FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

9:42 AM, 23rd August 2021, About a month ago 76

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A friend has just forwarded me a copy of a recent service charge case where the First Tier Tribunal makes 5x references to the Appointed Manager subverting the management order and another 5x references to the Appointed Manager breaching his fiduciary duties. The report concludes that the Appointed Manager did this for his own financial gain.

I have highlighted in yellow the most relevant portions of the 35-page report: Click here to view the report. Some examples given in the report are:

1. Charging £93,000 for major works that should have cost no more than £25,000.
2. Entering into a ‘management agreement’ with his own daughter’s block management company – where he is the sole shareholder.
3. Granting major work contracts to companies that the Appointed Manager had an undeclared financial interest in – and denying the connections when explicitly questioned on the matter.
4. Transferring service charge and reserve fund monies into his own ‘non-trading’ company bank account – and denying any connection with the company when explicitly questioned on the matter.
5. Using leaseholders’ reserve fund contributions to offset the service charge arrears of the freeholder.

Although this Appointed Manager’s management order is at an end at this particular building, my friend informs me that the Appointed Manager is the First Tier Tribunal Appointed Manager at another 7 buildings; manages c.150 buildings through his daughter’s block management company – where he is the sole shareholder and continues to operate without a care in the world.

Is it me, or is there something wrong with this picture?

Paul



Comments

by BernieWales

11:44 AM, 25th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Gulliver at 25/08/2021 - 11:32
Changes are required - and they are being progressed. But the legal system takes time to change - and individual Tribunal members even longer.

Aside from this but helpful is the upcoming RoPA ... Regulation of Property Agents ... where all property people will have to be licenced individually for their specialism AND the firm they work for will be licenced too. This should weed out the bad boys, eventually.

A specific RoPA category for FTT appointed Managers has been suggested.

by Vivienne Somerville

16:57 PM, 25th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by BernieWales at 25/08/2021 - 11:44I do not think that RoPA is the answer as it will have even less authority than the FTT. The notes from the working group state that RoPA disputes will be settled by the FTT. According to this decision report, Richard Davidoff already has zero respect for the FTT and its management orders.
By his conduct in this and many other cases, Richard Davidoff is already thumbing his nose up at the existing gate-keepers e.g. the FTT, the PRS, ARLA and ARMA. What is really needed is for all of these organisations to do what they are already remitted to do and do it with alacrity and consistency. If we are sending wish-list items to the FTT President, I would wish for alacrity and consistency in the FTT’s approach to cases.
For example, in 2015 a certain freeholder was given a 12 month prison sentence for failing to comply with the order of the FTT to hand over documents to an FTT Appointed Manager.
If the FTT saw to it that that freeholder received a prison sentence for disobeying an FTT order why is the FTT allowing Richard Davidoff to get away with a simple slap on the wrist which permits him to continue financially abusing leaseholders and freeholders at other buildings that he manages?

http://www.flat-living.co.uk/advice/1286-dont-ignore-the-ftt-you-could-end-up-behind-bars

by BernieWales

17:07 PM, 25th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Vivienne Somerville at 25/08/2021 - 16:57
I cannot disagree with your final sentence Vivienne. Richard Davidoff should indeed be stopped.

by Shreena Shah

15:50 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

@Vivienne. I agree that the existing gatekeepers lack teeth and people like Richard Davidoff are all too easily able to circumvent the law and these gatekeepers.

I have also had a terrible experience with Richard Davidoff and Aldermartin Limited (the company name under which Richard Davidoff handles commercial and residential lettings).

Within 3 months of each other, two of my rental properties were found to be cannabis farms. Richard Davidoff’s company, Aldermartin Limited was the letting agent for both properties. Whereas we normally manage all tenancies ourselves, Aldermartin Limited specifically told us that the tenants of these 2 properties did not want the tenancies to be managed by the Landlord – they wanted the agent to manage the tenancies. Aldermartin Limited wrote to inform us that they would not charge a management fee to us but would collect the rent and communicate directly with the tenants on our behalf.

Aldermartin Limited did not obtain proper tenant reference checks (no passport IDs, payslips or bank statements), took all rent payments in cash only without even bank account on file and did not register any deposits into the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (or any other deposit scheme for that matter) despite telling us in writing that they had. We found this all out after the properties were destroyed, whilst trying to lodge an insurance claim. According to our surveyor, the cost to repair the damage to the two properties will be approx. £125,000. Total damages including loss of rent currently exceeds £150,000.

