Charter Quay recovers over half a million pounds

The amount of money recovered by the Charter Quay residents has this week passed the amazing total of more than half a million pounds in cash. The bulk of this came from actions against companies owned by the Tchenguiz Family Trust.

In the latest (and last) case over £90,000 has been recovered from our landlord with the help of the court appointed managing agent HML Andertons.

The action, which has taken nearly a year, was to recover “rent for common areas”. In each of the years 2005 to 2009 our landlord had charged us for “renting” the reception area, gym and the management suite, although there is nothing our lease allowing them to do this. The sum involved was more than £90,000.

The Managing Director for the landlord’s managing agent, Michael Gaston, of Estate and Management Ltd, also owned by the Tchenguiz Family Trust, admitted as long ago as November 2010 that they had no right to collect this money.

Estates and Management Ltd have settled just before HML Andertons submitted an application for summary judgment. The landlord has also accepted he has no right to collect these "rents" in future, which will now save each flat a further £70 every year from now on.

The residents have fought four actions against the landlords in a protracted four year fight.

The first action in 2008/9 was to remove the Tchenguiz owned managing agent as a result of their failings, and the subsequent cases involved the recovery of excessive service charges, which had previously been charged by the landlords managing agent.

Since the court appointed HML Andertons took over the site in 2009 the service charges have decreased by 25-30 per cent. At the same time the standard of service has increased.

News of the successful LVT actions appears to have made Charter Quay an even more attractive place to live, according to estate agents.

For the first time ever there were no flats to rent at Charter Quay a few months ago and at one stage we were down to just one flat for sale. Not bad for a site with 244 properties.

In a damning LVT ruling last year, the Tchenguiz group was criticised for the “quasi biblical” complexity of its company structures; that their companies had entered into onerous and unfair contracts with other companies in the same group; that they did not test the market; and that they took unreasonable insurance commissions. The Tribunal even went so far as to categorise one of the submissions by the landlords counsel as “tendentious”

Ironically, the latest payout for the residents at Charter Quay as a consequence of the landlords overcharging comes in the same week the Tchenguiz brothers are seeking a judicial review into their arrest in March last year by the SFO. Read more about how badly the SFO has approached, what Lord Justice Thomas today described as, their "rather simple" case   HERE.

24 May 2012