then we had a new system installed and they claimed they had to enter each property. When we queried this the AM stated that another reason for the DM to enter each property was to `check on the residents living condition'! Crap. The checks are now once again done from the control in the office.
Posted by Teddy on 04 August 2020
Furthermore, you should be able to sign a disclaimer, as we have done, to say that you do not want the DM to check your pull cord system either personally or remotely.
Posted by Teddy on 05 August 2020
Understanding Right to Manage
This is a Precis of the latest NEWS SECTION.

It is necessary to understand the Right to Manage (RTM).

A recent thread on this platform appeared regarding RTM for Holland Court which didn't please all the residents.

An unhappy resident was objecting to one of those below:

*principle of RTM
*company involved in the RTM
*processor of RTM
*seeing no need for RTM

The RTM will decide whether the development retains the existing MA or Votes to replace them.

A simple 51% majority will determine who manages either (let's say) Firstport or an-other.

This can be where the problem occurs as some residents do not like change, or some can benefit from voting against the RTM.

Firstport is famous for using residents against each other and has been known to use those who sublet who attempt to thwart the RTM and benefit from many ways from stirring up the residents so they give up the fight that is now more and more frequent. All development has to be maintained according to the terms of their lease.

A Freeholder may have a Tripartite Lease will appoint a Landlord who appoints the Managing Agent who manage the development.

The Freeholders are only entitled to the Ground Rent and the development is returned to them at the end of the lease in a condition the development can be in a position to re-lease the flats.

The Freeholders can not make a profit from Service Charges but a Landlord can, that is why the position of the Landlord is usually sourced from the same Organisation.

Unfortunately, where MA has these connections to the Freeholder there is pressure put on the MA to increase what are called Revenue Streams (RS) and these RS funds are directed back to the Freeholder.

If the MA has financial problems such as Firstport Property Services Ltd, the pressure increases on them to find ever more inventive ways of increasing RS to satisfy the financial thirst of the Freeholders.

The pressure can lead to the unlawful Price-Fixing Scandals, or simple overcharging, and or duplication of Operational Costs, where the latest is the doubling of charges known as Account Preparation Fees.

It can also lead to record fines for breaches of Health & Safety legislation.

Firstport Property Services Ltd finds themselves in the position of owing a venture capitalist the princely sum of £81 million pounds following a secretive bailout after directors had to put their own money in to allow Firstport to keep trading.

Residents who win the RTM will not themselves be undertaking the role of managing their development as they choose the MA they want not one that has been forced upon them.

Many residents want to have that freedom to choose a MA of their choice and let them manage.

Why would residents wish to stay with a MA appointed by a connected Freeholder/Landlord who has systemically cheated them over many years, whose service is rated by many as abysmal, check out Firstport and Trust Pilot where they are considered the pits.

In fact, some developments have saved from 20% and more by replacing the poorly managed Firstport with a MA who can manage.

The fact residents do not have to say why they wish to replace a MA and only need 51% from a proper ballot to proceed to RTM.

Currently, the Firstport Property Services Ltd management portfolio shows that only 19% of appointments are from developments that freely have appointed them.

Whilst an astonishing 81% are self appointments from connected companies or as a result of deals with developers, who are subsidiaries or sister companies.
Posted by chas on 02 August 2020
Message To Holland Court Residents.
I understand you may be having issues with certain leaseholders who may wish to thwart your Right to Manage action.
Firstport will leave no stone unturned nor ignore any opportunity to prevent yet another development falling to a Right to Manage, particularly in the region that Holland Court is situated.
The problem for Firstport is that they manage many retirement developments that are clustered in the area.
Try as they might, Firstport can't prevent residents living at developments that they manage walking down the road and talking to residents at other developments that have carried out a Right to Manage and wondering why the service charges have gone down by a substantial amount and service levels have increased? The residents go back to their own Firstport managed developments and ask the question " Why do we have to put up with this?"
And the answer is they don't?
Posted by Michael Epstein on 03 August 2020
With certain Leaseholders having issues at Holland Court it seems the RTM may be in danger.

In the past residents who are are subletting who do not have a vote have been used as to stir the pot and have been benefited by Peverel Retirement now Firstport Retirement.

The work required to get the 51% can be harrowing if one or other residents show they are unhappy and this can spread.

Peverel had in the past Carol Crowe and E&M had Louse Smith, now there is Samantha Gibson who is a Firstport Soldier who does her masters bidding.

