Tag Archives: Property Services

RUNNING ON EMPTY?

Why’s there a rolling item on the council’s Resources Scrutiny Commission agenda action sheet that never gets resolved? It’s a request from the committee for the “revised business case for Park View” and it’s been OUTSTANDING now for months.

Park View is, of course, the council’s large suite of offices at Hengrove that’s surplus to requirements since the council decided to base all their operations at the Counts Louse and the Temple of Doom TWO YEARS AGO to save money. Staff who have recently visited the Park View, offices, capable of holding thousands, tell us, “the place is DESERTED. There’s barely 100 people working there.”

What’s going on then? Perhaps it’s time the property boss directly responsible, our old friend Robert “Spunkface” Orrett, explained what he’s doing and why we’re forking out for an empty office block?

Come on Spunkface show us yer Park View business case! (And feel free to include a resignation letter with it).

LEGAL VICTORY FOR GUARDIAN-TENANTS AGAINST SCAMALOT

The BRISTOLIAN is pleased to announce that Property Guardian Company CAMELOT, who, last month, were roundly defeated in Bristol County Court by Judge Ambrose and forced to recognise guardian Greg Roynon as a tenant, have also CAPITUALTED in their second ‘licensee or tenant’ court case, accepting by implication that he is a tenant, paying costs and a £1000 in compensation as well.

Happy days reign for the fearless ex-serfs at the captured castle of BROOMHILL EPH. And the rebellion is spreading, so at Speedwell Fire Station more ex-serfs are REFUSING to pay rent until repairs are carried out, while in Wandsworth, London, another Camelot property has been CAPTURED by its guardian-tenants. Watch this space for more hacking and slaying of the Scamalot beast.

The BRISTOLIAN demands that in light of the judgement above, Bristol City Council TERMINATES its contract with CAMELOT forthwith, and recognises all existing guardians as being interim TENANTS on its property. And as regards the Camelot/Meridian sub-let at Brentry (see below), it is also OBLIGED to similarly PROTECT all Meridian employees – who are only in this situation thanks to the scandalous, immoral behaviour of all parties concerned.

*We’ve learned today that Camelot will not be appealing the judgement against  them and that one half of the scam, Camelot Property Management Ltd, have gone bankrupt! They filed for insolvency on Monday: https://m.thegazette.co.uk/notice/2744127

WHINY TWAT SEEKS PRIVATE SECTOR MOVE?

Whiny twat: working seven days a week to fuck up our city

Whiny council twat, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi, jerking himself off under the title ‘Strategic Director of Place’ and struggling by on about £130k a year for hacking our public services apart was forced by the Rev Rees in November to attend a public meeting in Henbury about the cuts.

Many who attended openly EXPRESSED THEIR FRUSTRATION at clowns like Mac Nugget filling their boots at our expense while cocking up everything in sight.

Mac Nugget replied, “I’m an exec  leader with SIGNIFICANT SALARY who moved from Sheffield to serve the city – seven days per week – genuinely doing my best. I work with £100million contracts, miles of roads, planning, 38 refurbished schools. It’s a significant job with over 1,000 staff. We need qualified people to deliver this kind of work.

“I chose to work in public but could work in the PRIVATE SECTOR. We have trouble recruiting as the private sector take our staff. We don’t just work 37 hours per week but put in as much time for the city as we can.”

Mac Nugget was noticeably light on detail about any of his ACHIEVEMENTS. So here’s some of the things he’s been working seven days a week to achieve:

An arena over two years behind schedule, 20 per cent plus over budget that doesn’t have anyone to build it; a Metrobus bus scheme that nobody wants with no one to run it that’s also over budget; unnecessary concreting over of bluefinger land and allotments at Stapleton for the Metrobus; destruction of hundreds of trees for the Metrobus scheme; endless traffic congestion that continues to get worse; collapsing city docks infrastructure that has culminated in the ongoing closure of Princes Street Bridge; cancellation without notice of vital bus services like the number 51 last year; occupation of council properties by guardian companies that don’t comply with his own council’s licencing and health and safety rules or the law; the proposal to build a five metre wide road through Victoria Park; an inexplicable £9m deficit in his Property Services Department run up between March and June last year; an ongoing failure to deliver smart ticketing on public transport.

