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Solitaire Property Management

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E-Mail Received from Lee Middleburgh

 
With the recent publicity on TheTruthAboutSolitaire about Solitaire Property Management closing many of it’s regional offices, we surprisingly received the following e-mail this morning from Lee Middleburgh of Solitaire Property Management / Peverel Group:

Dear Sir

My colleague Andrew Billson, Managing Director (Operations) of Solitaire, commenced a customer communication programme a few weeks ago with a letter (to accompany the issue of March year end accounts) advising of important changes and improvements that are being implemented across Solitaire.

One of the first is the introduction of a dedicated customer services team to resolve your maintenance, insurance and service charge account queries. They can be contacted on 084... (lo-call cost rate) Monday-Friday or by email: customerservices@solitairepm.co.uk All customers will be receiving a postcard with this information in the coming weeks. 

As a consequence of these changes we have as planned closed our sub-offices in Leicester and Southampton. This ensures that our Property Managers become more field based and can spend a greater proportion of their working week in the developments that they are responsible for.

Our plan is to make it easier for customers to contact and communicate with Solitaire as part of our commitment to improve customer service and to resolve any problems with increased effectiveness. 

Regards

Lee Middleburgh

Call me a doubter, but is this sounds like even more corporate spin from Solitaire to appease residents.

In addition to this I can only assume, that now regional offices are closed, surely our ‘Admin’ fee will reduce, as we have obviously been paying to keep these offices open!   Therefore, if the regional managers will now be working from ‘home’, Solitaire’s costs will now also be reduced and this will result in Solitaire being the kind people that they are (sarcasim) will reduce the £3000+ fee that they take off of us, following these actions.

I look forward to everyone’s views on the above, as I do not believe what he has said and will not believe anything Solitaire say until it is supported.  As they say - ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS and all we hear from Solitaire are words and nothing else!

On to another subject, has anyone read the reviews of Solitaire Property Management on the All Agents Website?  It’s pretty nasty reading if I were in Solitaire’s shoes. 

If you then add those comments to the comments received on the Official Solitaire Property Management Petition - you get a much clearer picture that people are fed up and that we are not alone in this fight. 

The suggestion of a ‘Dedicated Customer Service Line’ and a ‘Postcard’ advising of the changes is not enough to change our minds.

You can be assured that during this ‘fight’ (for want of a better word) TheTruthAboutSolitaire will continue to be the central point of call for all things Solitaire…. we aren’t going anywhere!

Comments (8)

Another Solitaire Office Closes

Is Solitaire Property Management undergoing a cost cutting excercise at present? We’ve had many messages from residents, advising that they haven’t heard from their Site Managers and that offices are closing pretty much every week.

The latest office to close is apparently the Southampton one, which leads us onto the fact that, this becomes possibly the 4th or 5th office to close in the last 8 months.

Something is obviously not quite right, either that Peverel are cost cutting!  If you know of other offices closing please feel free to let us know.

On a brighter note, I’ve been asked by GetThings4Free who kindly sponsor TheTruthAboutSolitaire  to mention that they are running a competition whereby you can win a Nintendo Wii, by answering a simple question:

What is the name of the new Nintendo handheld console released in April 2009?

If you know the answer and would like to be in with a chance of winning, enter the competition by clicking Win a Nintendo Wii Competition

It’s free to enter and the competition runs until the 30 April 2009.

Please continue to send me your stories on Solitaire, I have received many and intend to put them all together and forward to Watchdog on Monday.

Comments (1)

BBC Watchdog Broadcast

Those of you that wish to view the BBC Watchdog Broadcast on Property Management Companies can view it on the Watchdog ‘Blog’ pages at the following link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/watchdog/2009/03/property_mismanagement.html

Please continue to send your experiences through to me and I will endeavour to submit something to Watchdog on Monday.  It’ll give me plenty of chance to put things together over the weekend.

Thank you to those who have sent me your stories.  Remember - YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Comments (1)

Request for Information

As always - thank you for all of the contributions that everyone is making on TheTruthAboutSolitaire.

I have yet another request for information, except this time it’s not a visual request for photo’s and video’s, it is one for information.

Those that kindly provided information for the Report that we produced in January detailed items such as cost increases, problems you are experiencing and how long you have had to suffer.

We are collating more information following the recent broadcast by the BBC Watchdog program to send them a collection of experiences, rather than individual one’s.  We hope that by sending numerous stories to them from a single contact such as TheTruthAboutSolitaire - they may take our findings seriously, and even possibly use them on the program, after all Nicky Campbell did ask to be contacted if anyone has had problems with Property Management companies.

Therefore, could you e-mail me: admin [at] thetruthaboutsolitaire [dot] co [dot] uk (please replace the [at] for @ and [dot] for .)

