Until early 2006, Mr John Prescott headed
the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister,
with responsibility for housing. "The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was abolished following a string of revelations about his private life", The Mail on Sunday, 30 Aug 09.
Hence, my experience dates from
the time that he headed the department.
Departments then comprised under this Office - with
which I have had dealings - included the then Leasehold
Valuation Tribunals, LEASE, Local
Government and the Local
have been key contributors to
my horrendous nightmare experience
The reason for my summary "The
Landlords' right hand" and the
visual is principally the outcome of
the perceptions I have formed as a
result of my first-hand experience
with these departments.
To these are
added this Office's handling
of landlord-tenant legislation (discussed
at the end of this section)
I first approached Mr Prescott asking for help by sending him a pack, dated 1 July 2002 . It led to a 19 July 2002 reply with which was enclosed a leaflet on the LVTs.
I replied on 29 July 2002 , stating, among others:
"There have been many times over the last few months when I have been in tears at work, at home, even in the street, due to the total despair of finding myself in this horrendous situation with my flat.
I really had hopes that you would actively help us. But, as I have heard so many times before, your main feedback is 'Get a lawyer!'
It deeply shocks me that the authorities are just not prepared to act.
Basically, in this country, landlords can do anything they want short of committing manslaughter: they know it is too difficult for individuals like me to challenge them, and they know that the authorities will not provide support to individuals.
I thought this was the land of 'fair play', a land where there would be justice.
Clearly, I also misunderstood the saying: "an English man's home is his castle"
The leaflet on the then Leasehold
Valuation Tribunals turned out to be the most misleading information I
was supplied with in the course of my war
against the extortionate £14,400 (US$25,400)
service charge demand of 17
July 2002 (supporting letter of 15
July 2002 from Joan Hathaway, MRICS, Martin
Russell Jones, 'managing' agents for
It led me to believe that:
there was an evenue open to me for justice
I could challenge 'Steel Services' 7 August 2002 application to the then London Leasehold Valuation Tribunal.
"without the need for professional representation"
These were LIES that have TOTALLY ruined my life since 2002.
LIES that have cost me a VERY LARGE part of my very heard earned life savings.
LIES that brought me on the brink of committing suicide.
The claim of not needing professional representation is one that Siobhan McGrath, then President of then LVTs, happily makes to the media at every opportunity (e.g. The Times , 4 October 2003, "Property - Landlord squabbles resolved"; on a BBC Radio 4 programme in January 2006)
NB: What the LVT literature also fails to state
is that the tribunals have no jurisdiction to
get a landlord to implement their determination.
Hence, if, as in my case, the landlord
and his aides decide to not implement the determination,
the action must be pursued in court - which,
of course, means considerably more costs.
Not surprisingly, this additional hurdle deters
many leaseholders from pursuing their case. Outcome:
victory for the landlord and his aides! (See Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor # 6.3 , # 6.4 , # 6.6 , and West London County Court )
for the - extremely expensive - poisoned chalice
Back to list
(1.2) The then Leasehold Valuation Tribunals: forums at the service of landlords and their aides
As I wrote in My Diary on 17 January 2003 "I am going to need professional representation - and fast!"
Factors that led me to employ a barrister, solicitor
and surveyor were:
The fact that the London tribunal continued, in breach of its own rule, to turn 'a
blind eye and a deaf ear' to my highlighting
December 2002 that Martin Russell Jones
was in breach of the 29
October 2002 directions set by the tribunal,
as the 17 December 2002 deadline had
passed and it had not provided me with
the required information. Consequently,
I would be unable to meet the 7 January
2003 deadline set by the tribunal (LVT # 2).
I did not receive a reply. Yet,
consider that the LVT had been provided,
well ahead of the deadline, with one of the main
documents I was due to be supplied with, a copy
of Steel Services' "Expert Witness" report' before 1st
December as indicated by the 1
December 2002 fax sent by Ms Hathaway,
Martin Russell Jones, to the LVT in which
she states: "I understand you have already
received our experts report direct"
I wrote to the LVT on 12
January 2003 requesting a postponement
of the 5 February 2003 hearing because I still
had not been supplied with the necessary information.
I copied the letter to Ms Hathaway. On the same
day , I also wrote a letter to Ms Hathaway,
repeating the same thing (and copied the
The then London LVT denied my request. In
her letter 20
January letter to the LVT, Ms Hathaway
opposed a postponement of the hearing
- FALSELY - claiming that I had
been provided with the information.
At the 5 February 2003 hearing, my Counsel pointed
out that, in sending me a copy of Steel Services 7
August 2002 application, the LVT had not
included any of the supporting enclosures. The
Chair asked the Clerk to confirm this. He replied,
"Not all the residents were copied on the
In addition, during the hearing, Ms Hathaway
contradicted herself in replying to a question
from my Counsel.
It led the Chair to adjourn the first day of
the substantive hearing to March 2003 "In
the interest of justice" ( point 16, of
June 2003 LVT determination)
had there not been justice before?
Given what I had (and fellow leaseholders)
communicated to the LVT..
...why was it necessary
for me to employ (at a very high
cost) a barrister (plus a solicitor)
to say what I had already said
to the LVT on several occasions? (LVT # 2 , # 3)
Fair minded, reasonable visitor site,
are you beginning to see why I wrote this summary
for the section and used this visual?
Back to list
While the 17 June 2003 LVT determination, reference LVT/SC/007/120/02 (ref #992 on the LVT database) determination is a fair
representation of what happened and the
Panel did not spare Steel Services, Martin
Russell Jones and Mr
Brian Gale, Steel Services' surveyor
in its criticisms, it is as though, at
the 11th hour, it made a
U-turn and opted to protect Steel
Services as it did not include a summary
of the impact of its findings "on the reasonableness of the
global sum demanded" making it impossible
for anybody who did not have access to
the documents subsequently issued during
the three-day hearing to figure this
Hence, the LVT failed to perform its
legal remit, as defined under s.19 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 - to "determine the reasonableness
of the global sum demanded"
it is its remit is evidenced by:
the directions it issued on 29
October 2002 "The application is for the Tribunal to determine the reasonableness of the refurbishment and repairs work proposed by the applicants at a cost of 736,206.09”
point 1 of its 17
June 2003 report: "The Tribunal was dealing with an application to determine the reasonableness of a service charge to be incurred under Section 19 (2B) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985”
(3) its 21
July 2003 reply to Mr
Lanny Silverstone, CKFT "It is not the duty of the Tribunal to assess the particular contribution payable by any specific tenant but only to determine the reasonableness, or otherwise of the service charges as a whole to go on the service charge account from which no doubt you can assess the proportion for that particular tenant"
voicemail from the Clerk
of the LVT, captured by Piper
Smith Basham in
April 2003 letter to my
Understandably, when I opted to challenge Steel
Services' action in the LVT I thought I would
end-up with a decision.
had an open-ended £28,000 (US$49,440) report (cost
of my surveyor, solicitor and barrister) for
which I paid an extra £1,800 (US$3,200)
to my surveyor to determine the impact
of the determination on the sum demanded (LVT # 4.3).
And of course, predictably, I ended-up
battling with Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor and
Russell Jones who claimed that
the impact of the tribunal findings was a
lot less than it actually was,
as can be seen, for example in:
(1) the documents and 'so-called' "revised
apportionment" handed to me by
Mr Lanny Silverstone, CKFT, barely
10 minutes before seeing the judge in West
London County Court on 24
(2) his 17
July 2003 letter to the judge,
following my 15
July 2003 letter to the court,
in which he states that I am "wrong" (see West London County Court # 9 ; Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor # 6.3 )
(3) the 6 August
2003 application, by Ms Ayesha Salim, CKFT,
to West London County Court for "summary
judgement" against me (and
pack (1.1MB) which contains her application,
the Particulars of Claim against
me and 10 other leaseholders filed
in West London County Court on 29
November 2002, my analysis of
the contributions obtained, as
well as other supporting documents)
In relation to the claim filed against me and
the 10 other leaseholders, please note
that we (i.e. the leaseholders) had very
specifically been told by the Chair
of the tribunal, at the 29 October 2002 pre-trial 'hearing' (LVT # 1.5), that if we paid the
service charge demanded, the tribunal would not
be able to help us.