From the wealth of evidence that I have gathered, it is my opinion that Aldermartin Limited have behaved in a way that is far more sinister than breach of contract and negligence.

Here is the review that I wrote about the whole sorry episode.

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.abcestates.co.uk

by Sarah

16:42 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by BernieWales at 23/08/2021 - 17:48
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nBoBbvpsrDVTN-9sDdScWu60C5nHNMuE/view?usp=drivesdk

There are many other cases against this managing agent . Here is another FTT against other abuses… it’s very disappointing this isn’t being investigated properly

by Vivienne Somerville

20:32 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Shreena Shah at 26/08/2021 - 15:50

So sorry to hear about your plight. It sounds as though you have evidence that the agent did not do what it was supposed to do in placing and managing the tenancy e.g. you appear to have evidence of breach of contract. It should therefore be possible to make a claim against Aldermartin Limited's professional indemnity insurance policy - assuming that there was a policy in place.
Did you have any direct dealings with Richard Davidoff over the issues or does he leave the lettings business to other members of his staff?

by Vivienne Somerville

20:41 PM, 26th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Sarah at 26/08/2021 - 16:42

Wow. Another epic read. Thanks for highlighting relevant sections in the report.
I presume this is another of the 150 buildings that Richard Davidoff manages through his daughter’s block management company?
Another report in which the FTT questions Richard Davidoff’s arrangements with contractors, such as Sinclair Builders and Hammer & Chisel Limited – which ABC appears to have paid 100% of the major works contract costs to before they even commenced work! Interestingly enough, the Tribunal found that ABC had ignored the quotes from the leaseholders’ nominated contractors – whose quotes were a fraction of the price. It was also interesting that the Tribunal found that many of the contractors that ABC had taken tenders from were actually insolvent!
It is impressive how determined the Tribunal was about uncovering the truth and concluding that ABC had not served the major works notices on the leaseholders, contrary to the signed witness statements of 4 ABC staff members – including the Head of Block Management. As for the comments the Tribunal made about Mark Reed (Head of Block Management) well let us just say that they are (justifiably) less than flattering.
Are you connected with this property in some way? How did you come by the report?

by Vivienne Somerville

7:54 AM, 27th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by BernieWales at 25/08/2021 - 17:07

Agreed that Richard Davidoff should be stopped.

As an Appointed Manager, Richard Davidoff is an employee of the FTT. In circumstances such as these where the FTT concludes that Richard Davidoff has subverted the terms of his employment (e.g. the management order) and also breached his fiduciary duties for his own financial gain, shouldn't the FTT be viewing this as gross misconduct - for which the sanction should be dismissal?

by BernieWales

9:17 AM, 27th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Vivienne Somerville at 27/08/2021 - 07:54
A Tribunal appointed Manager IS NOT an employee of the Tribunal.

But I agree, there should be a harsh punishment available for the FTT to hand out. Unfortunately, there isn't ... at present.

by Shreena Shah

13:19 PM, 27th August 2021, About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Vivienne Somerville at 26/08/2021 - 20:41Hi Vivienne. Thanks for your message and support. It may interest you to know that the "Employer reference" in my case for one of the tenants is none other than Valens Contractors Limited - the same company that appears in the FTT Tribunal judgement on this forum. The judgement says that this company links to Richard Davidoff's Head of Block Management, Mark Reed. It was used in that case to overinflate costs of repairs to leaseholders. Several of the 'references' provided to me for the tenants link back to the managing agent. This (among much more evidence I have uncovered but won't post here) is why I say that this likely goes beyond breach of contract.
Richard Davidoff has refused to inform his professional indemnity insurer, and told me that pursuing legal action will ‘cost you a fortune, take forever and you will end up with nothing at all to show for it”
Richard Davidoff also stated: “We don't have to advise our PI insurance of the claim, and nor do we have to give you their details. We would only do so if we thought that (a) you would take us to court and (b) you would win. - I don't believe either as we both know you don't have a case. “
ARLA has told me that Aldermartin Limited has the requisite professional indemnity for their membership and they have it on file. BUT they cannot give me those details for reasons of confidentiality. What is the point of these bodies if not to protect the consumer?!
My direct dealings with Richard Davidoff began in January 2021, when I began to suspect the same modus operandi had occurred with my second property. Prior to then, my dealings were just with a lettings agent of ABC. He has not replied directly to me since March 2021. He has never replied openly to my solicitors' letters. He has also since resigned on Companies House at Aldermartin Ltd, but continues to work there.


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