  1. What you are paying for your management fee.
  2. How much has it gone up in price.
  3. Have you found any discrepancies on the Audited Accounts?
  4. How long have you been a Solitaire customer
  5. Your personal experiences.

Should Watchdog take an interest in the information we provide, if you wish for you contact details to be provided to them in the event they wish to discuss the matters with you, please include these.

Thank you

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Now’s the time to Act!!

Thanks to Cliff for posting the iPlayer information about the Watchdog program from last Thursday that touched on Management Companies.

For those of you that want to view the program visit:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jf7l9

Move the scroll bar to 9mins 54secs for the start of the Property Management Company section.

Nicky Campbell ends the piece with the comment of “If you are having problems with your Management Company, get in touch” - so please, please if you haven’t already done so - now’s the time to act and finally name and shame Solitaire Property Management or SolitairePM as they are changing too!

It’s interesting to hear that Solitaire obviously aren’t the only one’s making up excuses and palming off residents, the Management company in the broadcast used a very similar excuse to what we are used to from Solitaire!

Comments (5)

Another Solitaire Office Closes

We’ve received confirmation from a resident that is managed by Solitaire’s Leicester office, that it will be closing at the end of this week.

A copy of the correspondence is below:

I’ve been in constant touch with our local office recently (Leicester office) about mischarges to our accounts - what a nightmare, they’ve charged us for court costs and interest when they’ve failed to pay the invoices, unbelieveable! Anyway, I had an e-mail from the Regional Manager on Friday who made a passing comment that the Leicester office is to be closed at the end of this week and all customer service
enquiries will be dealt with by the Barnet Office! This is the first that I’ve heard about this, they’ve not had the courtesy to write and inform residents.

I’m really not happy about this, it’s bad enough to get a response from a relatively local office, you can imagine what it will be like when that person is based hundreds of miles away! I wondered if you’d heard about other offices closing? I wonder if we’ll see a discount in our maintenance fee for the fact that the already diabolic service is bound to suffer under this change??!!!!

I’d be interested to know if this is happening elsewhere in the country.

This is now the Bristol, Nottingham, Leicester offices closed in the last 10 months, are there any other offices that have closes that we are not aware of?

What are the reason for these closures?  Is the credit crunch biting?  Is this part of Peverel’s restructuring?

Other residents have contacted me to advise that correspondence from Solitaire has gone very quiet of late (unless they are chasing you for bills).

I welcome your thoughts.

Comments (9)

Solitaire and the Licence to Sublet

It’s been brought to my attention by another Solitaire Property Management customer who has recently received a letter asking if their property was rented out, and if so they have to pay a fee for a ‘Licence to Sublet’, plus pay a registration fee for the tenants.

They owners have had the property for 6 years and this is the first time they have been requested to pay to rent their property.

Therefore, I would like to hear from anyone who rent’s out a property that is managed by Solitaire Property Management to find out if you too have suddenly received this payment request.

Maybe Solitaire / Peverel are finding the economic slow down in the building industry is affecting figures and have thought up this new way of make up for the shortfall!

I look forward to your responses.  As always, if you wish to e-mail me your grievances privately e-mail admin at thetruthaboutsolitaire .co .uk.

Comments (6)

Solitaire’s Relationship with Estates & Management

Many people have mentioned the possibility of a Right to Manage Action, whereby you need 50% of the residents to agree to removing Solitaire and appointing management agents of your choice.

I would like to know more information from those of you who are in the process of this or are toying with the idea how you went about it.

I’m interested to know whether any of you have Estates & Management as your landowners?

Obviously there is a relationship between Estates & Management and Solitaire, as their invoices clearly state “Estates & Management (Solitaire)”

I welcome any comments or opinions of the above.

On another subject, did anyone see the BBC One Show program the other night in regards to large companies failing to listen to customers?

Where the lady reported the MD of a certain insurance company missing to the Police, as they were unable to contact him?

As they said, the best way of naming and shaming these companies is to get publicity, add video’s to YouTube, make comments public via websites such as thetruthaboutsolitaire, get the press involved - but more importantly get your MP to write a letter of complaint to said company, as this will be escalated by them due to it coming from Government officials.

Therefore, lets do more publicity on Solitaire, upload your video’s to YouTube (record them on your mobile if you don’t have a video camera), contact your local MP’s (I’m off to see mine this week!) and arrange a surgery appointment.

Comments (4)

A reply from ARMA!

We copied ARMA into our recent report so that they were aware of issues with Solitaire Property Management / Peverel Group.

Today - almost two months later I have received a reply from them, although - it’s not exactly an informative response.