To reinforce the point, we were handed
a leaflet which, on page
"...a recent Court of Appeal case ruling
( Daejan Properties Limited v London
Leasehold Valuation Tribunal ) determined
that LVTs only have the jurisdiction
to decide the reasonableness of disputed
service charges that
are still unpaid except under certain
circumstances". (NB: bold type
face as per the leaflet).
In other words, we were specifically told to NOT
pay until the tribunal had issued its
determination and it had been implemented.
The tribunal issued its determination in
June of the following year - as can be
seen from its report which is dated 17
Yet, exactly one month after we
had, in effect, been told by the tribunal
to NOT pay,
Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor filed the 29 November 2002 claim
in West London
Please note that Mr Andrew Ladsky, Ms Joan
Hathaway, MRICS and Mr Barrie Martin, FRICS
Russell Jones attended
the 29 October 2002 pre-trial LVT hearing.
Back to list
(1.4) And Siobhan McGrath - with the endorsement of her 'head office', the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister - twice refused to include a summary of the tribunal' s determination
As I was battling with Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor over the LVT findings (CKFT # 6.3 , # 6.4 , # 6.5 ,
# 6.6 , West London County Court and Lord Falconer of Thoroton ) I wrote to Siobhan McGrath, then President of then LVTs, on 6
September 2003 (copying Prescott on
the letter) (LVT # 7) asking her to include a summary
to the report stating exactly what it had determined
and the resulting impact on the global sum
demanded . In other words: requesting
that the then London LVT fulfils its legal remit.
In her 12
September 2003 reply she refused ,
"neither I nor the tribunal have the power
to re-open a decision"
In my 6
October 2003 reply, I argued that providing
a summary of the decision
"does not amount to "re-opening a decision" - "rather
it is about your tribunal completing an unfinished
(See LVT # 4 , # 7 )
In between, I also received a very familiar "get
lost" letter from Prescott's
Office, dated 6
In my 9
November 2003 correspondence to McGrath, I also asked her to ensure that
the so-called 'summary of the case' be amended to reflect
"factually accurate summary of the case" as "the
current version is particularly misleading" .
She 'replied' on 26
November 2003 letter that this database
had nothing to do with the LVT and that I needed
to address my request to LEASE as it had
responsibility for the database. On my request
to her I had copied LEASE. My request
was ignored. (LVT # 7).
It follows that the tribunal has committed
- and continues to commit since
2003 - under the Defamation Act defamation of my name and
of my character by having the 'summary of the case' on its database - accessible by the public - falsely accusing me of being the cause of the hearing - while capturing under point point 64 of its report that I had the "...legal right to challenge the Applicant's proposal..." and knowing full well that its report was very damning of the specification and pricing drawn-up by Brian Gale
Back to list
(1.5) Unbelievably, in spite of its very damning report of 17 June 2003, reference LVT/SC/007/120/02 (ref #992 on the LVT database) , the then London LVT agreed to Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor and Martin Russell Jones' request for a hearing in relation to my 20C Application
As detailed under point # 4 of the then Leasehold Valuation Tribunal page, (based on my surveyor's assessment as the tribunal failed to perform its legal remit) the outcome of the findings was to reduce the original global sum demanded of £736,207 (US$1.3 million) by £ £500,000 (US$882,000) (including the contingency fund) - leaving an amount that can be charged of £235,947 (US$416,000) - or 32% of the original sum demanded.
Considering this very damning outcome (see extracts under Brian Gale), I opted to file an application to the tribunal to prevent 'Steel Services' aka Andrew Ladsky from putting its LVT related costs on the service charges for the block (an intention that had first been communicated by my then solicitor to the tribunal and MRJ, in letters dated 7 April 2003 - and was again communicated on the last day of the hearings) (LVT # 5)
To this effect I wrote to the tribunal on 30 July 2003 , stating : "In view of your judgement of 17 June 2003, I assume that there will be no obstacle in your making a 20C Order preventing the landlord, Steel Services from imposing their legal costs on the service charges for Jefferson House" .
The LVT replied 1 August 2003 by sending me a form to complete. I did this on 10 August 2003 , and stated in my covering letter dated 12 August 2003 : "Given the Tribunal's decision of 17 June 2003, I assume that this is just for your administrative purposes" .
I concluded my letter by stating:
"The evidence is there. The facts speak for themselves. The Applicant cannot be allowed to put on the service charge for Jefferson House the costs it incurred as a result of the action it pursued through the LVT. The Tribunal has the power to get this decision implemented now and I trust that it will do so.
In their 22 August 2003 and 28 August 2003 letters to the LVT, Ms Ayesha Salim, Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor , and Ms Joan Hathaway, Martin Russell Jones, demanded to have a hearing
Unbelievably, the LVT Clerk obliged, as can be seen in his 29 August 2003 reply "The hearing of the application has been scheduled for 9:45 am on 8 October 2003" (See LVT # 5).
If this does not qualify as 'siding with crooked landlords' : what does?
The sine qua none of the Business model : the costs! Scare the lessees by stating that a hearing will be necessary / agreeing to a landlord's request for a hearing.
And if the lessee takes-up the challenge? Well, who cares: the taxpayer picks-up the cost of the LVTs! Right Mr Prescott and Mrs Siobhan McGrath?
(Same approach with the courts e.g. West London County Court which so obligingly agreed to Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor's requests for hearings e.g. 24 June 2003 hearing (West London County Court # 8 and Lord Falconer of Thoroton # 5.4 ) . The taxpayer picks-up the tab.
I went through absolute sheer, utter hell at the time of filing my 20C application - see Piper Smith Basham # 7.18 and Martin Russell Jones # 43 , which includes evidence against Ms Ayesha Salim, Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor (referred to under CKFT # 6.9 ) - as well as in My Diary , September 2003
Back to list
(1.6) Further supporting evidence that then LVTs were particularly 'landlord friendly' (and will continue to be):
From the time it received the 7
August 2002 application from Steel Services,
it waited two months to
inform leaseholders of the application: it
communicated this to us in a letter dated 8
October 2002 .
It waited another two days to
inform us of the pre-trial hearing set for 29
October, as it did this in its 10
October 2002 letter. As many leaseholders live overseas (a fact known to the LVT as it
had the leaseholders' address), this barely
gave them a 10-day notice of the pre-trial
hearing giving them very little chance of being
able to attend (LVT # 1.1). WHY DID THE LVT DO THIS?
As suggested by the 9
April 2003 letter from Piper Smith Basham to my then solicitors, not all leaseholders
were informed of this action (LVT # 1.2). WHY NOT?
In its 8
October 2002 letter it sent me (and other
leaseholders), the LVT stated that it included
a copy of the application and supporting appendices
sent to the LVT by Steel Services.
fact, it did NOT include a copy of
the Appendix: "statement
showing how the service charge is made up -
individual items, or estimated items, breakdown
of costs of each item to show how the service
charge is calculated" it had been
provided with. WHY NOT?
At the 29 October 2002 pre-trial hearing, all the leaseholders were clamouring for a copy of the priced specification. In fact, the LVT had a copy on file since 7 August 2002 . Yet, neither the Chair, nor the Clerk, said or did anything about it. WHY NOT?
Fair minded, reasonable visitor site,
do you see why I wrote this summary for the
section and used this visual?
Do you also see why I stated in the
introduction to the site that there is 'no
avenue open to me for justice and redress on
this island' ?
