Record £1m payout in Valuation Tribunal ruling

Record £1m payout in Valuation Tribunal ruling


Peverel, the troubled property management firm once owned by tycoons Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz has failed to prevent a record near £1 million settlement before a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) ruling earlier this month.

This, the largest ever payout in an LVT action, was made to leaseholders at St George Wharf in Vauxhall, opposite Westminster. The near £1 million settlement exceeds the previous record LVT ruling of £730,000 in September last year to tenants at the Weekly Cross scheme in Nottingham, which was also managed by Peverel.

The St George Wharf is a riverside mixed-use development which, along with offices and restaurants, comprises over 1,100 apartments and has been home to former Prime Minister John Major, Chelsea Clinton and Lee Ryan from boy band Blue.

Some of the top price penthouses in the complex can sell for £7 million and annual service charges start at £5,000. A residential skyscraper, the St George Wharf Tower, is currently under construction at the development and, when built, will be the tallest residential building in the country - a staggering 49 storeys and 181 metres tall.

The residents have reportedly been fighting Peverel for four years for excessive management charges that stretch back over a decade, including employing its own subsidiaries to provide CCTV and insurance services.  

The leaseholders' claims included £716,000 for excessive management fees, £472,000 for over payments for door-entry systems and CCTV - the former provided by St George and the latter provided by Peverel's own Cirrus Communications - and £263,000 for excessive insurance costs, provided by Peverel's company Kingsborough, for which St George trousered £65,000 in commission, it was claimed. 

Although St George, or the Berkeley Group, whose founder is the legendary property figure Tony Pidgley, will be writing the cheques to refund the residents, it is understood that it will be expecting Peverel to pay for its part in the case.  

“Problems at St George Wharf have caused us considerable reputational damage,” Rob Perrins, CEO of the Berkeley Group told the Mail Online. “This should not have happened and the residents should not have had to fight this for four years. We should have admitted this earlier and publicly, and we owe the residents an apology.” 

Peverel still manages 22 developments for the Berkeley Group, and is one of 12 managing agents the company uses. There are no plans to employ Peverel on any Berkeley schemes nearing completion.

Peverel has been in administration since March when the Tchenguiz brothers were arrested by the Serious Fraud Squad. The company is seeking a buyer and is being administered on behalf of the Bank of America.

Vincent Tchenguiz yesterday settled his long-running legal dispute with Icelandic bank Kaupthing, clearing the way for a £2 billion refinancing of his property empire. Since the bank collapsed in 2008 Tchenguiz's assets have effectively been frozen.

The settlement could also hasten the resolution of Tchenguiz's judicial review of the Serious Fraud Office over his arrest and the raids on his offices and home in March of this year. Shortly after his arrest, Tchenguiz's residential property-management business Peverel and a number of associated companies were put into administration after Bank of America called in a £124 million loan and demanded an £11 million interest payment.

Alongside the 250,000 residential property ground rents - the largest portfolio in the UK - Tchenguiz owns ten Hilton hotels and has a joint property venture with Tesco. He is said to have lined up a number of banks to take part in the refinancing, which could be announced in a matter of weeks.

Leave a comment