Your email dated 19 January 2009 to info@arma.org.uk and the 
“TruthaboutSolitaire” website was considered by our Practice 
Committee at their last meeting. You will, we are sure, appreciate 
that it is not only wholly inappropriate but impossible to respond to 
any anonymous, unsubstantiated and unidentifiable complaint. If you 
would care to provide us with details of the complaint you had 
submitted, we would be in a position to follow the procedures we 
apply to our members (and by which they have to abide) - we may then 
be able to provide a more substantive response. Any suggestion we 
“fail to act” is wholly without substance.

We are unaware of the date of your complaint but, for the avoidance 
of doubt, attach a copy of our complaints procedure - this particular 
version came into force in May 2008 and includes provision for 
Independent Adjudication. ARMA does not have statutory powers as you, 
and indeed we, would wish. ARMA has been for some 10 years, and 
continues to be,  in the forefront of attempting to persuade 
Government to regulate the sector -  there appears, however, to be 
very little motivation within the corridors of power to make this 
happen.

We pride ourselves on being independent of influence from any member 
or group of members, be they large or small,  and there is no 
question of ARMA being “influenced” by any one member’s corporate 
representative.  Complaints about Solitaire are dealt with in an even 
handed way and hopefully resolved to the satisfaction of those 
concerned.”

Geraldine Shortall, FIRPM
Technical Support

The most comical part of the reply is the “Complaints about Solitaire are dealt with in an even handed way”.  I for one as a resident have copied ARMA into correspondence dating back nearly 4 years and this is the first time a reply has been received!

Oh to have been a fly on the wall at the recent meeting

It just goes to show that us residents are on our own as our original developers don’t help, Solitaire don’t respond, ARMA don’t want to know about our complaints…  No wonder Lee Middleburgh and all his cronies at Peverel and Solitaire are laughing at us, because they know they can get away with it, without any legal threats!

Comments (7)

Yet Again The Same Story

Yet another story that has been received from ANOTHER Solitaire Customer…

As customers of Solitaire for 5.5 yrs, we are at our wit’s end. Only last Oct. (08) did we find out we were assigned a property manager. Last week, we have a new property manager….at no point was any of this communicated by a letter. We pay in excees of £1100 a year, not including ground rent, in a small market town in Cheshire. For comparison, this is double what we would pay where we live in Edinburgh city centre.

Since receipt of Sept. invoice last year, there has been an on-going email, letter and telephone communication requesting copies of all invoices relating to the services carried out at our property - as per Clause 10. on the Rights and Obligations list sent with invoices. Our former property manager seemed motivated to sort this out for us. However last comms were in Nov. 08 and to date I’ve had nothing. Still paid nothing, although was sent to a debt recovery agency despite open issue on account. Property manager blocked it but didn’t email me to say so, which could have prevented a great deal of stress for me.

Letting agency told me communal lights had not been working for 9 months. Solitaire would not pay them to get their contractor out to do a temp fix. Found out today it has been dealt with now, although the lights stayed on all the time…..so had to done again…….hardly cost effective..outside window cleaning is Solitaire’s responsibility too, ours were filthy and my retired mother had to clean ours (As we don’t live in the area) the day before our current tenant moved in…..

So, I am querying what I’m paying £100 a month for. If they have shoddy contractors, then this needs sorting.

Finally, we bought the flat from Jennings who were bought over. I would like to know when the contract with Solitaire was up for renewal as I suspect in nearly 6 yrs, it has been. However we have never been contacted to ask if we’re happy with their service.

So like the rest of you, we’re sick of being bent over a barrell by this company where incompetence and extortion prevails. Contacted MP who is willing to act on my behalf….and so it goes on

So Mr Middleburgh…. when are things going to start improving…..

Comments (1)

What a great thing the Internet Is….

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

TheTruthAboutSolitaire have been having a little browse on the Internet to try and find out more about Solitaire Property Management and all the property management agents that are out there.

It’s interesting, on Thursday a new Property Management company called “Mainstay” where mentioned to Sheps by the Sales Director of David Wilson Homes South West.  So I’ve carried out a bit of ‘Googling‘ as it were and found that this company are based in Worcester.

As we’ve been made aware by ARMA - a chap called Lee MIddleburgh is the  a senior member of Solitaire and the MD of Peverel and thanks to his LinkedIn webpage I’ve now found out that he is based in….. wait for it…. Worcester!

Now, I’m not one to judge or to make assumptions - BUT - could Mainstay be yet another Management Company that Lee’s involved with?  Maybe it’s just co-incidence and I’m jumping the gun, but two Management companies from Worcester?

Those of you who are interested to see if this is true his linked in page is: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/2/45a/528

The Solitaire Group of Companies

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

The Solitaire Group of Companies just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

We’ve been carrying out extensive research and found that Solitaire are linked to the following, surprisingly the registered office addresses are what link them.