(See then London Leasehold
Valuation Tribunal for further
detail, as well as the Document Library for the unbelievable amount of correspondence I have had to engage in, not only in relation to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal, but also in the course of the other c. 40 battles I have had to engage in. And all of that because I 'stupidly' believed what I had been told by the State: that I had rights, I had the right to demand, and there was a system in place - for which I am asked to pay through taxes - that would protect me as well as help me get the implementation of my rights - leading me to get justice - and redress. Do I feel conned? BIG TIME!)
Back to list
Kensington & Chelsea
Housing and the Local
Government Ombudsman have also been major contributors
to my horrendous nightmare, costing me,
among others, nearly 300 hours of my life; c.£600 in costs, as well torment, anguish
and distress. (see Doc library # 5.3 and # 5.4)
After a three and a half months battle with
the Housing department which, among others, entailed
fighting off its excuses and misinformation ( see # 2.1 , # 2.2 , # 2.4 ) - including
from my Ward Councillor (my 5
October 2004 reply to her 30
September 2004 response to my 30
August 2004 letter asking for assistance)
- I opted to file a complaint, dated 17
September 2004 , with the Local Government
In his reply dated 5
October 2004 , the Local Government Ombudsman
Investigator informs me that he will send a
copy of my complaint to the Council; that
"For the moment you need take no further
action on your complaint. Once the Council
has considered your complaint, if you are still
unhappy, please send me the papers and say
why you are dissatisfied".
He terminates the letter by saying:
I do not hear from you within the next
8 weeks, I will write to you again to see if
you are satisfied with the outcome" .
I find the eight week grace period exceptionally
generous given that by the time the Local Government
Ombudsman wrote the letter, exactly four
months had elapsed since I had first approached the
It led me to explore where exactly the Local
Government Ombudsman fitted within
the government organisational structure
and to discover that (at the time) it came
underNick Raynsford who also had
responsibility for Local Government .
Raynsford came under John Prescott i.e.
part of the Office of the Deputy Prime
While I admit to not knowing the detail of the
activities, this looked to me like a conflict
of interest (similar to e.g. the
Law Society ( # 2 , # 3 ) , Bar Council ( # 4 ) , Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Institute
of Chartered Accountants in England
etc. being both, trade associations and so-
By the time I replied to the 15
October 2004 letter from the Chief Housing
Officer on 11
November 2004 , as well as to the Tenancy
Relations Officer, also on 11
November 2004 , I had, by then, become
extremely tired of the pushback letters
I kept receiving from government departments
I turned to for assistance. I had also
caught on the 'tricks' used by these departments
to get rid of 'persistent' people like
Hence, to short-circuit my being made to go
through any more 'loops' all with the aim of
wearing me down so that I give up, I made it
bluntly clear in my letter to the Chief Housing
Officer that I understood the underlying strategy. (What
also prompted me to make the various comments
was my experience with another of Prescott
Office's department, the then London Leasehold
I copied the Local Government Ombudsman on both
letters, and, in my covering letter of 11
November 2004 , stated that I knew where
the Local Government Ombudsman fitted within
the organisational structure. Not surprisingly,
these letters did not go down well.
Back to list
(2.1) 'Big Brother' decided to 'punish me'
Subsequent note in September 2008: I am not alone in my dissatisfaction with the LGO - see 'Campaign against bias and maladministration in the Local Government Ombudsman Service' http://www.ombudsmanwatch.org
The outcome was that 'Big Brother' decided it
was going to punish me for, I assume, being a
daring, insignificant 'nobody' - or other perceptions
in a similar vein.
The Local Government Ombudsman Investigator
copied me on his email of 16
November 2004 to individuals at the council,
"We will treat this as a new complaint which
will be registered in due course. There is
presently a six week delay in allocating complaints."
It was clear to me that I was the 'true' addressee
for this email.
I replied in my email of 17
November 2004 that, given the contents
of his letter of 5
October 2004 , I assumed that an error
had been made.
he replied on the same day i.e. 17
November 2004 :
"No the statement you quoted
is not an error.It seemed to
me your letter [i.e. of
11 November] was an expression
of dissatisfaction with the Council's
For that reason I decided
that your letter be registered
as a new complaint (which it
must be as your old complaint
Compare this with his 5
October 2004 letter:
"For the moment
you need take no further action on
your complaint. Once the Council has considered
your complaint, if you are still unhappy, please
send me the papers and say why you are dissatisfied"
The Investigator, whom, by then, I perceived
as a little dictator with a grossely inflated
sense of power, terminates his email
"I cannot confirm at this stage that
your complaint will be pursued or what
further action will be taken"
Translation: Damn you woman! If you
think you are going to outsmart us, you won't. We'll
do exactly as we planned to do all along: ignore
your request for assistance. If this is not an example of bias, what is?
At least, the benefit of my approach was that
I had saved myself endless hours of pointless
letter writing and photocopying, as well as a
substantial amount in postage.
My battle carried on with the Council 's Housing
Back to list
(2.2) It seems that the 'little dictator' had his 'cage rattled'
In my 24
November 2004 letter to the Parliamentary
Ombudsman, I referred to my experience
with the Local Government Ombudsman.
or wrongly, I believe that this Ombudsman
the scene' as, on 13 January 2005, I
received an email from the Local Government
Ombudsman Investigator. My not replying, led
to another email on 26
January 2005 (this includes copy of
both emails) and to a phone call
a few days later. I considered his tone
at the beginning of the conversation as
dictatorial and commented on it.
In his emails, the Investigator stated that "I
understand you have received the accounts" .
In fact, I had not. In my 27
February 2005 letter to him, I related
what I had told him during the course
of our conversation on 1st /2nd February,
namely that in her 16
December 2004 letter,
"the Executive Director, Housing & Social
Services triumphantly announced that MRJ had
told [the TRO] that the accounts
had been sent which therefore vindicated the
Council's stance" .
2. I had not received the accounts i.e.
for 2002 and 2003.
3. In spite of the detailed, comprehensive
evidence I provided to the Council, [the
Executive Director] opted to (based on
her letter) believe that MRJ had sent me the
accounts instead of ascertaining that I had
indeed received them."
4. I then told you: "what would it have
cost the Council to enclose a copy of the accounts? Based
on previous years, at most it will be c. 4-5
pages for each year"
5. At this point you replied to me: "There
is no hidden agenda".
I put it to you
that any reasonable people when considering
the evidence would conclude otherwise"
Following our 1st / 2nd February conversation,
the Investigator contacted the Housing
department. In a correspondence dated 9
February 2005 , he enclosed the 2002 and
In my 27
February 2005 letter, I drew attention
to the fact that:
The fax sent by Barrie Martin, FRICS,
Russell Jones, to the Housing department
was dated 5
November 2004 i.e. three months earlier
In this fax, he only referred to
the 2003 accounts - not the 2002 accounts
Leading me to ask: " when were
the 2002 accounts received by the [TRO] and,
why were they not sent to me at the time?"
Yet again, I concluded that this was another example from one of John Prescott's departments that leaseholders who 'dare' to challenge a 'sacrosanct' landlord and, to top it all...
...also dare to challenge one of his departments, would not 'get away with it'.
In the rest of my 27 February 2005 letter, I
challenged many of the points in the 16
December 2004 letter from the Executive
Director of housing highlighting the misinformation,
as well as contradictions in the excuses provided - among
others, in the series of "justification" provided
for not prosecuting.
I concluded on the section by stating:
you expect me to believe that "there is no
comment made by the Investigator
in reply to my saying to him on 1st / 2nd
February that "it was now very clear to
me that the RBK&C Housing Department was
protecting Steel Services" )
I followed by this relating my experience with
him and, in the latter part of my letter wrote:
"Yes Mr Moriarty, there is a hidden
agenda which is now very clear to me: a
dictate that landlords are sacrosanct and,
quite clearly, some more so than others.