Then there’s the risk of failure to the major infrastructure projects he’s managing. Such a failure is currently listed as ‘LIKELY‘ by Bristol City Council

Please private sector take this useless twat. He’s all yours

PROPERTY-MANAGEMENT COMPANIES, MY ARSE! SLUM LANDLORDS MORE LIKE …

You’re in the boozer and someone you don’t know proposes a business idea to you.

“Hey mate, a dicky bird told me you got an empty garage. You know it could be broken into by squatters or vandals and you wouldn’t want that, would you? I’ll tell you what, my security company can protect your property. Pay me a fee for protection and I’ll fill your garage with people who need somewhere to live. I’ll call them ‘property-guardians’ and they’ll pay me rent. If the garage gets any leaks or if the door gets broken off then my handy-man Jim’ll fix it for a fee which you pay me. Whaddya say? A win-win for both of us, and and everything’s sweet!”

If someone suggested this across a pub table you would just laugh (or punch them) in their face. “You take over my property, charge me for the privilege and then extort rent from others staying there? Hahaha. You’re a fucking Del Boy taking the piss.”

But this is exactly the business model used by over forty companies, operating across the UK as ‘Property-Management’ enterprises. Ironically the brain-child of some ‘entrepreneurial squatters’ in Amsterdam, Property-Management companies and their ilk have become as common as flies on shit in contemporary, austerity-ridden Britain.

After the economic crash of 2008, property prices fell – leaving empty offices, factories and warehouses all over the UK. In Bristol it was estimated that half the city-centre office space was ‘To Let’ in 2010. As the recession continued the Tories came to power and began a brutal set of cuts to local government budgets that led many councils to close down fire stations, police stations, elderly people’s homes and council offices to save money. Any attempts to build social housing were halted, and some councils (like Bristol) even began to sell their own social-housing stock off to raise money. This process continues today.

As well as this, the Tories also attacked welfare benefits, reducing them or even forcing people off them altogether. As wages stagnated or fell, particularly for the young, rents began to rise as the demand for housing grew, while middle-class kids with ‘Trustafarian’ inheritances gentrified the inner-cities.

This triple whammy of high rents, no available social housing and plenty of empty buildings should be the perfect environment for ‘squatting’, an immediate and traditional solution to a housing crisis for the less well off. After World War 2, and once again in the 1960-70s, working class people took over empty buildings to solve their housing problems.

However, in 1994 and 2001 the law was tightened up, making ‘squatting’ more difficult and in 2012, thanks to the Tories (again) – squatting in residential buildings became a criminal offence subject to arrest, fine and imprisonment. This meant that empty commercial properties became the only remaining possibility for the homeless, creating the perfect environment for a new swarm of parasites to emerge from the neo-liberal swamp…‘Property-Management’ companies.

IT’S A FUCKING SCAM

These cheapskate corporations offer ‘security solutions’ for big property owners, providing ‘guardians’ to protect ‘vulnerable empty properties’ from ‘squatters’. But this is complete bollocks. Instead, their business model is based on taking over privately or public owned buildings and letting them out to people desperate for accommodation at a lower rent.

Costs are minimal, run through a single office, a website and a maintenance worker or two to do (or not do) minor repairs. With no normal business liabilities like rent, mortgages, insurance, loans or maintenance and on average twenty ‘property-guardians’ paying rent to them in each building, they can just rake it in. Add to this ‘cash cow’ the fees levied on the real owners for ‘security services’ and repairs, the stage is set for MASSIVE profits!

However, vital to the entire con was to get round tenancy laws – which after a long series of protests and legal battles in the 20th Century provided tenants with environmental and health & safety regulations, and also protections against illegal evictions, threats and extortionate rent increases. So ‘Property-Management’ companies hired lawyers to find loopholes in the web of laws protecting tenants. Central to this tactic was to never mention the three terms, tenant, landlord or rent in any contract. Instead the tenant became a ‘property-guardian’, the landlord became ‘the property management company’ and rent became a ‘fee’. On top of this, the tenancy agreement mutated into a ‘licence’.

