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So after all this time sadly Peverel Action has joined TTAS, much to the relief of Peverel. Unfortunate for Peverel then that About Peverel has been launched and as you will see is collecting information and comments to carry on ....

It took a bit of time to get up to speed, but as time has passed it is once more able to offer support for those afflicted by Peverel's management.

About Peverel wishes to thank those whose hard work has made this relaunch possible. [Thanks !]

For those that sent messages to Peverel Action before it caught a cold we have been unable to save those comments. The Add Comments side of things is working well, so for all the supporters "Don't give up! - Keep Posting"

20 September 2020Equistone, The Truth Not The Firstport Spin?

Finally the secret deal that saved Firstport has been revealed.

According to Firstport,such was the success of their turnaround that new investors in the name of Equistone decided to put their money into the company.

Of course success can be judged in many ways,but can it  really be called a success if at the time of the buyout the company has a net negative valuation of £-40,105,000?

The takeover by Equistone valued Firstport at £65,345,000 made up with a combination of cash,(£49,106,000) Provision for liabilities (£12,161,000),The issue of corporate bonds (£1,496,000) and costs(£2,582,000) 

The much trumpeted refinancing consist of bank loans (£64,200,000) and shareholder loans (£51,036,000). 

Financing costs of £2,943,000 have been deferred.

The shareholder loans are divided up with Equistone lending £49,461,000, whilst Firstport directors including Nigel Howell puting up £1,575,000.                          

The Firstport directors funds represents the emegency money that has to be put into Firstport to keep it trading whilst a sale or rescue was being negotiated.   

This funding from shareholders comes at a price and it is a very heavy price.

At a time when the bank rate of interest is set at 0.1% the terms of the shareholder loans to keep Firstport afloat are an astonishing 10% of the principle over a period of 10 years. 

The funds that will service those loans can only come from one source and that is the unfortunate leaseholder. 

17 September 2020Firstport & Mainstay United

So Firstport have now completed the takeover of Mainstay.

In part this is the Firstport strategy of maintaining market share,and also reflects the growing unease among the large managing agents that forthcoming legislation will make it far easier for leaseholders to excercise their rights and be able to sack them. 

The tactic of buying in management contracts can onlty be for a very short term gain.

It is a mariage of two failing companies. You can expect increasing administrative chaos as the two companies merge and a waive of management redundancies.

Firstport is shortly expected to announce that they are still making substantial losses in the very near future.

29 August 2020The Cost of Saving Firstport?

So now we can reveal details of the confidential agreement that "saved" Firstport from administration?

Equistone Private Equity put £81.7m into the ailing company. They did this by taking a majority share holding in the company. 

However strings are attached, and they are very expensive strings?

A loan agreement has been entered into between Equistone and Firstport expiring in 2025.

The terms of the loan are £12.1m at an intertest rate of 2.75% above Libor, £62.1m at an interst rate of 6.5% above Libor and a further £7.5m revolving credit at an interest rate of  2.75% above Libor.

In the year ending December 2019,Firstport paid £5,597,000 in interest charges including loan arrangement fees.

That is £5,957,000 that Firstport have to find before making a penny for themselves and £5,957,000 that can only come from residents pockets.

15 August 2020McCarthy & Stone Be Warned!

MCcarthy & Stone have some special offers on at the moment to tempt potential purchasers to sign on the dotted line as they continue to struggle to sell flats.

One such offer is the McCarthy & Stone pledge to pay 100% of service charges for 8 years, that at one development in Hetfordshire is set at £197 per week,which is over the state pension rate.

This works out at an astonishing saving of £81,952 over an 8 year period.

The question is how would other residents ever know if McCarthy & Stone were paying the £197 per week into the service charge account or were simply not collecting the amount?

This offer must also raise concerns that McCarthy & Stone will delay expensive maintenance work until the 8 year period is over?

07 August 2020Good Cheer Comes To Sidcup

 For those not famiiar with it Sidcup, Kent, is an easy place to miss?

You think you will get there by following the A20 from London, only to discover the A20 bends to the right and you have gone past Sidcup.

So whilst it is possible to miss Sidcup, what will never be missed is Firstport's management of Tudor Court, Sidcup.

After a year of struggle Tudor Court have obtained a Right To Manage and have appointed local firm Hammond Property Management who officially take over in October.