While, as a result of my horrendous nightmare
experience now going into its 4th year, I firmly
believe that the leasehold system must be abolished,
I would suggest that, at a minimum, some discretion
is used in implementing the dictate from the
The benefit of doing this ought to be
obvious to those with the most at
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(2.3) The then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister held the view that it was "not in the public interest to prosecute the case". How come? Did it know at the time that a fraud had taken place?
The Investigator replied to my 27
February 2005 letter by email on 14
April 2005 , challenging my claim that
the accounts were not compliant with
In this letter, under '1. Enclosures' , I drew attention to the following:
"Page 1 i.e. the commentary for both, the 2002 and 2003 accounts states: "...show how they are reflected in the service charge demands and specifies the amount payable by each lessee".
"This schedule was not enclosed for the 2002 accounts, nor for the 2003 accounts"
I attributed this to the fact that Martin Russell Jones , Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor and their client, Andrew Ladsky, had something to hide. I WAS RIGHT!
After an unebelievable battle with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, at the end of August 2006, it sent me a copy of the above enclosures, with its letter dated 29 August 2006.
The 2002 and 2003 "summary of contributions to the major works fund" sent to me by the ICAEW show that 9 out the 14 flats listed on the West London County Court claim (WL 203537) were charged the FULL amount originally demanded by Ms Hathaway in her 15 July 2002 letter.
These amounts are listed in the Particulars of the claim (contains my analysis of the contributions paid by the leaseholders, as well as supporting documents) accompanying the 29 November 2002 West London County Court claim - drawn-up by CKFT - and filed by Ms Hathaway - under a Statement of Truth.
With the assistance of West London County Court, at least seven leaseholders were made to pay the full amount BEFORE the tribunal had issued its determination, LVT/SC/007/120/02 (ref #992 on the LVT database) (See West London County Court # 2 , # 6 ; LVT # 1 , # 4 , # 7 ; Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor # 6.1 , # 6.2 , # 6.3 )
These sums were obtained fraudulently, amounting to committing offences under, among others, the Court and Legal Services Act 1990 - Chapter 41 - Section 17 ; the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 ; the Theft Act 1968 / Theft (Amendment) Act 1996 - See Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor, including # 6.6
The Investigator replied to my 27 February 2005 letter by email on 14 April 2005 , challenging my claim that the accounts were not compliant with legislation.
Did he know about the content of these enclosures? I think it is a fair question for me to ask...
...(subsequent note: considering as well that the threat of forfeiture and bankruptcy proceedings, as well as court claims = FRAUD TOOLS)
Well, I can always ask - even though I will not get the answer - as suggested by this 4 Dec 06 article in The Guardian, in relation to the Freedom of Information Act "Afraid of the daylight"
"...ministers have set-up a fantastical bureaucratic structure with the aim of obstructing inquirers at every turn" (back-up extracts)
This was also picked-up by The Independent in its 15 Dec 06 article, headed "Blair questioned by police on day of 'burying bad news' "
"The Department for Constitutional Affairs under Lord Falconer of Thoroton announced it was pressing ahead with plans to limit the Freedom of Information Act curtailing rights to access and increasing fees to apply" (back-up extracts )
I replied on 17
April 2005 maintaining my position
May 2005 reply from the Investigator
falls back on the 'old
"...even if the freeholder
had not complied with the terms
of s21(5) as you allege, it
is the council's view that it
would not be in the public
interest to prosecute the case" (1)
In light of the above, it certainly would not be "in the landlord's interest to prosecute the case" - would it?
At least there was consistency in this message, as it was now the third time that it was being made to me. The previous two instances were by my Ward Councillor , and subsequently by the Chief Housing Officer
The Local Government Ombudsman then followed by another
of the government's favourite:
do it yourself! as
the letter states
"It remains open to you
to bring a private prosecution
against the landlord if you
To which the following could have been added:
"As you know from your first-hand
experience with West
London County Court and
Wandsworth County Court , this
is not going to get you anywhere. Landlords are
(Subsequent note: I have since been able to accumulate more evidence in support of my conclusion - see the summary of the outcomes of my complaints, as well as e.g. West London County Court - Post 2004 for another repeat of the 2002-04 'show' ; see also section on Kensington & Chelsea police)
(1) On the other hand, the government evidently considers it to be "in the public interest" to squander billions of pounds of taxpayers' money e.g.
on Sunday article of 8 May 06 - "The
Eurofighter project has been plagued by technical
problems for years, resulting in extra costs
to taxpayers of at least £20 billion" (US$35bn)
The Independent, 5
Sep 06 article - "A major
computer system used to process payments has
been shelved, the Government confirmed today...The BBC Radio
4 Today programme reported that it had cost £141
million (US$250 million) in the three
years since it had been first set-up and had
been designed to save around £60 million (US$106
million) for the taxpayer"
The Independent, on 15 Dec 06, "Anger as Whitehall spends £7bn on private consultants" (backup extracts )
"Government departments have spent £7.2bn on consultants in three years, but appear not to have a clear idea of what value they got for their money, according to the first authoritative survey by the official public spending watchdog"
This seems to me to be the outcome of handing
over a £500+ billion (US$900 billion) business
(the size of the budget) to people who have never
run a business in their life. (Discussed in more
detail in My Diary under the latter part of the
entry for Wednesday
2 August 2006))
Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the site, do you see why I stated in my introduction to the site that 'there is no avenue open to me for justice and redress on this island'?
Back to list
(2.4) Not surprisingly, Martin Russell Jones is repeating its 'formula' in other blocks
As the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister it was of the view that - contrary to its stated remit - "it is not in the public interest to prosecute" landlords and their aides for breaches of statutory requirements, it is no surprise to find that Martin Russell Jones is repeating its 'formula' in other blocks - as exemplified by the tribunal case, LON/00AQ/LSC/2005/0258, 12 August 2006 (printscreen of website) which highlights:
(1) claiming large amounts of expenditure unsupported by invoices, as well as overcharging for services;
(2) failing to produce year-end accounts;
(3) failing to issue a section 20 notice.
(4) the use of solicitors to enforce payment of service charges (point 12)
Yep! All of that sounds very much like 'Déjà vu'!
(Not surprisingly, there are similar stories in other blocks that Martin Russell Jones 'manages' - see e.g. Martin Russell Jones # 18 , # 42 ; compilation of examples under RICS # 12)
Why should Martin Russell Jones stop behaving as it does? In addition to the 'carte blanche' from the ODPM:
At the time that the then Martin Russell Jones needed to be registered with the then Financial Services Authority it, likewise, 'could not give a damn!' (In Apr 13, the FSA was reincarnated as the Financial Conduct Authority)
Its conduct is evidently endorsed by its trade association, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Subsequent note: confirmed in August 2008 - see RICS # 12 )
Pridie Brewster the 'accountant' for Jefferson House has taken no action once it had absolute knowledge that criminal conduct had taken place (In my NON-LAWYER opinion, under Money Laundering Regulations - it should have reported Martin Russell Jones) - and its trade association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has, likewise, turned a 'blind eye and a deaf ear' - see Pridie Brewster # 17 , # 18 , # 19 , # 20 , # 21 )
The courts, West London County Court and Wandsworth County Court have, likewise turned ' a blind eye and a deaf ear ' to the evidence - see # 8 , # 9 , # 11, as well as Lord Falconer of Thoroton (then Head of the Court Service). (Subsequent note - And, in relation to another fraudulent service charge demand in 2007, West London County Court has likewise continued to 'turn a blind eye and a deaf ear', as well as provide a helping hand)
(As summarised earlier on under # 1.2 ), the then London Leasehold Valuation Tribunal also turned 'a blind eye and a deaf ear' to what I and other leaseholders were communicating - opting instead to have ears only for Martin Russell Jones... like Kensington & Chelsea housing
And the same attitude prevails in relation to the ' back-up enforcers ' (Martin Russell Jones # 25 , # 26 ) - see Legal Services Ombudsman
With that kind of set-up: what else can be expected?