We had three or four RM since I moved in and each chose not to visit until they were forced to.

I believe our latest RM is Nick O'Donnell who was moved at one time to the North East over problems I cant mention on this platform as they were told to me in private.

When the RTM is mentioned at meetings the AMs run back and shout for help as they are usually the reason the development choose to go RTM.

Firstport will then call out the big guns and visits occur to those who may be unsure or even loners who can have their minds made up for them by sweet talking members of the Firstport Team.

All residents should know who these are and it may help to provide extra support for them, to prevent those nasties who may attempt to influence against RTM.

Remember AM/RM were used to encourage the sale of the Residential Developments Managers Flats and at the same time remove the position of the Residential Managers Position.

This was highlighted at Ashbrook Court where Peter Whalley the then RM turned up when the AM was in deep sh*t, only to refuse to answer questions regarding the many scams that they had perpetrated.

Holland Court I believe is in the Cheshire Area where Firstport once had many developments which are slowly but surely been taken over by MA that can MANAGE.

So if all residents checked on similar developments locally and checkout the RTM MAs they can save lots of money and have things carried out properly.

The problems with Firstport are many and varied and this platform allows residents to let us know if your development has considered RTM and being successful?
Posted by chas on 03 August 2020
Double Standards
I have just been chatting to our DM, at a distance of course. She is a bit despondent with FirstPort (join the club I thought) it seems her AM hid the fact that he had broken his foot over lockdown from the company to avoid receiving only the statutory sick pay, it seems he found it funny.
She and I both agree that this is fraud!
She has contacted Sam Gibson with the details, so hopefully he will be on his way soon!
Posted by Deborah on 30 July 2020
Samantha Gibson the Operations Director under Nigel Howell has a reputation for helping similar minded employees and getting rid of those who do not fall into place.

Are you saying he was unavailable but was paid for the period full pay.

Smart AMs who has been outed.
Posted by chas Willis on 30 July 2020
As he was covering unmanned sites, and is responsible in out of hours emergency situations, the fact that he could not walk or drive meant that he was unable to fulfil his role.
He did manage a general zoom call to Managers sporting a scruffy beard and t shirt.
I can see why our DM is unhappy.
As are we, as we all pay his wages!
Posted by Deborah on 31 July 2020
I am another unhappy DM, and I know the AM in question, we have nicknamed him the “ Ego “
Much at the moment is not good in FirstPort, we are very much a knee jerk reactive company, who have lost sight of the main objective......keeping the customer satisfied with the service!
All the rest then follows organically!
Posted by Despondent DM on 01 August 2020
Despondent DM,

Sorry you are having a bad time as many DM want to do the right thing and keeping the residents on your side by being fair and helpful.

The Customers are in fact the Landlord/Freeholder not residents, this is to be drilled into the DMs when being trained in their first 3 weeks, which can cost the residents up to £1,000 for every new DM.

Firstport provide a Service only and is clear as residents pay a Service Charge which includes Management Fees.

This is why we get such a poor service from the AM/RM who listen to the likes of Samantha Gibson the Operations Director.

SG is in my mind a poor employee for Firstport Retirement in as much as she refused to visit our development to straighten out our lazy poor AM who had let things slide and was not really able to cope with over 30 developments that he admitted he never checked the invoices only the Trial Balance/Audit Trail.

She was invited to visit our development to help remedy the the mess we were in but refused.

She sent me an email stating she was not responsible for any Historic Problems that occurred before she took up her post.

The EGO sound typical of many AM mentioned on this and other platforms.

When DMs are not properly supported by the AM the result is worse than a knee jerk reactive company as it never gets in front due to the many complaints they can not handle.

I am afraid their main objectives are Revenue Streams the latest being:-

*Account Preparation Charges *Fire System Maintenance
*Door & Emergency System
*Charging for Training DMs