About Firstport would like to offer all the residents our congratulations and wish them and their new managing agent well for the future. 

Thank you for sharing the good news with us.

03 August 2020Account Preparation Fees, The Growing Scandal!

The scandal over Account Preparation Fees is growing.

Based on information passed to About Firstport via a senior property manager, it has been suggested that the account preparation fees are reasonable and work out at about £18 per leaseholder.

it is not a question of whether those fees are reasonable, it is that those charges are unlawful?

Even Firstport's appointed legal team told a tribunal that the management fee" Covered preparing and issuing service charge estimates, accounts, providing account information to external auditors."

On hearing this the tribunal immediately struck out the account preparation fee.

If this double charged fee is £18 per leaseholder, we can extrapulate that this deception could easily be netting Firstport an extra £1.8m per year.

That being the case this fraud dwarks even the price fixing scandal.

02 August 2020Understand Right to Manage

Recently a thread has appeared on this site regarding Right to Manage, with an apparently unhappy leaseholder objecting to either the principle of Right to Manage, or the company involved in the RTM process or seeing no need to undertake a Right to Manage at all? 

People should understand what a Right to Manage really is?

Any development has to be maintained according to the terms of the lease.

A managing agent will be appointed by the freeholder/landlord to carry this out.

Unfortunately where a managing agent has connections to the freeholder, pressure is put on the managing agent to increase revenue streams and direct those funds back to the freeholder.

If the freeholder has financial problems so the pressure increases for the managing agent to find ever more inventive ways of increasing revenue to sate the financial thirst of the freeholder.

This pressure leads to the unlawful price fixing scandal, overcharging, and now the latest double charging of account preparation fees.

It also leads to a record fine for breaches of Health & Safety legislation that resulted from the death of an elderly resident in the fire at Gibson Court.

This is the story of Firstport who find themselves in the position of owing a venture capitalist the princely sum of £81m folowing a secretive bailout and only after directors had to put their own money in to allow Firstport to keep trading. 

No one truly wants to manage their development,and that is not the object of a Right to Manage?

It is simply about choice?

Do residents want to have the freedom to choose a managing agent of their choice and let them manage, or are they hasppy to stay with a company appointed by a connected freeholder who has systemically cheated them for many years, whose service is rated by many as abysmal and who have to find an extra £81m from rsidents to pay back their loans?

Some residents have in the past carried out a Right to Manage and have reapointed Firstport and suddenly their charges have decreased. So horses for courses.

But the fact that the residents have the ability to sack Firstport is a powerful incentive for Firtstport to behave.

It should be noted that currently the Firstport management portfolio shows that only 19% of their appointments are from residents freely appointing them to manage, whilst an astonishing 81% are self appointments from connected companies or as a result of deals with developers that are too good to be true. 

24 July 2020So How Did It All Go Firstport?

Cast you mind back to 13th February 2019.

Firstport were keen to enter the management of the "Buy to Rent" market.

And they had some very good news that they were keen to publicise. 

No doubt encouraged by the Firstport sals pitch for Buy to Let management which included "Crafting specialist property and asset management strategies to deliver operating returns" Viventi Capital awarded the management contract to Firstport.

Viventi were going to invest £100m and build 250-400 units with Firstport handling the management.

The way Firstport initially wrote the story may at first glance lead some to believe Viventi were investing £100m in Firstport, which was never the case.

So how goes the project?

Scroll through to July 25th 2020. 

"There is no evidence that Viventi has sourced, acquired or developed any sites as yet"

As Queen put it so well?

Another one bites the dust!

21 July 2020Law Commission Report

So finally the Law Commission report on leasehold has been published.

In the main it is very encouraging for leaseholders. 

If enacted Right to Manage actions will be much easier and far cheaper.

Managing agents will no longer be able to game the system by adding costs, challenging RTM's due to a comma being in the wrong place and using delaying tactics to thwart a Right to Manage.

No longer will freeholder legal costs be added.

Right to Manage will be extended for those who live on mixed developments

Whereas if 25% of the development was commercial that could stop a Right to Manage that will be increased to 50%.

The time frame for Right to Manage will be shortened, so the managing agent would only have two months to respond to a Right to Manage action. 

Lesasehold extensions/enfranchisement is also going to be made much easier and cheaper.

