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Total Number of Property118 Comments: 21


21:56 PM, 13th September 2021, About A week ago

FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

Reply to the comment left by Gulliver at 13/09/2021 - 21:23Responding to the 2nd half of @BernieWales' article, I would say:
It is true that it is leaseholders that have to nominate an individual to be an Appointed Manager and then it is up to the FTT to approve the individual as Appointed Manager. I accept that this could be a flaw in the system – not because leaseholders are ‘clueless’ as you imply, @BernieWales, but simply because there isn’t enough joined up thinking or sharing of data that would enable leaseholders to know whether the individual they intend to nominate is a crook or not.
In the Blackheath Road FTT case the leaseholders appear to have taken all the precautions that they could have taken. In nominating Richard Davidoff, the leaseholders selected an IRPM member that had prior engagements as a Tribunal appointed manager. Richard Davidoff's company (ABC Block Management Limited) was both a PRS and ARMA member that managed c. 150 buildings and (on the face of it, at least) the company had plenty of 5 star Google reviews and a PR budget large enough to pay for an LBC radio and TV campaign.
Speaking of which, who is going to break the news to poor Larry? Watch the ABC Estates block management TV advert below: Read More


21:23 PM, 13th September 2021, About A week ago

FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

Reply to the comment left by BernieWales at 10/09/2021 - 13:41
Sincere apologies @BernieWales – I have only just realised that my cut and paste of your article was truncated and the 2nd half of the article you posted on your own website is missing from this forum. For the benefit of contributors to this forum, here is the 2nd half of @BernieWales’ article:

Furthermore, with Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) on the near horizon – there should be a specific specialism of FTT appointed Manager … pre-vetted by HMCTS and ARMA/IRPM … from whom Tribunals can choose potential managers. This would assist professionalism in this arena and minimise a clueless leaseholder nominating a potential crook or rogue … nominating to a Tribunal panel who will take insufficient time and trouble to fully scrutinise the professional credentials and history of the nominated individual.

But of course, life would be better if Tribunals did have a sufficiently wide remit to fully scrutinise – or have a pool of pre-vetted professionals to choose from. Thus I have suggested to Siobhan McGrath, President of the FTT, the following shopping list:
1. Tribunal members need educating about property management. They are experts at law – and include an expert valuer where required – but rarely do I see expert property management knowledge sitting in judgement. Perhaps ARMA+IRPM could liaise with HMCTS on that?
2. Potential managers should be ‘pre-vetted’ for expertise, perhaps via ARMA+IRPM, so that only competent managers are proposed and then appointed. Some sort of publicly accessible list should be available, from which leaseholders can choose who to ask (although it would be better if leaseholders did not initiate the selection process).
3. Whilst there may be a Management Order ‘template’ covering the legal side of things, which the Tribunal can ‘tweak’ as required – I think it is vital that the prospective manager prepares the property management side of things – and that should be discussed between Manager and Tribunal until an agreement is reached. No manager should have an Order thrust upon him – and he/she should not accept such an appointment.
4. Following on from the above, there should be a mandatory financial and practical report and vetting process, regularly throughout the appointment. Appointed managers should provide a reasonably detailed six monthly or annual report to the Tribunal – and should be held to account, by the Tribunal, where the management “issues” are not being progressed in accordance with the Management Order expectations.

But am I a madman? Are my views out of step with ARMA members, IRPM members and Tribunal appointed Managers … 99.99999% of whom are hard-working, professional, highly trained, and working to improve the lives of leaseholders and residents in blocks of flats?

To find out whether my view was isolated and at odds with fellow property managers, I emailed some of them. I’m pleased to report I’m not mad (or the people I contacted are equally mad). On the whole, they support the changes I’ve outlined above.

But “you would say that, wouldn’t you Bernie” … I hear you say.