These items are Operational Costs that have been moved into Service Charges and are Duplicated, that provide other Revenue Streams to pay off Firstport Retirement Debts.
Posted by chas on 01 August 2020
Actually the purpose and priority of Firstport is to generate funds to the equity investors who put money into Firstport when it was very close to being insolvent having amassed debts that gave Firstport a negative worth of £-40m?
Posted by Michael Epstein on 01 August 2020
Come on DMs and Deborah....name and shame the AM.....maybe others who follow these postings can then take appropriate action if you are not willing or able?
Posted by FACT on 02 August 2020
Deborah, you and your DM should be Writing a letter of complaint to the Regional Manager. They are the responsible person! As stated elsewhere Samantha Gibson (Welch) is unlikely to deal with the issue.
Posted by FACT on 02 August 2020
I have been with the company 15+ years. Started as a House Manager with Peverel, and look upon the residents as friends and neighbours, and I am chastised for that, which I really find upsetting.
Our current DM’s and RM’s are a different breed, charts, graphs and performance flow charts float their boats, whereas I am old school.
I realise that the landlords are are customers, but the fact is, the most important people are being poorly treated, as this platform shows!
Will the landlords make a change......I think not, they don’t care, will E&M make a change.....they don’t give a monkeys!
I will continue to fight for my neighbours and friends, using this site to protect my anonymity, and hopefully bring about some positive change.
I won’t name and shame our AM, I am sure most residents and DM’s will know who I refer to.
Thank you for this platform, more people appreciate all your efforts than you know.
Posted by Despondent DM on 02 August 2020
Despondent DM, thank you for the postings.

I am pleased you will continue to fight for your neighbours and friends and using this site to protect your anonymity, and hopefully you will bring about some positive change.

It is your right not to name and shame your AM.

We at About Firstport also thank you and it is a good feeling knowing more people appreciate our efforts.
Posted by chas on 02 August 2020
I understand good friend to this site and stalwart campaigner Chas has a bad back.
I am sure that all of us wish him a speedy recovery.
Mind you,Chas If you will insist on climbing into skips at your age to retrieve development expense files that an area manager ordered to be dumped in what else can you expect?
Posted by Michael Epstein on 02 August 2020
Being laid up has allowed me to digest the many issues that Firstport Retirement have created over the past 30 years from when they were Peverel Retirement and prior to that.

The setting up of Retirement Developments in the middle of the 1980s by McCarthy & Stone.

McCarthy & Stone used Peverel who were Estate Agents to sell their flats.

For the first years Peverel they were considered very good and became a Managing Agent but as the 1990s came and went problems were now showing where Service Charges were rising at huge amounts.

In 1993 Peverel and McCarthy & Stone were seen as working hand in hand to increase profits.

Hence the many Revenue Streams were being introduced where Operational Costs were slowly being added to Service Charges.

It was decided that Peverel Directors would take over the company under a Management Buyout.

Problem was the split was in name only as Peverel maintained the contracts and they had undertaken and the long 125 year leases taken out by Landlords who were linked by a larger organisation known as the Peverel Group.

By then the need for more profit increased the Revenue Streams.

In 2007/08 the Tchenguiz Empire purchased the Peverel Group and the Revenue Streams continued.

The crash of 2008 forced the banks to call in the debtors and Tchenguiz was forced to sell the Peverel Group and so it was placed into Administration in 2011.

In 2005 to 2009 Peverel through its directors and senior management it was decided to begin to replace all Warden Call/Fire Systems that were over 19 years old informing the residents that the systems were now obsolete and parts were no longer available.

A sister company of Peverel produced the names and information needed to name all the development built circa 1985 making them nearly 20 years of age.

Another sister company was the beneficiary of this Scam and won nearly all the 65 contracts.

This lead to a position where there was to much work so began providing work for the 3 losing tenderers who then became Nominated Sub Contractors (NSC).

These NSC were found carrying out the contracts won by Price Fixing over the 5 year period and was used on our development but we had the police involved, after items went missing from a flat.

To continue the Scam the NSC were provided with Peverel Tabards to fool the residents but we checked and found out who they were.

Th Price Fixing was very amateurish and resulted in the setting up of Leasehold Activists who set up The Campaign Against Retirement Exploitation (CARLEX) now called Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP).

This resulted in the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation them but were surprised that Peverel had read the media reports in the Times and handed themselves in as Tender Riggers and Price Fixers at 65 Retirement Developments making £1.4 Million Pounds.

The OFT later disbanded decided they had owned up and so they received a slapped wrist, no director was fined or went to prison and they kept the £1.4 million pounds.

Peverel directors fooled the OTF by claiming no one had complained prior to them giving themselves up and asking for Whistle Blowers Status.

The media had picked up the Price Fixing and so had the relatives of Peverel Retirement Residents almost a year earlier in 2009 and informed the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) who believed it was not serious enough.

Move on 10 years and what do we find Firstport Property Services Ltd involved in more scams but now as Estate Managers where they are being investigated for Over Charging and other Frauds on Mixed Estates of Freehold Housing and Leasehold Flats who pay Estate Fees for maintaining the Estate and the Infrastructure but also pay Council Tax so they are paying twice.

