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Leathermarket Court

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Tuesday 27 January 2015 10.54pm
I have lived here for 18 years and have never felt so despondent about the way it is being (mis)managed. The managing agent, Gross Fine / RMG has always been a nightmare to deal with but there has more recently been unpleasantness and upheaval when the longstanding chairman of the residents management company resigned in frustration at the way things were going.

This was largely because the absentee landlords have finally elbowed aside those of us, including the former chairman, who actually see this place as a *home* rather than an investment. It was always extremely difficult and frustrating trying to get *any* sense of community among the 107 flats here when most of them were rented out to a very transient population, often students at the nearby Kings College.

But now it seems that the absentee landlords, the ones who see it as a glorified moneybox, are firmly at the helm: apparently, *none* of the Directors actually lives here ! One even lives in Australia, another is "on sabbatical" somewhere and a third owns a flat in my block whose student tenants have managed to ruin my new year and one of whose party guests almost certainly stole my little boy's scooter.

There's much more I could add, and maybe will. But for now I just wanted to alert anyone who lives here and gives a damn to attend the (postponed !) AGM this Thursday at 6.30pm, upstairs in the Leather Exchange pub. Cheers.
Wednesday 28 January 2015 8.40am
Perhaps move to change your constitution to the effect a percentage of committee must be residents not absentees.
Wednesday 28 January 2015 9.36am
And perhaps look into "right to manage" - I don't anything about it unfortunately, but if there's enough support among residents then it may be something you can do.
Wednesday 28 January 2015 11.01am

Your 'story' is so familiar. In our block of 40 flats we started out 12 years ago with 5 directors of the residents management co., and some managing agents, (who we changed to an outfit providing an ok service, but I'm not convinced are value for money).

We now have just 2 directors, but only one still lives in the building. I estimate about 75% of the flats are now rented out, and it appears the absentee lease holders neither know nor care about the day to day running of the building, and generally their tenants are only concerned if something is wrong inside their flat. The remaining resident owners are apathetic and uninterested in actively helping to run the place, rarely bothering to turn up to an AGM. Yet some are all too ready to complain!

Being a director of a resident's company seems to be, quite literally, a thankless, dispiriting task and can involve a lot of (unpaid) admin time. No wonder so few want to do it. Meanwhile, it's a goldmine for some managing agents who, unchallenged, can get away with providing a minimal level of service.
Saturday 31 January 2015 11.10am
Thanks for your comments guys. Well, we had the agm and it was even worse than I feared. I've set up a Facebook Page called "Leathermarket Court Nesters" if anyone is interested in following up on this subject, especially if you live at LMC. Thanks.
Saturday 31 January 2015 7.41pm
Ps. Turns out one of our directors, who played a large part in the previous chairperson's decision to resign, is an MP called Bob Blizzard. He briefly came to national prominence during the MPs expenses scandal when he made a claim of 39p for a single paper clip. Nice.

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