LICENSED TYRANNY

The typical property-guardian ‘licence’ issued by a property-management company is an interesting document indeed. You’d expect a ‘security company’ hiring ‘security guards’ to have contracts with their employees that clearly stated their duties in the building, such as – clear guidelines on their power to deal with intruders, how to interact with police, fire and ambulance services etc etc. Instead, what you do find on the front page is ‘This is not a tenancy’, followed by pages of weird and wonderful ‘rules’ aimed at getting round tenancy law, interspersed with illegal threats of fines and evictions for not following them. In order to keep the so-called property-guardians isolated from the outside and from each other the following ‘rules’ are common:

    • The Guardian will not hold meetings, parties or other similar gatherings in the property
  • The Guardian will not permit any other person (other than other Guardians) to stay overnight in the property
  • The Guardian will not display any sign, poster, document or sticker without property-management company’s consent
  • The Guardian will not attempt to contact the owner of the property
  • The Guardian will not speak to the media about the owner, the property-management company or the property
  • If the Guardian becomes aware that anyone else is doing something prohibited by this clause, the guardian will inform the property-management company immediately he Guardian will notify the property-management company if they cease to be employed
  • The Guardian will not seek to claim housing benefit, job-seekers allowance or any related benefit without the prior consent of the property-management company

Apart from sounding like regulations issued by a crazed fascist-dictator, these rules are in place to prevent Guardians from organising by creating a climate of fear, to isolate and ‘gag’ them and to hinder contact with a local authority who might uncover the shit conditions they’re living in. In Bristol, property management company Camelot used its gagging clauses to threaten tenants with eviction if they spoke to the local council or their political representatives! It was also these draconian rules which allowed Camelot to get away with putting Guardians in Bristol City Council properties without licences for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for several years. HMO’s are there to ensure residential properties meet certain health and safety standards, particularly in relation to fire. It seems many property-management companies like Camelot (and City Councils) ignore HMO’s to save money whilst putting the Guardians at risk.

Not satisfied with flouting laws which are there to protect tenants, property-management company ‘licences’ are also full of extra penalties and ‘administration’ fees which along with the ‘damage security payment’ (the deposit in other words), add up to hundreds of pounds of extra costs for the ‘Property-Guardian’.

In the final paragraph of the endless pages of loopholes and threats in the ‘licence’ come the two statements which give the whole game away:

  • It is hereby expressly acknowledged by all parties that the Guardian has NO security responsibility as defined in the Private Security Industry Act 2001
  • The Guardian expressly acknowledges that they only have the powers of an ordinary citizen and they will not assume the powers of security officers or the police or any governmental authority

So the ‘Property-Guardian’ is NOT there for security purposes and has no powers as such. So despite all the pseudo-legal flannel in the licence it’s fairly obvious the Property-Guardian is actually just a tenant paying rent to a landlord. The disguise these companies use to hide this obvious relationship is compounded by the use of corporate legal devices to protect them from legal challenges and compensation claims by tenants.

SLUM LANDLORDS (ON SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY)

Camelot has used (at least) four different companies to run their ‘property-management’ operations in the UK. Typically, this involves creating asset-less corporate entities in the frontline of dealing with ‘property-guardians’, and to protect the owners and core business from claims if, say, a building burned down, killing and injuring the residents. It was precisely this kind of slum landlordism that the tenancy laws were brought in to deal with in the 1960s and 70s and which these companies are flouting.

Property-management companies profit from the numerous empty local authority buildings – particularly elderly peoples’ homes and to a lesser extent schools, fire/police stations and public offices, all produced by austerity. In Bristol, Somerset and Gloucester in 2017 there are more than 40 local council owned properties ‘run’ by property-management companies, bringing in millions of pounds of rent from ‘Guardians’. Like leeches sucking blood from an injured animal they have exploited ‘cuts’ to local government spending and the concurrent housing crisis. And they have done all this whilst unbelievably harping on in the media that they are some kind of charity ‘helping the homeless’ out of the goodness of their hearts!

***

However, on Friday 24th February 2017 a groundbreaking legal judgement was made in Bristol County Court, where Guardians were established for the first time as tenants and NOT licensees by the judge ruling on a dispute between two aggrieved guardians and Property-Management Company Camelot. This a massive victory.