The informal route of extension that has trapped so many, apears to be on the way out.

This will be replaced by a statutory lease extension not of 90 years but any extension will bring the lease up to 990 years.

This not only wipes out the ground rent but also means only one lease extension need ever be carried out in the future.

For those suffering from onerous ground rent terms, it will be possible to buy out the ground rent element without extending the lease.

Nothing about leasehod is going to be fixed tomorrow?

Leaseholders should expect a delay of three-five years before any legislation is enacted.

But the Law Commission report is an important signpost for the road ahead.

If it is the case then the offshore money men may get a little nervous about future investments in the property market?

And that can only be good for leaseholders who have been so exploited by them. 

16 July 2020McCarthy & Stone Results. It's a Shocker!

As reported the McCarthy & Stone accounts were expected to be bad, but in reality they have been catastrophic.

Yes of course the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact but McCarthy & Stone had encountered many other structural problems well before th pandemic struck.

So comparing like with like for the 6 month trading position half year turnover declined by 64%, falling from £280m to £101m.

A £3.6m profit has turned into a £91.3m loss.

Nigel Turner the McCarthy & Stone joint Chief Operating Officer, has left the company with immediate effect.

Worryingly for McCarthy & Stone investors no future guidance notes have been issued due to the uncertainty of future trading conditions beyond a statement that the full impact of the virus on the Mccarthy & Stone balance sheet will not be felt until later in the year. 

McCarthy & Stone have taken advantage of a coronavirus loan of £300m which will have to be paid back next year.

The company has gone bankrupt before, it can go bankrupt again.

12 July 2020 Bad News For McCarthy& Stone

McCarthy & Stone are due finally to publish their interim results later this week.

According to city sources, they are expected to reveal a substantial trading loss.

Sensing trouble ahead McCarthy & Stone altered their business strategy by booking more pre built sales, moving to more build to rent developments and increasing revenues from their property management division.

We all know how increasing revenue from property management to suppport company debts ended up withg Firstport. Clearly McCarthy & Stone are embarking down the same road? 

About Firstport understands that a financing deal worth £300,000,000 to fund the buy to rent developments has fallen through.

This comes at a time when the first McCarthy & Stone development in England has just gone Right to Manage,with others expected to follow.

 

09 July 2020Who pays for the For Sale Board?

Residents living in Firstport managed retirement developments, will have noticed the appearence of ugly For Sale or Rent boards that despoil the development courtesy of Retirement Homesearch, a company owned by Firstport.

Who gave them permission to errect such a notice?

New information has reached About Firstport that suggests that it is the residents that end up paying £300 for the board plus £30 to errect it.

This charge is very heavily disguised in the service charge accounts, so it is all too easily missed.

06 July 2020The Truth Emerges!

So we now know that the property management division was separated from the Appello division.

We now know that the former "owners" of Firstport sold off the property management arm to Equistone, whilst they retained the Appello division.  

Equistone put in £81.7m on terms that will unfortunately be kept secret until further accounts are published.

As such they are the majority shareholder with Mr Nigel Howell and Mr Oudah Saleh

remaining as minority shareholders.

The borrowings are as follows:

£12.1m term loan facility due October 2025

£52.1m term loan facility due April 2026

£10m Acquisition facility

£7.5 m Revolving credit

The loss making part of Appello was sold to Openview for £2.6m ironically at the same time they were bidding against the very part of Appello for the contracts that Appello were losing money on, Firstport were negotiating the sale to Openview.

One act of desperation in their bid to survive was to sell and leaseback residential house manager's flats.

We now know that is costing Firstport £2m per year in leaseback fees

 For anyone wondering who Equistone are, they used to be known as Barclays Capital.

 

30 June 2020Relief For Stockport Residents.

About Firstport are pleased to report Firstport have lost yet another management contract for a development in Stockport. So it looks like Mainstay will have less to merge with?

This time it is Brindley Court that has awarded a contract to Select Retirement Services after Firstport/E&M deployed all their available resources to fight to keep the contract.

In a futher move, that will cause alarm in the McCarthy & Stone boardroom, two McCarthy & Stone built and managed developments have lost the management contracts. In one case Vernon Court to Select Retirement Services and in the case of Woodgrange Court to Jones Associates. 

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