Please ask any questions you may want to know and we will provide answers either on this platform or privately as you wish.
Posted by chas on 03 August 2020
Government Launches Consultation on New Code of Practice for the Property Sector
Government Launches Consultation on New Code of Practice for the Property Sector. The government launched its Consultation on a new Code of Practice (COP) which will be the central point of the work undertaken by the new industry regulator, yet to be appointed.

The COP will set the standards and benchmark with a mission to promote a higher element of faith in the property sector.

There are references to
*Transparency currently addressed by the CMA and Trading Standards *Referral Fees
*Client Money Protection Regulations *Redress
*Complaints
*Collection and management of data.

This New COP will apply to :

*Property Sales/Purchases

*Property Lettings/Property Management

*Property Auctions

*Property Guardians (a new initiative used by Landlords) commercial and residential

*Rent-to-rent

*International property agents/brokers

The New Code will be an overarching Code which will sit above Specific Codes of Practice, which will include but is not limited to:

*Residential Property Sales
*Estate Agents
*Residential Property Lets
*Letting Agents
*Residential Leasehold Management
*Leasehold Management Agents
*Retirement Housing Management
*Retirement Housing Managers
*Auctions & Auctioneers
*Build to Rent.

The overarching Code will require that agents (ALL DISCIPLINES) will adhere to the following:

All Agents MUST:

*Be fit and proper persons

*Ensure that all staff has been given proper instructions and training about complying with relevant laws and the requirements of this Code applicable to their role.

*Ensure all staff are trained to deal with consumers and colleagues in a manner that encourages and respects equality, diversity, and inclusion. There will be a reference to Equality and Human Rights.

*Ensure that staff is qualified to the levels specified by the Regulator, trained, and hold the appropriate licence (where applicable) to undertake the responsibilities delegated to them.

*Maintain documentary evidence showing the training provided to all staff and individuals' ongoing training required to meet the relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.
Posted by chas Willis on 28 July 2020
CODE OF PRACTICE (COP)

Rules of Conduct for Firms:-

INTRODUCTION

The Rules of Conduct for Firms apply to all Firms worldwide.

They cover those matters for which Firms are responsible and accountable. The Rules focus on our regulatory goals and adopt the five principles of better regulation:

a. Proportionality
b. Accountability
c. Consistency
d. Targeting
e. Transparency

For Firms requiring further guidance, we have prepared a series of help sheets on different aspects of the rules.

These can be found at:
www.rics.org/regulation.

These Rules provide a strong foundation for RICS and
its Firms, helping to protect the public and uphold the reputation of the profession.

These Rules of Conduct for Firms are made by the Standards and Regulation Board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) under Article 18 of the Supplemental Charter 1973 and Bye-Law 5 of RICS
Bye-Laws.

Version 7 of these Rules shall apply from 02 March 2020.

Scope:

These Rules set out standards of professional conduct and practice expected of Firms registered for regulation by RICS. These Rules do not
repeat obligations placed on Firms by the general law, for example in the areas of discrimination and employment.

Not every shortcoming on the part of a Firm, nor failure to comply with these Rules, will necessarily give rise to disciplinary proceedings.

However, a failure to follow any guidance associated with the Rules is a factor that will be considered should it be necessary to examine the activities of a Firm.

In such circumstances the Firm may be asked to justify the steps it took and this may be taken into account.

A Firm should be guided as
much by the spirit of the Rules as by the express terms.

rics.org/regulation Effective from 2 March 2020

Part I General

1 Interpretation

In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires:
‘Providing a surveying service to the public’ means acting to
provide a service(s) considered by RICS to be within those which are the responsibility of RICS’ Professional Groups to professional, corporate,
institutional and all other clients.
‘Contact Officer’
means the individual designated by the Firm to be the main liaison point between the Firm and RICS and the person authorised
by the Firm to submit the Firm’s Annual Return.

Firm’ means:
a. the whole or part of any body corporate or
b. a partnership or
c. a limited liability partnership or
d. an unincorporated practice of a sole practitioner concerned with the business of surveying or providing other related services, which is
regulated by RICS or
e. an equivalent in any of the world regions to any of the above in a–d.
Part 2 Communication

RICS will communicate with Members by any of the following:
a. post
b. fax
c. email
d. telephone or
e. in person.
RICS Rules of Conduct for Firms

2.Effective from 2 March 2020
Part II Conduct of Business

3. Professional behaviour
A Firm shall at all times act with integrity and avoid conflicts of interest and
avoid any actions or situations that are inconsistent with its professional obligations.