The BRISTOLIAN says:
Paul Smith (BCC Housing) must now DISMISS ALL Property-Guardian companies from their contracts with Bristol City Council AND FIRE THE BCC OFFICIALS like Chris Woods and Rupert ‘Spunkface’ Orett who signed them up in the first place. He must ALSO DEFEND ALL TENANTS (as Guardians are NOW ESTABLISHED IN COURT to be) on YOUR PROPERTY, allowing them to FORM CICs or self-managing collectives wherever possible and if this is their wish, or rehouse them if not. Furthermore, we call on BCC to introduce a CITY WIDE RENT-CAP on the runaway private sector, START A MASSIVE REGENERATIVE SOCIAL HOUSING PROJECT, and REPOSSESS all BCC properties
leased to Property Management Companies

SCAM-A-LOT TELLING PORKIES (AGAIN)?

 

‘Happy’ Property-Guardians pose at Coombe EPH with Camelot ‘Guardian Manager’ Mark Hurley (left) and Paul Lloyd Camelot ‘Regional Director’ (second right)

After a series of articles in The BRISTOLIAN and elsewhere uncovering the disgraceful and illegal conditions that Guardian-Tenants were living in Bristol City Council properties run by scam landlords CAMELOT, the so-called ‘security company’ has finally responded.

Late last year SCAM-A-LOT hired a PR company EMPICA from Canary Wharf in London to deal with the ‘truth crisis’ in Bristol and their expensive clanking PR machine has finally manufactured some ‘post-truth’ news in a Bristol Post article.

Several cringingly staged photos in the Post show unamed Guardian-Tenants ‘happily’ drinking tea with Camelot Guardian Manager Mark Prize Wanker’ Hurley and Regional Director Paul ‘Porky Pie’ Lloyd at a Bristol City Council property Coombe EPH in Westbury-On-Trym.

There’s just one slight problem… it’s fake!

The BRISTOLIAN can exclusively reveal that the Guardian-Tenant pictured, Kofi Jamoa (far right) claims that at the time of the photo he:

  • wasn’t living in Coombe EPH
  • in fact wasn’t living in a Camelot property at all
  • he wouldn’t live in a Camelot property again after the way he was treated by them
  • was paid £1,500 by Camelot to do staged interviews with the BBC and the Bristol Post

So who are the other pretend Guardian-Tenants in the shot and where do they live? How much were they paid by Scam-a-lot? Readers of The BRISTOLIAN, lets name names!

And so ends another desperate, pathetic and expensive attempt to spin a story by the lying bastards at EMPICA and SCAM-A-LOT.

BRISTOLIAN PUBLISHER DEMANDS TO BE SUED!

Steve Norman has written to all of Bristol City Councillors today demanding that they take LEGAL ACTION against him immediately for “revealing the truth about their relationship with Camelot and Meridian,” our bent council’s close business partners.

Camelot and Meridian are the CROOKS housing vulnerable people and migrants in inadequate conditions in rat infested council properties that don’t meet the council’s own basic standards of safety. Unusually, these buildings have been handed to the businesses FREE OF CHARGE by council property boss Robert “Spunkface” Orrett.

Steve has once again openly published and distributed the statement, banned yesterday from the Full Council for for being – according to council officers – “DEFAMATORY“.

We continue to await word from the idiot Rev Rees and his legal eagles or the wankers at Camelot that they are taking action against our open publication and distribution of this DEFAMATORY MATERIAL, however.

Is there a problem of some sort? Like, perhaps, everything the statement says is true? This might also explain why council officers REFUSED yesterday to let the resident change their statement and remove any allegedly defamatory clauses the officers cared to identify? (Thus far these legal pro’s have identified ZERO defamatory clauses to anyone)

It’s a cover-up!

Steve’s email is below:

From: steven norman
Sent: 14 December 2016 09:38
To: Mayor and all councillors
Subject: RE: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

BCC have threatened legal action against anyone revealing the truth about their relationship with Camelot+Meridian, i’m sharing this! So has any ONE OF YOU GOT THE COURAGE TO ASK WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE OR WILL YOU ALL DO YOUR NORMAL TRAIT AND BURY YOUR HEADS  LIKE  OSTRICHES OUTSIDE THE BIG HOUSE ON THE GREEN?

