Michael Hollands, an indefatigable letter-writer on retirement leasehold issues, has been told to stop writing to ARMA for to find out who are the current members of the trade body.
The ARMA membership has been in a state of confusion since the January 1, the supposed deadline for application through the more rigorous ARMA-Q membership criteria.
Michelle Banks subsequently told LKP that a new deadline was set for February 1, but that, too, came and went.
The organisation has displayed a void of leadership that has dismayed those who support ARMA’s initiative to raise standards – including many of its own members.
Instead of saying officially which companies are now formally part of the ARMA membership, the trade body has issued syrupy congratulations to individual firms via messages on Twitter.
But these add up to just over 100 members – a sharp decline on the ARMA membership of 300 members in 2014.
ARMA insiders reckon at least a 20 per cent fall-off of membership is likely. Among those not signing up to the new criteria is Countrywide, the second biggest managing agent in the UK after Peverel / FirstPort.
At some point, we are assured, it will be announced who the ARMA membership is.
Until that point, any leaseholder RTM or RMC seeking a new managing agent should closely question a proposed management company about its membership status.
That is, if ARMA membership is an important consideration to leaseholders. Veteran leasehold activist Shula Rich, of the Brighton and Hove District Leaseholders Association and an associate of the Federation of Private Residents Associations, says ARMA membership is not an indication of a better quality managing agent.
Mr Hollands, who is not a leaseholder but a putative buyer of a retirement flat, has been firmly told by Mrs Banks:
“You have made clear your desire to see a list of managing agents that have successfully achieved ARMA-Q accreditation, and as I have previously explained, as soon as this is available we will notify you.
“In the meantime, please will you kindly refrain from contacting our Chairman and members of our Regulatory Panel on this matter.
“The latter are not involved with the accreditation process at individual level and are not able to give any further information. The emails you have sent to Martin Perry [the ARMA chairman], and members of our regulatory panel have been re-directed to the ARMA secretariat.
“I regret that we will not be able to enter into further correspondence with you on this matter, other than to notify you as explained above.”
Mr Hollands has replied: “I note what you say, but nothing will stop me campaigning for a better deal for the elderly leaseholders.
“They have been neglected by some for far too long and I look to you to help put this right.”