  • Holding & Management (Solitaire) Limited
    (Company No: 01649347)
  • Holding & Management (Solitaire) No.2 Limited
    (Company No: 04770309)
  • Holding & Management (Solitaire) No.10 Limited
    (Company No: 05589400)
  • Estates & Management Limited
    (Company No: 03244100)
  • Solitaire Real Estate Holdings Limited
    (Company No: 05806191)
  • Solitaire Residential Limited
    (Company No: 04484379)
  • Solitaire Residential Holdings Limited
    (Company No: 04478787)
  • Solitaire Group Limited
    (Company No: 02999863)
  • Solitaire Holdings Limited
    (Company No: 04119788)
  • Solitaire Property Management Company Limited
    (Company No: 02231168)
  • Peverel Group Limited
    (Company No: 03073418)
  • Peverel Investment Properties Limited
    (Company No: 04352393)
  • Peverel Investments
    (Company No: 01769945)
  • Peverel Properties Limited
    (Company No: 03829939)
  • Peverel Management Services Ltd
    (Company No: 01614866)
  • Peverel Nominee Services Ltd
    (Company No: 06695871)
  • Peverel OM Limited
    (Company No: 02061041)
  • Peverel Operations PD Ltd
    (Company No: 06277828)
  • Peverel Optionholder Ltd
    (Company No: 03829472)
  • Peverel Property Investments Ltd
    (Company No: 02891085)
  • Peverel Property Ownership Ltd
    (Company No: 06277650)
  • Peverel Property Services Ltd
    (Company No: 04352415)
  • Peverel Real Estate Ltd
    (Company No: 03229750)
  • Peverel Residential Management Ltd
    (Company No: 06544398)
  • Peverel Scotland Ltd
    (Company No: 03829468)
  • Danecarr Limited
    (Company No: 06031167)
  • Pembertons Residential Limited
    (Company No: 01623496)
  • Property Investment Portfolio Services Ltd
    (Company No: 03613017)

As you can see, this is quite a number of companies that are linked with Solitaire Property Management.  I’m sure if you look at contracts and paperwork you have for the purchase of your home, one of the above companies will be listed and would appear to be a completely separate company.

What I was interested in was there are lots of ‘Holding & Management (Solitaire)’ companies that have been registered with Companies House which are now dissolved.

What Can We Do?

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

TheTruthAboutSolitaire are amazed at the number of comments we are receiving from other residents of Solitaire Property Management expressing their dissatisfaction.

Harry Meddleton raised a very interesting comment in relation to how residents can go about getting rid of Solitaire Property Management, from managing their homes.

As Jon Hill commented, the residents where he lives are looking to also sack Solitaire.

This brings me to ask the question

What Can We Do?

I believe that it may be in our interests to:

  1. Put a petition together (any idea’s on this one would be appreciated)
  2. Take as much photographic and video evidence as possible
  3. Any correspondence you send to Solitaire ensure you copy info@arma.org.uk and lee.middleburgh@peverel.co.uk into your addresses
  4. Any correspondence you do send to Solitaire, maybe its worthwhile mentioning this website TheTruthAboutSolitaire - this way they can see for themselves that the residents are fed up!

I know ARMA are associated with Solitaire, but Lee Middleburgh as we understand from ARMA is the Managing Director of Solitaire.

Also remember lets keep building up comments on TheTruthAboutSolitaire - in the hope that maybe, just maybe it may make Solitaire finally take notice that the residents are now aware that they are failing in their duties.

The Truth Is Out There…

Monday, August 4th, 2008

TheTruthAboutSolitaire is slowly gathering pace!

Many thanks to the residents from Eden Gardens, Katy Horobin and a n onymous who have all commented on the services and performance of Solitaire Property Management.

It’s reassuring to know that it’s not just a single case that Solitaire are failing to fulfil their contractual obligations.

Katy Horobin raised a very good point that apparently ARMA is ran by one of the people that own Solitaire - which explains why when we called ARMA they were very forthcoming with information and contact details of directors in Solitaire Property Management.

Jon Hill from Eden Gardens raised the point about the leasehold and freehold possibly being owned by Solitaire.  What TheTruthAboutSolitaire have found that under the guise of E & M Estates, which is setup by a former director of Solitaire, therefore, yet again you could be complaining about Solitaire to Solitaire.

The more we look into Solitaire, it appears that they get your money every single way, whether it’s Solitaire, ARMA or E & M Estates. 

We’ve also found out that the Managing Director of Peverel Group also has an interest in Solitaire Property Management and complants about Solitaire should be copied into him.  (contact details available on request of the MD).

So this begs us to ask the question, why are so many present and former directors of Solitaire, are now directors of companies that provide services or own the freehold to properties that Solitaire manage?   

Please keep commenting on Solitaire Property Management and make us aware of your complaints.




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