Well, dear cynical reader … I’ve publicised this article LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and appropriate property manager hangouts … with a request that property managers add their comments below. Hopefully, they will … and hopefully, you’ll see those at the coal face of these issues, commenting in support or disagreement.... Read More


9:57 AM, 12th September 2021, About A week ago

FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

Reply to the comment left by BernieWales at 10/09/2021 - 13:41
The FTT has powers to attach weighty penal notices to management orders and has done so before in circumstances where the terms of a management order have been or are in very real danger of being subverted. The following cases are examples where the FTT has attached penal notices to management orders. The penal notices in these examples are against a group of leaseholders and a freeholder though. I can find no example of the FTT ever having attached a penal notice against a Tribunal Appointed Manager.

See para 51

See para 1

In the latter example, the penal notice reads:


Why has the FTT never attached a similarly worded penal notice against Richard Davidoff?... Read More


20:24 PM, 10th September 2021, About 2 weeks ago

FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

Reply to the comment left by Gulliver at 10/09/2021 - 20:06To the list of third party agencies above in @BernieWales' article e.g. ARMA, IRPM and the FTT, we must also add the PRS. The PRS states that in terms of block management, they can only act prior to court or tribunal action being taken and they can only act against matters of poor service or rudeness on the part of the managing agent. The PRS states that once a court or tribunal judgment has been obtained, they can have no further involvement. This is grossly unhelpful since the managing agent's use of the PRS, IRPM and ARMA logo gives said managing agent some semblance of respectability. We must remember the fact that Richard Davidoff presently has another c. 5 FTT Appointed Manager positions and manages c. 150 buildings - where (quite probably) similar conduct is taking place.
The bottom line is that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. The FTT, IRPM, ARMA and the PRS would do well to remember that.
I commenced this discussion with the words 'Now what'? in the title as a means of signalling that something further needs to be done about Richard Davidoff by someone, anyone, everyone. Richard Davidoff cannot simply be let off the hook with a damning decision report ........ Read More


20:06 PM, 10th September 2021, About 2 weeks ago

FTT Appointed Manager in Doghouse. Now what?

Reply to the comment left by BernieWales at 10/09/2021 - 13:41
I thought it might be useful to cite the full text of your article here so that the non property professionals among us can continue the debate in this forum. I certainly have a few contributions to make myself. Below therefore is the full text of the article that you have posted on your own website:

Managing Agents Are Crooks
On 12th August 2021, the First-tier Tribunal issued a decision, following complaints about an appointed Manager. That decision sparked much debate on the property forums and blogs. And that debate soon turned to “This crook is a managing agent. Managing agents are crooks. ARMA, IRPM, and the FTT do nothing about it – they are therefore complicit.” The tone of that debate made me upset, angry, frustrated and disappointed … hence this article.

The FTT decision centred around the less than professional activities of Richard Davidoff, a Tribunal appointed Manager. You can find the full decision here. It’s an interesting read and I encourage you to take the time to read it – and learn from the mistakes of those involved.

Richard Davidoff appointed a managing agent; ABC Estates … full name; Aldermartin Baines & Cuthbert … a firm in which he has a controlling interest. He did that at a management fee higher than that permitted by the FTT Management Order. Unprofessional behaviour.

Service charge demands for extortionate sums were issued to leaseholders, based upon estimates for major works – inflated estimates, from companies where Richard Davidoff had a controlling interest – or members of his family had a controlling interest. Unprofessional behaviour.

The leaseholders applied to the FTT because they did not believe the charges were “reasonable” nor did they believe all the works were needed. In short, the FTT agreed and ordered Richard Davidoff to pay back £20,811 … and some costs. Unprofessional behaviour confirmed.

The case was reported on the Nearly Legal blog
It also appeared on the Property118 website
Oddly, it did not appear on Property Tribes

If you check those links, you’ll see that I commented. Regrettably, the conversation soon transferred
• from ‘Richard Davidoff is a crook’
• to ‘something should be done’
• to ‘the FTT are toothless’
• and ‘ARMA/IRPM will do nothing’.

Worse than that, the tone turned (as it so often does)
• from ‘This person is a crook’
• to ‘this crook is a managing agent’
• to ‘Managing Agents are Crooks’.

The profession that I have spent my life enhancing was having mud thrown at it – and that mud was sticking. That made me upset and angry.
So I did a little digging.

