Purchase of the Freehold - 1978

c1951, the estate appears to have passed into the hands of Albert and Louis Donn. In 1967 the Estate was sold to The London County Freehold & Leasehold Properties Limited. They operated under the name “Key Flats” and owned a number of similar blocks in London. However it became increasingly undesirable for reputable property companies to own and administer such large residential blocks, so Key Flats decided to sell the Estate. Within a few years the property had changed hands two or three times. Finally, in 1976, the insolvency of the last owner caused the Estate to fall into the hands of the liquidators.

Soon thereafter the residents of the Estate learned that it would be possible for the Tenants Association to buy the Estate on behalf of its members. Mr Sam Waldman who was the Chairman of the Tenants Association, invited Joe Jacobs to take the Treasurers position. Their task was to raise funds to provide professional and legal expenses for the purpose of starting negotiations with the liquidators. This was done, periodically calling for contributions from tenants who intended to buy their flats.

Frequent meetings took place in each committee member’s flat, and regular meetings were held in the local hall to keep all tenants informed of the progress. Sam Waldman steered the Association through a difficult path and after fending off property developers and having finally agreed a favourable price, the committee signed an option to purchase on behalf of BAM Tenants Association on 18th August 1977. The Agreement enabled the Association to arrange the sale of long leases to the residents on completion of the Estate’s purchase.

A condition of the Agreement was that completion had to take place within six months. A Limited Company was acquired - Capitalbest Ltd. (later changed to BAM Estate Ltd.). The original committee members of the Association became the initial shareholders and first Directors of the Company.

Prior to completion on 16th January 1978, arrangements had to be made for a Merchant Bank to finance the purchase. Also, it was essential to tell tenants the purchase price of their individual flats quickly so that they could make their own financial arrangements. Prices had to be fixed on the basis of size and location. Sufficient funds had to be raised not only to buy the Estate, but to carry out vital repairs to the property. Residents of the more than 30 flats which remained unsold, stayed on as statutory tenants.

When the BAM Tenants Association was dissolved on 8th March 1978, Sam Waldman sent a personal letter to all residents. After thanking them for their support during the long struggle to buy the Estate, he made some memorable and ambitious remarks:  “I would like to see the spirit of comradeship continue whilst we are all shareholders of the Company which legally owns the Estate, I would like to feel that we could look after our homes in a community rather than in a commercial manner. To this end I should like to see as many residents as possible become involved in the decision-making process which, after all, affects us all.”

Sam Waldman died on 11th August 1993 and in the Autumn of that year, Joe Jacobs interestingly commented in a BAM Bulletin published at that time:- “I guess the idea of ever acquiring the freehold of this Estate was not in the minds of its residents when the Buckingham Avenue and Marlborough Tenants Association was formed 22 years ago. The object of the Association was to protect the interests of its members"

FOOTNOTE

At the time of the purchase in 1978 only the head-leasehold interests were acquired in respect of 35-45 Avenue Mansions and 33-37 Marlborough Mansions.  See the Transfer document.

In 1983 BAM Estate acquired the freehold of 35-45 Avenue Mansions, and in 1990 bought in the freehold of 33-37 Marlborough Mansions.

In 2007 the Land Registry granted to BAM Estate a Possessory Title of the central gardens to the rear of Buckingham, Avenue, and Marlborough Mansions.  These gardens had not been included in the purchase of 1978, and it is likely no one had noticed since the early 1900’s that ownership of the gardens was not included with that of the Estate.  It was only when the Estate Manager, Graham Hamilton, was checking the boundaries of the Estate on the Land Certificates that it became apparent that BAM Estate did not own the central gardens.  This is the first time that the gardens have been registered, and the first time since 1897 that the whole of the BAM Estate has been in a single ownership.