4. Competence
A Firm shall carry out its professional work with due skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for the technical standards expected of it.

5. Service
A Firm shall carry out its professional work with expedition and with proper
regard for standards of service and customer care expected of it.

6. Training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
A Firm shall have in place the necessary procedures to ensure that all its staff are properly trained and competent to do their work.

7. Complaints Handling
A Firm shall operate a complaints-handling procedure and maintain a complaints log.
The complaints-handling procedure must include an
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism that is approved by the Standards and Regulation Board.

8. Clients’ money
A Firm shall preserve the security of clients’ money entrusted to its care in
the course of its practice or business.

9. Indemnity
A firm shall ensure that all previous and current professional work is covered by adequate and appropriate indemnity cover which meets
standards approved by the Standards and Regulation Board.
rics.org/regulation Effective from 2 March 2020 3

Part III Firm Administration:

10. Advertising
A Firm shall promote its professional services only in a truthful and responsible manner.

11. Solvency
A. Firm shall ensure that its finances managed appropriately.

12. Arrangements to cover the incapacity or death of a sole
practitioner

A Firm which has a sole principal (i.e. a sole practitioner or a sole director
in a corporate practice) shall have in place appropriate arrangements in the event of that sole principal’s death or incapacity or other extended
absences.

13. Use of designations

A Firm registered for regulation must display on its business literature, in accordance with the Standards and Regulation Board’s published policy
on designations, a designation to denote that it is regulated by RICS.

14. Information to RICS:

A Firm shall submit in a timely manner such information about its activities, and in such form, as the Standards and Regulation Board may reasonably
require.

15. Cooperation
A Firm shall cooperate fully with RICS staff and any person appointed by the Standards and Regulation Board.
Posted by chas Willis on 28 July 2020
Hi Chas,

Thankfully the RICS will not be involved in the proposed regulation of managing agents as we all know too well that it does not take action if it’s owns members breaches it VOLUNTARY ‘ code of conduct’.
An independent regulator is to be appointed. Is it possible for you to send the link of the draft ‘ COD’ propsal that I sent you yesterday. It allows the public to make comments on the proposed MANDATORY code to be introduced and hopefully soon.
Posted by Kim on 29 July 2020
Kim I hope you are correct
as to date we do not know the Body Organisation who will oversea this Code of Conduct.

As an Organisation involved in Leasehold Exploitation have shown themselves to be as useful as a Chocolate Fire Guard.

The way they let off their own Chartered Surveyor is a total injustice.
An Independent Regulator is to be appointed, but see what all these other QUANGOS have been responsible for is a sham and the government know this as they are also Buffers that slow down any progress.

Can you send me the link of the draft COP proposal as I can no longer retrieve it.
Posted by chas Willis on 30 July 2020
Will do Chas. I will also send you the letter I received from Ms Carroll ( RICS) confirming that the proposed approved regulation will be handed to a INDEPENDENT regulator with NOTHING to do with RICS who I agree are utterly in regulating its own members.

I have provided RICS with I believe clear evidence of wrong doing and PROOF that the reported member misled RICS. lIt was a case of “ Move along madam nothing to see here”..
I will not let the matter rest and have written to ms Carroll insisting that the investigation is re-opened. RICS mantra is “ IT IS OUR DUTY TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC “ .... It is throwing the pu lic under a bus and protecting its members . Well , it needs the lucrative revenue scheme derived from the annual fees.
Posted by Kim on 02 August 2020
Is there light? - Part 2
Posted on 27 July 2020
Sam Gibson
Posted on 26 July 2020
Freeholders Garbage
Posted on 25 July 2020
Going Paperless
Posted on 24 July 2020
Trustpilot
Posted on 23 July 2020
Is there light?
Posted on 21 July 2020
St Clements, Urmston
Posted on 20 July 2020
Retiring Development Manager
Posted on 17 July 2020
RTM SRS
Posted on 17 July 2020
RTM (SRS)
Posted on 16 July 2020
First Port Updates
Posted on 15 July 2020
notice sent to all parties
Posted on 14 July 2020
Info please?
Posted on 10 July 2020
Fund
Posted on 09 July 2020
YPO
Posted on 08 July 2020
lounges
Posted on 07 July 2020
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