Indeed, what this amounts to overall, is that what Martin Russell Jones is doing is regarded as 'good practice' - rather than 'malpractice' (Subsequent note - Confirmed by its 'trade association', the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in 2008 - see RICS # 12)
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(2.5) So much for housing departments being
the "prosecuting authority
for contraventions of Landlord - Tenant
as detailed, under point 5 of the 16
December 2004 letter from the Executive
Director Housing & Social Services
for Kensington & Chelsea - who quoted from s.34 of the L&T Act 1985.
The reality is that councils not
only lack the will to enforce the law, they also
have a serious conflict of interest since
they are among the largest landlords in the country - owning
and mismanaging a lot of freehold properties
Fairly recent issues of the local newspaper
for Kensington and Chelsea, the Informer, indicate
(not surprisingly) that I am not the only one
complaining about the Council e.g. letter from
Nigel Wilkins (Chair of C.A.R.L. ),
6 January 2005:
"the council is the prosecuting authority
in respect of criminal offences under
landlord and tenant law. Its consistent failure
to match up to its obligations under this
legislation demonstrates that it is soft
And this example from another local leaseholder,
who, in his letter published on 25 February 2005,
"the tenant management organisation (TOM)
fails to answer legitimate complaints from
leaseholder" and " service charge
He also states:
"the TOM was somewhat confrontational
by tying up my reasonable request
in bureaucratic procedures and circumlocutionist
correspondence by making woolly use
I most certainly know exactly what this person
means having been at the receiving end of the
same treatment myself.
The same downright refusal by housing departments
to perform their legal remit in relation to contraventions
of landlord-tenant legislation is also found
among other councils e.g. the case of the leaseholder
covered in the Evening
Standard article of 3 December 2003, headed " Left
homeless for £25 " (US$44):
"...neither the police nor Hastings borough
council will act" .
(Yes, ditto as well for me in the case of the
police, except that in my case Kensington & Chelsea
police extended not just a 'helpful hand' to Andrew Ladsky - but 'lock stock and barrel'
- See Police )
Since then, I came across an article in The
Times of 16 August 2005, headed "What
next for councils of despair? Local government
reform has spawned a system that makes abuse
of authority more likely" in which
the journalist wrote:
".LGO Watch. called for the setting up of
an independent local government complaints
commission to bring order into a
system it described as "morally corrupt".
the 2000 Act was supposed to herald a regime
of quality, efficiency and leadership. In fact,
it has meant the introduction of the payroll
role and pork-barrel politics into English
local government, along with the acceleration
of an arrogant, managerial style of operation"
Hence, as I view - also in light of my very comprehensive first-hand experience :
Lord Falconer, as (the then) head of the (then) Department for Constitutional Affairs, covering among others, the courts , the Legal Services Ombudsman , the Land Registry acting as a 'fertiliser' for crass incompetence and malpractice in the legal sector
As well as the English so-called 'regulatory bodies' comprising of the Law Society , Bar Council , Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors , Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales - given their attitude and behaviour
(Subsequent note - Overview of the outcomes of my complaints)
What a mess!
Back to list
(3) As demonstrated by the following, John Prescott's
Office evidently had long-reaching tentacles
In August 2003, I sent an identical
letter to a dozen various media (e.g. The
Guardian ) in which I referred to, among
others, my experience with Kensington & Chelsea
In each instance, I copied various
ministries, including the Home
Office as it has responsibility for the police.
August 2003 reply stated that it had
forwarded my letter to Mr Prescott's
a suitable reply" i.e. " get lost! "
Same thing as well in terms of
the courts, as Lord
Falconer 's (then) department,
the (then) Department for Constitutional Affairs,
wrote, in its 1
September 2003 reply, that it had forwarded
my letter to the Office of the Deputy
Prime Minister because it considered
issue raised is outside the remit of
Consider that, in
this letter, I related my experience
London County Court and Wandsworth
County Court. (My hand written
comment on the reply reads: "In
addition to the LVT, plus the police
(Home Office letter of 27 August 2003),
Mr Prescott also deals with the judiciary?" )
Fair minded, reasonable visitor to the
site: do you see why I stated in my introduction
to the site that there is 'no avenue open
to me for justice and redress on this
I DO hold John Prescott's Office as one
of the key parties responsible for the existence
of this website as, in addition to the above, it has left me exposed to
further action by Andrew Ladsky et. al. in particular,
exposed to further unjustified demands for
the major works as the LVT did not detail the
impact of its determination on the global sum
demanded... (not to mention ongoing harassment and intimidation - See My Diary ). Subsequent note: I WAS PROVEN RIGHT!
Back to list
(4) Events with the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform
Act 2002 given as further evidence in support
of my claim that the Office of the Deputy Prime
Minister is the 'landlords' right hand'
(4.1) Pre-being elected: the Labour Party - Oops! 'New Labour' Party's claims of "An End to Feudalism"
To put events in context, it is helpful to recall
some of the claims made by the Labour Party before
the 1997 election in its policy document 'An
End to Feudalism ' , when Nick Raynsford,
MP, was Shadow Minister for Housing.
"Leasehold as a form of residential
tenure is a throwback to feudalism . It
gives exceptional privileges and powers to
The case for reform is overwhelming .
Britain is almost unique in the world in retaining
the system of leasehold. In other countries
different and more modern arrangements have
Over recent decades (NB:!!!) the
weaknesses and injustices inherent in the
British leasehold system have been increasingly
highlighted , but
reform has been a long time coming .Conservative
government's attempts at leasehold reform
have proved incompetent and ineffective.
The 1987 Landlord and Tenant Act . involves
such complex procedures and red tape that few
- if any - leaseholders have benefited from
The 1993 Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban
Development Act.the Tories made so many concessions
to the interests of the big landlords that
it effectively undermined its whole purpose.
As a result, the number of leaseholders
who have in fact been able to buy out the freehold
of their block of flats under the provisions
of the 1993 Act is derisorily small.
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of leaseholders
feel let down by the Tories who promised them
the opportunity to own their home, but then
sold out their interests to the big landowners.
Against this background Labour recognises
that an effective and comprehensive leasehold
reform package is essential. This will remedy
the outstanding problems, eliminate unnecessary
red tape and extend to all those leaseholders
who have been betrayed by the Tories (NB:!!!)
new opportunities to won and manage their homes.
To replace the archaic and discredited
leasehold framework ,
we need a new form of tenure ..This is
the purpose of commonhold...despite repeated
Labour demands for action, the Tories have
dragged their feet
We would expect the tenure of commonhold
to replace leasehold over a period
(In relation to valuation but, in my view of
relevance in all situations)
"The very fear
of these costs, particularly when
it is known that the large landowners are
able to deploy numbers of expensive professional
advisers, can act as a powerful deterrent
to leaseholders exercising their rights
..Labour believes that it is right that
leaseholders should enjoy proper safeguards
against arbitrary and oppressive conditions"
WOW! Isn't that impressive? A sure vote winner from the three million leaseholders who live under "oppressive conditions" in this country
Back to list
(4.2) 'New Labour'...Once elected, all the promises went out of the window
What happened to the above promises once the
Labour Party came to power? They went
out of the window!
In January 2001 , the government
announced a new Bill poised to replace leasehold
with commonhold. It was heralded as the bill
that would "give flat-dwellers more control
over their lives" .
At the time, it was pointed out in the House
of Commons, the House of Lords, and by the media,
that the requirement in the Bill that 100 per
cent of the units in a block must participate
made it a practical impossibility to convert
For example, in his 8 January 2002 speech to
the House of Commons, Mr Barry
Gardiner, MP, stated:
"Before the 1997 election, the Labour Party
published a policy document entitled 'An End
to Feudalism'. Some say that it has become
quite scarce these days in Government circles,
but I am pleased to quote from it. It says:
"Labour will introduce legislation
creating the commonhold tenure. Our proposal
is that this should apply where new tenancies
are created and where existing leaseholders
wish to transfer from their current status.
