One of the set books for my English O level (exams for 16-year olds a long time ago!) was Animal Farm by George Orwell. If you haven’t read it I would thoroughly recommend it. It is apparently a thinly guised allegory for the Russian revolution, however it also serves as a metaphor for a whole host of other situations and arenas.
A short and a very crude summary would be the farm in the book is run by a bad greedy farmer who abuses the animals and the animals revolt and the pigs become the leaders and eventually turn into bad greedy leaders who abuse the animals!
Wasn’t it ever thus? Power corrupts! Well in most cases it certainly leads that way and we can point to a whole library of examples. There have been forests felled in the reporting of how bad freeholders are and all the scams and poor service they are prone to dish out. I have said many, many times there are good and bad on both sides; some freeholders are bad and indeed not all leaseholders are good.
I have a fascinating advisory project on the go which the story quite frankly beggars’ belief. The now head leaseholder started life as a leaseholder but engineered a dispute with the owner. He challenged and harried and caused so much grief in the Courts that the previous Head Leaseholder was forced into liquidation and in settlement of its dues to the leaseholder the liquidator handed over the head leasehold. Now instead of being grateful and engaged with leaseholders he has taken advantage of his neighbours. He denies beneficial interest, he has added personal bills to the service charge; the list goes on and on.
So the leaseholders are left seeking redress through the First tier Tribunal and the Courts. So far successfully but there is always the threat of action for deformation or reneging on agreed offers and terms. The whole litigation process can be very wearing on those who are by nice conciliatory and nice people. How this turns out we will have to wait and see but in the meantime the leaseholders are put to expense and stress and strain they quite frankly should not have to.
There has to be a better way and there has to be fairness for all. As I repeatedly say it is not all bad on one side and all good on the other. Ideally, we would get all on the same side and for all to realise the benefits of acting fairly and with each other. Mind you that is a utopian World that will never exist unless we clone everybody and please don’t let that be the future!
In the meantime lawyers and advisors will make money from others misery. Not fair but someone has to stand up for the good guys whatever side they are on.