MESSAGE FOR THE GREAT LEGAL EAGLES OF BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL SUE ME COME AND GIVE IT A GO LETS SHOW THE PEOPLE OF BRISTOL THE TRUTH  :)

Address For Service Of Papers Mr Stephen Kenneth James Norman, Antona Court, Antona Drive Bristol BS11 9RL

“I am a resident/property guardian at Broomhill EPH, owned by Bristol city council (BCC) and formerly an elderly persons home. Currently and for the past 3 years, while I have been living here, it was leased to Camelot property management LTD, a private company, providing a short-term security solution, by renting rooms within what would otherwise be vacant properties.

However, Is it appropriate for Bristol City council to have dealings with Camelot property management? Camelot property management entered into a contract with Bristol city council in September 2013. There have been between 5 and 20 guardians living at Broomhill EPH since then. Against the law, with the knowledge of some within Bristol City Council, Camelot operated Broomhill, without a HMO license for 3 years (needed when more than 5 unrelated people live there. Broomhill is a large HMO having many rooms and over 3 story’s). After the eventual visit by the councils EHO and subsequent improvement notice, no works were done, up to the expiry of the improvement notice and yet Camelot were allowed to operate without a HMO license from November 2013 until November 2016. The property has never met the requirements of such a license and even now after the license was granted, there is an improvement notice issued for substantial works to make the property up to the required standards. This notice has now run out and no works were carried out, until a week ago, when strip lighting was installed, so we are still living in dangerous and substandard housing conditions, with no heating, fire safety measures, or hot water.

The members of the public living there as property guardians have suffered numerous incidents of harassment, including physical, verbal and racial abuse at the Hands of Camelot staff members. Illegal fines have been issued for sums of money with no legal binding and pressure has been applied for guardians to pay these or be issued with notice to leave properties. In addition to this Camelot have committed multiple breaches of their contract agreement with Bristol city council. Failing to supply hot water, removing showers, not maintaining the fire alarm system, removing fire doors and lighting to name just a few.

In my license agreement with Camelot I have paid council tax for over 3 years. I, personally have been informed by the council tax office, that there is no liability nor account, for any council tax to be collected for Broomhill EPH, as it is still a council tax exempt property. Should all guardians who lived at the property over the past 3 years receive this money back, as the property is still exempt for council tax? So why does Bristol city council have any dealings with such an unscrupulous, negligent, potentially fraudulent and therefore criminal company, with a flagrant disregard for their tenants welfare? After all, Hackney Council in London terminated its contract with Camelot in 2015 in similar circumstances.

Clearly regarding not issuing the mandatory license for an HMO, a department within Bristol city council have been in collusion with Camelot for not enforcing their own regulations and therefore the law. In the last 6 months we have discovered that Camelot in another Camelot run BCC property has used forced illegal evictions, with 4 Camelot employees removing a woman from a property late at night in her night clothes, being permitted to take her medication from the fridge, but none of her other property. Another Camelot run BCC property has been sublet to a third party (Meridian), housing as many as 40 of their workers with no agreement/contract in place whatsoever, collecting their rent in cash per person weekly. Other properties have unresolved issues with rat infestations. Also there are several allegations of criminal acts carried out by Camelot staff contrary to the protection from eviction act 1977, due to be heard in court early 2017. In light of this information we would like to know what Bristol city’s response to this is?

We would like to request BCC recognize Camelot ‘guardians’ as council tenants and not licensees. We also would like BCC to acknowledge that some of their workers wrongfully colluded with Camelot property management, particularly over the HMO license. It is up to BCC whether they re-house all residents currently, in their Camelot-run BCC properties, with decent accommodation and legal contracts.

Please can I have a full written response to this statement?”

SEASON’S GREETINGS FROM SCAM-A-LOT!

xmas-marvin‘Property Guardians’ CAMELOT are giving this freezing winter a cheerful, festive flavour with threats and evictions directed at tenants in multiple properties.