In such cases the support of a majority of
the leaseholders will be required to effect
"Why that eminently sound position has been
changed is a matter for conjecture. I simply
say this: the decision in the Bill to allow
transfers from leasehold to commonhold only
when there is 100 per cent agreement of the
leaseholders is the death knell of commonhold.
That is an impossible hurdle to overcome.
By their insistence on unanimity, the Government
have at once held out commonhold as the panacea
for the ills of leasehold tenure and simultaneously
made it unattainable for all existing leaseholders.
It is a quite staggering achievement to neuter
one's own Bill before it ever gets on the statute
book, but that is quite simply what clause
The second point highlighted by Mr Barry Gardiner was
".the failure to insist that commonhold
becomes the default tenure for all new-build
blocks of flats or conversions of houses. "
Nearly two years later...
...in its October 2002 "Consultation
Paper, Residential Leasehold Reform
in England and Wales " John
Prescott's Office wrote, among others:
"For someone who wants
to buy a flat, leasehold is the only
option anyway "
...the Government remains committed to the
introduction of a new 'commonhold' tenure.
The Government considers
that leasehold is a fundamentally
unsatisfactory tenure - particularly
for flats, since
the leases for flats tend to provide
greater scope for abuse by the landlord...
...throughout the life of
the lease, the landlord has far more
power than the leaseholders. Some landlords
use that power responsibly and moderately,
but others do not. The worst of them abuse
their position to exploit their leaseholders
in a wide variety of ways.
The reform legislation of the last thirty
years has had only limited impact"
It then discusses 'so called' measures and 'rights' "put
in place" for leaseholders, after which
"despite all the safeguards,
bad landlords have found ways to continue with
their old abuses, and have invented some new
Leaseholders have found the
remedies cumbersome, difficult and expensive
The commonhold legislation came into force, four
years after being announced, in September
Over a year later, on 22 November 2005,
in the House of Lords , Baroness
Gardner of Parkes asked
may commonholds have been registered
under the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act
Reply from Lord Evans of Temple Guiting:
Lords, as of 18 November, six commonholds
were registered at the Land Registry.The
rate of take-up is extremely disappointing.We
are considering whether it is necessary
to hold a formal review. ( NB :
The government's typical delaying tactic!) .
We will announce the result of our investigations
early in the new year"
is disappointing because it was anticipated
that there would be many thousands of registrations
by now. It is almost derisory if it is only
five or six.
Can the Minister confirm
that commonhold was a Labour Party
manifesto commitment and that the intention
was to empower people to own and control their
own homes on a permanent basis, rather than
to have a lease which is a depreciating asset?"
it was a Labour Party manifesto commitment.In
fact, it is a piece of legislation
that has moved through several Parliaments. The
Government are absolutely committed to commonhold. (NB:!!!) We
shall investigate why progress is so slow and
report back to the House early in the new year" ( NB:!!! )
does the Minister recall that when
we were discussing the commonhold Bill there
was a great deal of inquiry around
the fact that the Government were insisting
that there should be 100 per cent sign-up within
a block before it could become a commonhold?
he also recall that the strong recommendation
from this side of the House was that it should
not be more than 80 per cent? If
the Government are going to consider
even if they are not-will they consider reviewing
the 100 per cent requirement?"
"My Lords, I
think we will reconsider every aspect
of it. (NB:!!!) The
noble Baroness is absolutely correct to
say-and I think it was the noble Baroness,
Lady Gardner, who suggested-that 80 per cent
would be more sensible than 100 per cent.
the investigation takes place, we will
look into all the reasons why this rather enlightened (NB!!!) and
central piece of legislation has not progressed
as quickly as we hoped it would during the
first year of its implementation"
Baroness Scott of Needham Market:
Lords, does the noble Lord agree that it
was inevitable under this system that
developers of new properties would not bring
properties forward under commonhold given that,
by retaining the lease system, they keep
for themselves ground rent, service charges
and the option to sell the freehold later?
Should that not have been foreseen
from the outset?"
Lords, I am not sure I can agree that
it should have been foreseen from the outset"
Lord Evans "does not agree that it should
have been foreseen from the outset" ???
Are we expected to believe that? On the
one hand the government would like
us to believe that it decries the abuses
committed under the leasehold system,
yet, on the other hand, there are no requirements
for developers to build flats on a
Are we - leaseholders - all walking around
with ' stupid '
written on our forehead?
As evidenced by the above, the Housing department,
under Mr Prescott's Office, was made fully aware
that the requirement for 100 per cent sign-up
made it a near impossibility for leaseholders
to turn their flat into commonhold.
It was also made fully aware of the Bill's "...failure
to insist that commonhold becomes the
default tenure for all new-build blocks
of flats or conversions of houses. " (Mr
Barry Gardiner, MP, in the House of Commons
on 8 January 2002)
The Act went through an extensive consultation
process, in which Mr Prescott's housing
department persistently ignored, not only the
arguments put forward in The House of Lords and
in Parliament (e.g. Mr Barry Gardiner, MP), but
also the proposals put forward by organisations
such as C.A.R.L. (Campaign
for the Abolition of Residential Leasehold)
on behalf of leaseholders.
As Mr Nigel Wilkins,
Chair of C.A.R.L. pointed
out in 2006:
"It is now just over ten years since
the Labour Party published "An End
to Feudalism", which proposed "to
replace the archaic and discredited leasehold
a new form of tenure called "commonhold".
Since then, with 40 per cent of
new developments consisting of leasehold
flats, only a handful
of commonhold developments, and absolutely
no transfers from leasehold to commonhold, the
leasehold system has grown more rapidly
than at any time since the Doomsday Book.
Why does the government wish to
continue promoting an eleventh century
system of home tenure, now a millennium
Guardian reported, on 6 August 2005,
a new form of property ownership, called
commonhold, came into force last September,
the government trumpeted it as a replacement
for Britain 's feudal leasehold system. It
would spell the end of disputes with elusive
landlords and prevent them from taking the
property back when the lease expired.
has flopped ....to date, only one known
commonhold association has been set up."
Furthermore, as pointed out by Mr Barry Gardiner,
MP, as far back as January 2002,
"On commonhold...we lag behind the
rest of the world in introducing it. I
can now add that we have gone about it in
a peculiarly British way.
Commonhold is not the completely new and
separate form of title that it is in other
Good examples of simpler systems
are available off the peg from Australia
and the United States . I regret that we
in this country did not have the humility to
learn from them "
Back to list
(4.3) And, likewise, the barbaric forfeiture legislation has been retained
NB: Threat of forfeiture = FRAUD TOOL
then Housing Minister, stated,
in 2003, on a BBC
Radio 4 programme, ' Face
the Facts' that the Commonhold
and Leasehold Reform Act does
not adequately address the serious
problems posed to leaseholders
by the continued presence of
forfeiture on the statute books:
"We didn't probably appreciate
quite how significant this was
for some of our citizens."
Oh, really? (Might
it be because there are no 'citizens'
in this country, only 'subjects'?)
In spite of saying this and having admitted
'An End to Feudalism' policy document,
pre the "1997 election" that
exceptional privileges and powers
to landowners. The case for reform
is overhelming.Over recent decades the weaknesses
and injustices inherent in the British
leasehold system have been increasingly highlighted,
but reform has been a long time coming."
October 2002 consultation paper
"The worst of [the landlords] abuse
their position to exploit their leaseholders
in a wide variety of ways",
it nonetheless retained forfeiture in
the new Act.
