A very specific question for anybody that has bought a flat in the Cooperage or any of the Tower Bridge Piazza buildings recently (the complex behind Starbucks in Shad Thames). We're trying to complete on a sale and have come up against a problem that the management agent listed on the lease (Eagle Wharf Management) have liquidated and no longer exist, making all clauses in the lease relating to them, worthless. We're having trouble persuading our mortgage company to accept the lease and are thinking there must be many people who have over come this problem since all flats have the same lease - so if you have...can you give us any advice! Thanks and sorry for the boring post! Sophie
I live in one of the Tower Bridge Piazza buildings and had the same issue - whilst our mortgage company didn't seem bothered (perhaps because we are some way below a 100% mortgage) - our solicitor said that she would not let us exchange until something was put in place to protect us against this defect within the lease documentation.
What you can get - which should ease the concerns of your mortgage company - is indemnity insurance for the specific defects in the lease. We persuaded the vendors to buy this insurance (which cost a few hundred pounds). You should ask your solicitor to look into it. Such policies are quite common and most insurance companies will take on such risks - our policy was through Norwich Union I believe. We also had specific indemnity insurance on a particular risk for the property we sold when moving to Tower Bridge.
Our mortgage lender is the Halifax. I will dig out the paper work this evening to confirm but as far as I recall they didn't seem too bothered, in fact I'm fairly sure I had the mortgage offer before the whole issue of the lease details had come to light.
I'm a resident of Eagle Wharf on Tower Bridge Piazza. The managing agents are Ashley Management. They've been very quiet lately. I usually wait for their 1st reminder before paying their bills as a muted protest against the huge increases since they took over from Cluttons. A 1st reminder is long overdue. Anyone know anything ?
I am also a resident of Eagle Wharf (Hello markadams99!).
I'm not quite sure the difference between all the different parties involved in these developments, but my understanding was the original developers for the Tower Bridge Piazza buildings went bust, as did the company that took over from them, and the third company were able to necotiate some fairly beneficial terms due to the situation the 2nd party found themselves in.
It wasn't any of Cluttons, Eagle Wharf Management, or Ashley Management Ltd that was mentioned as the name of the current owners though.
Presumably there is a distinction between the managing agent going bust (not really a problem as they can just get another managing agent) and the actual company that is the leasor of the leaseholds going bust; it's presumably the later which is the concern.
Either way, I don't think I have heard the name Eagle Wharf Management being mentioned before - although I have some original leases from when I bought the flat somewhere I could probably dig out.
I thought that if a freeholder sells his freehold, leaseholders have to be notified and be given a chance to purchase it. Presumably this would still hold if a sale was due to liquidation.
The freeholder can appoint anyone he wants as managing agent, though there are rules about what can be charged, when consultation on major works is needed, and what might be considered unreasonable. Given the freeholder chooses it is no surprise that few leaseholders seem happy with their managing agent.
I'm in Knot House and the company operating as managing agent (though not specified as such in the original lease which I think was the starting point of this thread) is Ashley Management (whose on-site office is at 7 Copper Row). When we bought in 2004 our solicitor unearthed the issue re the lease but it was due to the original managing agent being liquidated and the fact that they were the ones named with the responsibilities for upkeep etc in the lease.
Tower Bridge Piazza Ltd is not liquiduated/insolvent and is still the freeholder (certainly of our block). You can see its latest accounts at the Companies House website.
As to the Ashley Management service charge this has been going up quite steeply and I recently paid mine for the period through to March 2006...how about we start to put together a residents committee as I'm not sure there's any co-ordinated challenge to Ashley Management currently? For example - aside from the issue of size of service charge - I also feel strongly as someone who tries to recycle as much as possible that we should have some form of provision available rather than having to trog down to the Tooley St facility which is always full.
One of the Cooperage leaseholders set up a residents association several years back, during the last bout of "service charge inflation". At the time, the internal courtyard's flagstones had to be completely replaced at a cost of well over £1000 per resident, so many leaseholders started to withold their service charge payments from Ashley Associates. I'm not sure if the Cooperage Resident's Association is still active. Anyone any further details?