In the last issue of The BRISTOLIAN we exposed how private RENT SHARKS Scam-a-lot got contracted by BCC to ‘protect’ several vacant properties in 2014 by filling them with tenants under dodgy contracts in unsafe buildings. However, when tenants at Broomhill EPH complained about the lack of lighting, heating, hot water, fire doors and other necessities and stood up for their rights (court cases pending), Scam-a-lot reacted by issuing them with SECTION 21 eviction notices!

The BRISTOLIAN’s ongoing investigations are uncovering a huge can of worms. EVICTION ORDERS were issued last month to at least TWO other BCC properties. In one, a young female tenant was forcibly evicted by four men, lifted out of bed and DUMPED in the street, without her belongings, HALF NAKED in the middle of the night. Now however, residents in both places are fighting back and contesting the validity of these orders.

We can further reveal that, in addition to FRAUDULENTLY charging their tenants Council Tax for properties that aren’t even on the tax register, Scam-a-lot are running at least one BCC property by SUB-LETTING or some other illegal dodge to ‘Blood’ MERIDIAN, a private employment agency.

Migrant workers brought in by Meridian are given temporary ‘accommodation’ in Scam-a-lot/BCC properties, after being coerced out of a ‘deposit’, which the slum landlords INVARIABLY POCKET when they leave. £90 weekly ‘rent’ is then collected CASH-IN-HAND from these unfortunates who also lack written contracts. Residents don’t even know WHO they are paying but – whichever company this EXTORTION is being paid to – if the residents complain they are simply told “put up with it … or get out”.

Can it get any worse? The BRISTOLIAN is certain it can. For example, we discovered that Scam-a-lot were issued a SUMMONS by BCC back in November 2015 for failure to pay £6,900 Council Tax, supposedly for the Broomhill address. We also have Scam-a-lot’s invoice for this amount – which seems to indicate that it was paid. But something stinks here – as Broomhill EPH is, for one, NOT REGISTERED for Council Tax, and in addition, the tax account number on the summons and the one on the receipt (for the same address) is different. What the hell is going on, BCC?

We have also found out that Scam-a-lot are operating on a nationwide basis. In December 2015, Scam-a-lot LOST ITS CONTRACT with Hackney Council because the council found the company “had misled them about the fees paid by guardians, and … was using the property to house its own unpaid interns, who were working at the company for a roof over their heads”.

The BRISTOLIAN demands that the REV REES calls Scam-a-lot to account pretty bloody sharpish. BCC MUST ENSURE that ALL people currently in their properties – tossed to the tender mercies of Scam-a-lot or ‘Blood’ Meridian by Lord Red Pants – are given DECENT ACCOMMODATION with legal contracts, in compensation for all the years of hell they’ve had to endure.

This is the VERY SMALLEST Christmas present that the Reverend can give to his parish.

PROPERTY BOSS’S DORMER TRAUMA

dickies-dormer

Dickie’s unobtrusive dormer window – no planning permission required?

Richard “The Builder” Fear, Service Manager (Property) Assets at Bristol City Council, characterises the new breed of smarmy, arrogant, overpaid oafs running our council these days.

For some reason Rich the Builder has decided to install an “upscale dormer window” at his poncy period gaff in Haverstock Road in upmarket Knowle without bothering to apply for planning permission! Does this member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and leading council property “expert”, struggling to get by on about £60k a year, think that planning permission is only for the little people?

Possibly. Although Fear’s long-suffering neighbours take a different view. So the overpaid and underperforming tosspot – whose department currently has a £9m hole in its budget being plugged by redundancies to decent low paid staff providing an actual service to us – is having to apply for retrospective planning permission on what one nearby resident describes as “a huge property extension that blatantly overlooks his neighbours, not a fucking dormer window.”

Should Fear’s retrospective planning bid fail – as it should – then he’ll have to pull the whole thing down. If it succeeds then Bristol City Council will be having to explain away another conflict of interest from this senior property boss.

Because we also note that Rich the Builder ran his own business – ‘Corporate Property Insight Ltd’ – from his Haverstock Road address between 2013 and 2015 while he was a senior employee of the city council making major decisions about our property assets.

How many conflicts of interest is one council boss allowed?