More than one year before Keith Hill
made this pathetic and laughable comment
on the BBC
Radio 4 programme, Mr Barry Gardiner,
MP, had stated in the House of Commons
(on 8 January 2002):
"Forfeiture...is the power that a freeholder
has to repossess a person's home
in relation to what may be an insignificant
is unjust and this Bill should abolish
In response to Mr Prescott's housing department
that the Bill made it more difficult for a landlord
to implement forfeiture, Mr
Barry Gardiner replied
"...arguments are fundamentally flawed
in two respects.
First, they fail to understand that
many unscrupulous landlords use
the threat of forfeiture as a means
of polite extortion (*) It
is simply no use for the Minister
to insist that the Bill will require notification
of ground rent or that forfeiture will be
made more difficult, because as long as forfeiture
exists unscrupulous landlords will
use it to extort money from elderly and vulnerable
(*) No: 'Terrorist' extortion. Threat of forfeiture = FRAUD TOOL
The second reason why such arguments are
flawed is perhaps even simpler to understand.
It is against natural justice that
a creditor should be allowed to recoup vastly
more than the amount that they are owed by
selling another person's home from under
them. It is particularly intolerable when
there are perfectly effective alternative
means for enforcing the debt without such
disproportionate suffering and loss"
In its 3 December 2003 article, " Left
homeless for £25 " (US$44),
Standard described forfeiture as:
"a uniquely savage penalty inflicted only
on leaseholders...forfeiture leaves
a leaseholder with nothing"
The Lady referred to in the article was left
homeless because her landlord used a landlord's
right to forfeit a lease for non-payment of her £25
(US$44) annual ground rent for her £60,000
(US$106,000) flat. Apparently, the leaseholder
had sent at least two cheques to the landlord
but he was not cashing them, opting instead to
run along to the 'landlord-friendly' court to
obtain a forfeiture order.
Hence, her landlord was given the right to get
possession of an asset that was worth 2,400
times the amount of the alleged debt .
In its Summer 2004, issue 12, C.A.R.L. (www.carl.org.uk)
describes forfeiture as
"the weapon of mass destruction
that bullying landlords use to intimidate
leaseholders into paying excessive (and often
fraudulent service charge demands)"
(Indeed, this is precisely what happened in
my case - as can be seen in the 7
October 2002 letter from Lanny Silverstone, Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor # 1 , # 6.2 )
As reported by C.A.R.L. ,
by having forfeiture on the statute book, the
government appears to be in breach of
Article 1 of the European Convention on Human
Rights, "Obligation to respect Human Rights"- but, (as with Article 13 - Right to an effective remedy) Article 1 has been OMITTED from the UK Human Rights Act 1998.
This is illustrated by the
decision in 'Commissioners of Customs and Excise
v. Newbury' ( Times Law
Report, 18 April 2003) . In this case,
judges ruled that the attempt by Customs and
Excise to forfeit property in excess of the
import duties owed to it actually breached
Article 1 of the European Convention on Human
reported in its newsletter that it views forfeiture
as being also in breach of Article 3 of the European
Convention on Human Rights, "Prohibition of torture", since it
constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment.
In 2004, a judge, in Liverpool County Court,
was reported in the press as having thrown out
a lender's demand of £384,000 (US$677,200)
it claimed had accrued from an original loan
of £5,750 (US$10,000) - on the grounds
that it "grossly contravenes principles of
Surely, current forfeiture law which allows
recovery of several thousand times the alleged
debt ought to more than qualify as "grossly
contravening principles of fair dealing"
but of course: not if you are a 'sacrosanct'
As I understand it, the threshold allowing the
landlord to regain possession of the flat from
a leaseholder is now £350 (US$620).
this is regarded as an 'improvement'
(and has taken endless hours of debate
in the House of Lords and various other quarters
- by people who then went back to... needless
to say, their 'secure' home).
The amount of taxpayer money spent
on drafting, debating, re-drafting, re-debating,
consulting, re-drafting, re-debating,
issuing, amending and re-issuing landlord-tenant
legislation must be astronomical.
Add to this the cost
of tribunals and the courts dealing
with landlord-tenant disputes.
(The cost to 'Steel Services' for filing a (false)
claim against me and 10 other leaseholders was £500 (US$880).
The true cost of the courts must be in the thousands
And all of that for the purpose of lining the pockets of a fraction of the British population. (My Diary 1 November 2003)
Back to list
(5) Meanwhile, changes that are implemented are
of further assistance to rogue landlords and
I refer to Section 20ZA of the Commonhold
and Leasehold Reform Act 2002
The following is copied from the LEASE website
(at July 2006)
"Section 151 of the Act replaces the original
provision, Section 20 of the Landlord and Tenant
Act 1985, and introduces a new Section 20ZA,
all with effect from 31st October 2003 (not
It is followed by this suggested letter (of
which I have only captured the main points) targeted
at landlords-their aides:
"Notice of intention to carry out work" "To
"It is the intention of (insert name of
landlord or manager) to enter into an agreement
to carry out works in respect of which we are
required to consult leaseholders."
"The works to be carried out under the agreement
are as follows: (insert a description of the
subject-matter of the agreement), or "A description
of the works..."
"Works to be carried out under the agreement
may be inspected at (insert place and hours
"We consider it necessary to carry out the
works because (insert statement of reasons)"
"We invite you to make written observations
in relation to the proposed works by sending
them to (address of landlord or manager)"
"Observations must be made within the consultation
period of 30 days from the date of this notice"
"We also invite you to propose, within 30
days from the date of this notice, the name
of a person from whom we should try to obtain
an estimate for the carrying out of the proposed
Considering my experience with Martin
Russell Jones, (as captured on its section
under points # 14 and # 26 - 35), I think you will
understand my reasons for saying that
further assistance to rogue landlords
and their aides".
Unlike previously (Section 20(3)(b) of the L&T
Act 1985), there is evidently no longer an obligation
to have the specification "displayed in
one or more places where it is likely to come
to the notice of all those tenants"
Martin Russell Jones states that I can request
a copy. Based on past experience, it would not
send the copy and, when asked, would say that
it got lost in the post (A 'trick' it also uses in other blocks e.g. as evidenced in this LVT case, LON/00AQ/LSC/2005/0258, 12 August 2006 (printscreen of website) (see also Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors )
By the time it 'might' actually send a copy,
it would not leave me any time to get another
quote. (Made even worse when the frequent
trick of sending the 'notice' just before Christmas
is used) (see e.g. Notices
by landlord - 13 December 2000 )
Hence, to get a copy, I need to go to Martin
Russell Jones' office. As the viewing time is
weekdays, during office hours, and Martin Russell
Jones is located outside of London, I would need
to take time off work to 'perhaps' get a chance
of getting the specification (which, in all likelihood,
given the specification drawn-up by Brian Gale for the major works would be unusable for
the purpose of getting a quote)
Meanwhile the '30-day clock' for reply would
have been ticking - with the ultimate effect
that I am unable to exert my statutory rights
Needless to say that since this new section
was introduced, Martin
Russell Jones and its client, Andrew Ladsky,
have had a field day, firing 'notices'
left, right and centre:
the knowledge that they are
on a guaranteed winning streak
with this new legislation.
Look at the number of days I would have had
to take off work (and therefore lose in earnings) 'just'
to go and get a copy of the above mentioned.
I can only describe this amendment to the legislation as:
"Just what the landlord ordered!"