According to ABC’s website brochure, (downloaded locally to here) ABC Estates is a member of ARMA and Richard Davidoff is a member of IRPM. The logos of both professional bodies are displayed in the brochure … although it’s interesting to note that the address for ARMA is considerably out of date.
I therefore emailed the top guns; Nigel Glen at ARMA and Andrew Bulmer at IRPM, to make them aware and to request that they take action. Both said they were aware. The action they could take was limited, in my opinion.

I also emailed Siobhan McGrath on the subject of Tribunal appointments – continuing a long-running e-discussion about this subject and improvements which could/should be made. Her work to bring about change within HMCTS is ongoing and, in my opinion, is akin to swimming through treacle because the legal profession is slow to accept change, apparently.

Anyway, back to potential complaints.
The IRPM Complaints Procedure (see here) allows
2. Complaints may be made against a Member by:
2.1 The Institute;
2.2 Another Member;
2.3 A member of the public.
So far as IRPM are concerned, Andrew Bulmer has advised me that “the matter has been brought to our attention. And I will confirm to you that it is receiving attention, though I am not able to confirm the nature of the complaint, who made it or who is the subject of the complaint. You will appreciate that complaints are confidential until found.” Fair enough, I appreciate the need for confidentiality (innocent until proven guilty and all that) but that does nothing to stop the current mud-slinging by those who think ‘managing agents are crooks’. No comment in the public domain is unhelpful, in my opinion.

Andrew Bulmer has further advised me that “You will see from our complaints procedure that there are timelines for handling complaints. This is to allow cases to be properly prepared and for those subject to complaints to be given time to respond. That is the process for every court and Tribunal in the land and is an essential prerequisite of any system of justice.” Yes, but no comment in the public domain is frustrating for those IRPM members who want to see action being taken to uphold the good reputation of managing agents.

Moving on to ARMA … I recently referred a different case and requested guidance, where occupational leaseholders had discovered an ARMA managing agent whose Court appointed Manager client had died in 2015, but they continue to manage. Here are my questions and the replies I got:
Can I make a formal complaint to ARMA on behalf of the occupational lessees, my clients?

> “No. ARMA has no mechanism for a member to make a complaint on behalf of their client.”

Can the occupational lessees make a formal complaint to ARMA?

> “No. ARMA has no mechanism for lessees to make a complaint about an ARMA member.”

Or is there a better route you’d like taken?

> “This would be one for the client to seek legal advice. We could direct them to the legal helpline in the first instance.”

I found this frustrating. As a leasehold professional advising occupational leaseholders, I cannot make a complaint about documented wrong-doing by an ARMA member. Nor can the leaseholders who are directly involved. The only person who can make the complaint to ARMA is the client … and he’s dead! Something has got to be wrong with that situation, surely?

And relating those answers to the Richard Davidoff case – the client is arguably the First-tier Tribunal, but lodging a complaint with ARMA is not within their remit, so they’re not in a position to do so. There appears to be no way for a complaint to be raised in this scenario. Frustrating again.

This is situation crazy. You can see why the #leaseholdscandal brigade has the view that ARMA and IRPM are there to protect their members, not to maintain high professional standards. The view is wrong – but I can understand how that view can be formed.

The system needs change, in my opinion. I have suggested to Nigel and Andrew the following:
• The ARMA complaints procedure should allow anyone to complain, provided they submit sufficient documentary evidence of ‘wrong-doing’.
• The IRPM complaints procedure should allow anyone to complain, provided they submit sufficient documentary evidence of ‘wrong-doing’. (NB. I think it does already, but check the link above if uncertain.)
• ARMA and IRPM should be seen to be proactive – not silently reactive and slow – in investigation of ‘wrong-doing’ publicised in the public domain; such as the Richard Davidoff case.

Where managing agents and/or property managers are being portrayed as villains (one bad apple means all apples are bad) ARMA and IRPM should be seen to take swift, proactive, positive investigation – and the results of those investigations should be publicly available (generally publicly available) perhaps in a similar way to published Tribunal decisions.... Read More