ARMA-Q, the scheme to give ethical credibility to the Association of Residential Managing Agents, was given the blessing of the government and the leasehold establishment yesterday with a House of Lords launch.
Already the new ARMA-Q regulator Keith Hill (above), a former New Labour housing minister, has six cases of complaint to deal with “which I am going to get started on right away”.
Baroness Hanham, Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, gave a cordial endorsement, saying that self-regulation was the government’s favoured solution to leasehold.
Leasehold tenure is going to increase and she was aware that, owing to different demographics and culture, there could be one or two problems with it (which is an odd way of seeing £1 million law cases, or pensioners facing a £30,000 legal bill because their “right to manage” has been thwarted).
She sang her boss’s praises for his amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill that means managing agents will have to be members of an Ombudsman scheme.
This irrelevance was dreamed up to dump a crafty clause introduced by Baroness Gardner in the Lords, which would have paved the way to state regulation of managing agents – which has the unanimous support from all sides in the sector.
That is not to say that Mark Prisk, the housing minister, is deaf to leasehold issues – unlike his hapless predecessor – and another round-table of leaseholder insiders (with LKP in the naughty corner as an “observer”) will take place.