As this was passed at the time that John Prescott was heading the department, I give this as additional supporting evidence to my claim that "Mr John Prescott is the landlord's right hand" or, more accurately: "the crooked landlord's right hand"
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(6) And implementation of amendments to Acts that
are of benefit to leaseholders - as opposed to
landlords - keep on being delayed by several
Recall that in its pre-"1997 election" policy
document, 'An End to Feudalism', 'New' Labour had stated:
"The case for reform is overwhelming ...reform
has been a long time coming. "
"..Labour believes that it is right that
leaseholders should enjoy proper safeguards
against arbitrary and oppressive conditions"
In relation to the amendment to Section
21(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, placing
landlord under an obligation to provide
the yearly summary of service charge to each
tenant, in a form to be prescribed, whether
requested or not. Where he fails to provide
the statement the tenant will have a statutory
right to withhold payment of service charges
up to certain limits"
Three years after the announcement of the Bill,
in July 2005 (when people are
on holiday), Mr Prescott's Office announced
that there would be a delay in putting this amendment
on the statute because of "concerns
raised by social landlords in a recent
In particular, that "the new measures
would impose considerable extra costs on social
landlords and their leaseholders" .
It goes on to state:
"We have carried out extensive consultation,
both formally and informally on the
implementation of the Act.
It is clear from our consultations and discussions
that the new requirements will cause significant
problems for Local Authorities and Registered
We have concluded that it would be impossible
for these landlords to comply with the new
requirements without significant changes to
their set up and procedures. It would create
unnecessary and additional burdens and costs
which would be passed on to the leaseholders.
The legislation applies to both public and
private sector landlords. However, we are unable
to commence the provisions in relation to private
sector landlords only" (NB: Of
(NB: By contrast, there is no concern about
the cost to e.g. charitable organisations having
to produce accounts)
In relation to "public sector landlords" ,
indications are that some social sector leaseholders
can also be faced by extortionate service charges
from their local council. See, for example, the
site of the London
Leaseholders' Network . See also My Diary - 26
Apr 06 ; 22 Nov 08.
Note at 10 August 2006 -
The LEASE website states that "ODPM has announced
that section 152 (requirement for annual
statements of account) will not be commenced,
pending further consultation which might
include new primary legislation. The Government
remains committed to the principle of the annual
statement. Commencement is not anticipated before
NB: Note, yet again, what is no doubt one of the spin doctors' sound bite': "The Government remains committed" (previous instance Lord Evans, 5 November 2005 - which in this case was "absolutely committed" Amasing that this was not preceded by: "Let me make this absolutely clear")
How about some honesty and instead write for the above statement on the LEASE website:
"The government remains 'absolutely' committed to the protection of landlords.
So, leaseholders: shut up and pay whatever landlords and their agents demand of you"
(We, leaseholders, get
used and abused not because we are
imbeciles, but because we are totally abandoned)
The upshot is that it amounts to another - drawn out - delaying
tactic in giving leaseholders control over where
and how their money is spent.
The second example is the amendment to Section
42 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987
Act inserts a new section requiring
the landlord to place service charge
monies in a designated account.The description
of account is to be specified by regulations
made by the Secretary of State.
be entitled on written request
to reasonable facilities for inspecting documents
relating to that account. Failure by the
landlord to comply with the accounting requirements
can lead to a right for tenants to withhold
payment of the service charge and the landlord
can be guilty of a criminal offence"
Sometime in 2005,
I captured the following from the LEASE website "It
is not yet clear when these provisions
will be commenced"
This is what it read at
10 August 2006: "Regulations
relating to the summary of leaseholders'
rights (section 153) and designated trust
accounts (section 156) may be laid by
the end of 2005" (NB:
Eight months have
gone by since)
This is yet again another drawn-out delay.
This time, in giving leaseholders the right to
know where their money is - and how it is spent.
Meanwhile, as I know from my own experience,
the current legislation in relation to trust
funds is, as with the rest of landlord-tenant
legislation, just a meaningless piece of paper
as there is no mechanism to implement it.
Indeed, when my several requests to Martin
Russell Jones and Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor for a copy of the trust fund accounts
were ignored, on 2
July 2004 , I asked Kensington & Chelsea
Housing for its assistance in obtaining a copy
of the accounts - given that councils are the "prosecuting
authority for contraventions of Landlord
- Tenant legislation"
This led to the reply "We don't deal with
As once captured by C.A.R.L. in
one of its newsletters, on becoming a landlord,
an individual - regardless of his track record
- is automatically granted the right to control
anything from several hundred thousand pounds
to several million pounds of lessees' money. (Some
landlords control several thousand properties).
Whereas a one person business offering financial
advice came automatically under the control
of the then Financial Services Authority (in Apr 13, it was reincarnated under the Financial Conduct Authority), a landlord
is not bound by any regulation whatsoever on
the management of the funds.
The delays in bringing these changes in legislation
on the statute book cannot be due to lack of
In fact, as reported by The
Independent , on 16 August 2006, in
an article headed " Blair's
'frenzied law making' : a new offence for
every day spent in office " ,
Blair's government has created
more than 3,000 new criminal offences during
its nine-year tenure, one for almost every
day it has been in power" .
August 2006 article by The Independent
also states: "The figures emerged as police
chiefs disclosed they were considering asking
ministers for a set of new measures to allow
them to impose "instant justice" for
antisocial behaviour" .
harassment, bullying, blackmail and
intimidation tactics used by crooked landlords
and their aides against leaseholders are
of no interest when reported to the police as, quite clearly, the police only listens to landlords (See Police )
(See also Evening Standard article of 3 December 2003 )
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(7) For many years the media has consistently highlighted
the feudal nature of the leasehold system, the
appalling abuses, including daylight robbery,
as well as the terrible misery it causes to leaseholders
Times , 19
November 2000 : "The government
admits abuse is widespread and unscrupulous
landlords regularly hit leaseholders with
Standard , 24 January 2001: "Abusive
landlords, legal tangles and a depreciating
asset mean the leasehold system needs throwing
Times , 4 November 2001: "There are
3 million leaseholds in Britain . they might
find themselves in the hand of a modern-day 'Rachman
landlord who uses the lease to extract money. threatening
tenants with repossession if they fail to pay. presenting
them with absurd service and maintenance bills. They
make leaseholders' lives a misery."
on Sunday , 10 March 2002: "Thousands
of leaseholders are currently embroiled in
legal action with their landlords over exorbitant
charges for services and unnecessary maintenance
work. While the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform
Bill should help prevent this problem arising
it won't eradicate it, as it contains no proposals
to abolish the antiquated and much-derided
leasehold system "
Guardian , 6
August 2005 : "..commonhold...government
trumpeted it as a replacement for Britain
's feudal leasehold system.But commonhold
Telegraph, 21 January 2006 , "It's
a feudal form of property ownership and new
laws do little to protect us. Everywhere leasehold
has us tied in chains"
And as pointed out by Mr
Barry Gardiner, MP during his 8 January 2002 speech to the House
"Since 1884 (NB:!!!) ,
when the first Leaseholders (Facilities of
Fee Simple) Bill was introduced and defeated,
hon. Members have sought justice for leaseholders
in this country.
In the 118 years that
have elapsed since then, they have introduced
31 different Bills dealing with leasehold reform. All
but two of those 31 Bills have been defeated and,
of those two, only one managed to achieve fundamental
reform that gave-and then only to a very limited
group of leaseholders-the full benefit of home
Such has been the power of property
and the landed classes in this country, and
such is the injustice that so many people
outside Parliament have hoped for years that
a Bill might overcome"
We are now in the 21st century and
nothing has been done to address the
As Mr Nigel Wilkins , Chair of C.A.R.L. accurately
pointed out, with leasehold property growing
at a rapid pace under Labour, the 'New' Labour
Party will be remembered as the party that promoted
the expansion of a policy that is a millennium
out of date.
Considering the overwhelming body of
evidence, fair minded, reasonable visitor
to the site, I think you will agree with my conclusion
that the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister WAS THE LANDLORDS' RIGHT HAND - as is its successor - and that you
will understand my choice of visual.
FOR BEING, AT THE TIME,
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LVTs AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
MR JOHN PRESCOTT HAS CAUSED ME TO DEVELOP
THIS OUTCOME IS OF HIS OWN
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