Joseph Gurvits (left) and Justin Bates
After almost 7 years, it is finally over! The longest running RTM case in history and the first to get to the Supreme Court has finally been dumped into Room 101. On 18th July 2017 three Lord Justices in the country's highest court rejected the landlord's appeal and last ditch attempt to block elderly leaseholders' RTM claim.
Earlier this year residents of Elim Court, a block of retirement flats in Plymouth, obtained judgement in the Court of Appeal confirming that they were legally entitled to the right to manage their properties. Stiff-necked and recalcitrant to the bitter end the landlord's notorious barrister Justin Bates, his paymaster Avon Freeholds and it's director Joseph Gurvits, between them launched a final attempt to prevent the claim by appealing to the Supreme Court on frivolous points of law, which the Court of Appeal described as 'technical in the extreme'.
From the very beginning Gurvits and Bates have manipulated and exploited the justice system in order to obstruct and delay residents legitimate right to manage claim. This case exposes the venomous combination of a rapacious landlord and a silver tongued barrister with no social conscience.
It is also an indictment on the legal system that allows such abuses to perpetuate with no consideration for the distress it causes to elderly flat owners who simply want to acquire their statutory right to have more say in how their properties are managed in the final years of their life. This was highlighted by Lord Justice Lewison who called upon the government to intervene and change the law to prevent further abuse and wilful exploitation of the legal process.
RTMF has been criticised in some quarters for advising residents to continue with the claim instead of withdrawing and starting again with a fresh claim. In response RTMF Director Dudley Joiner said this was Elim's third Claim Notice and there was every indication that Avon would continue objecting to subsequent claims on insignificant and trivial grounds. “Walking away from 'bully boy' landlords is rarely the answer” he said. “Sometimes you have to stand your ground and give them a bloody nose otherwise they just keep repeating the same intimidating tactics to deter more and more leaseholders from pursuing their legal rights.”
Elim residents will formerly take over the management of their estate on 18th October 2017 and it cannot come too soon. To quote one 91 year old resident who was a founding director of the RTM Company when she was 85 and a stalwart supporter of RTM throughout, “No more fighting with the nest of vipers” she said. “They may have won some battles but we have won the war”.