Michelle Banks, chief executive of the Association of Residential Managing Agents, gave an outline of the ARMA-Q initiative to leaseholders at the annual meeting of the Federation of Private Residents’ Association on November 12.
ARMA-Q comes into effect in 2015 and has former Labour housing minister Keith Hill as its regulator.
The idea is that ARMA-Q will put ethical backbone into an organisation which was – and remains – silent over the scandals that abound in residential leasehold.
ARMA enthusiasts like to spread the fiction that rogue managing agents are outside its organisation.
“Any oik can set up as a managing agent,” Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director at RICS, told delegates to the ARMA annual conference in October.
But LKP has long claimed that there are no shortage of managing agents playing the leasehold system within ARMA, or RICS for that matter, and a string of property tribunal rulings confirms this.
Will ARMA-Q make much of a difference to leaseholders?
Probably not. It is a complex initiative which comes into force in stages, and the regulator will only take up cases that have passed through the ombudsman and tribunals, and where a breach of ARMA’s code and rules has occurred.
LKP thinks the scheme is more than PR window dressing – which was probably the original intention – but waits to see whether it has any teeth. Will ARMA seriously address large-scale corporate cheating by members who pay the largest subscriptions to the association?
And why is ARMA so resolutely silent in the face of the seemingly endless succession of scandals in property management?
Wouldn’t leaseholders be better off if ARMA split between those managing agents whose business comes from developers and freehold-owing companies, and those who seek business from leaseholder controlled resident management companies?
Two principal conditions of accreditation with LKP – that you don’t manage your own freeholds and you do not have a predominant freeholder as a client – do not apply to ARMA.
Thanks to Michelle Banks being a former civil servant in the Department of Communities and Local Government, and her close dealings with the two civil servants responsible for leasehold issues, ARMA-Q is seen as the model for statutory regulation of the sector.
But there are a number of excellent managing agents out there who will not join ARMA because so many of the repeat offenders who they come across are established stalwarts of the association.
So let me get this right then. An ARMA member could be found guilty of fraud, false accounting, overcharging, poor standards, breach of the ARMA Code etc…………….and be thrown out of ARMA! Wow! And after this sanction they can of course continue trading.
As we found with the ARHM, self regulation just does not work.
I have never heard of anything so boring, what a shame it was not presented with a little more conviction………
So, we would have to go to either the Ombudsman or the 1st Tier Tribunal BEFORE ARMAQ will even look at it… what a waste of time that will be then. ARMAQ should be the 1st port of call for a complaint not after having had the expense and stress of the 1st Tier Tribunal…. and yes we do know Keith Hill’s history and past postions so we do not need that ramming down our necks at every opportunity to justify ARMAQ’s existance..
Membership of ARMA should be disqualifying criterion when considering managing agents… unless it evicts the known crooks.
Here, here.. well said. What a sham all this is…
Here, here.. well said. What a sham all this is… What more can be said – just atotal joke and cover up
But if LKP only requires “Two principal conditions of accreditation with LKP – that you don’t manage your own freeholds and you do not have a predominant freeholder as a client” how do you justify asking that “ARMA split between those managing agents whose business comes from developers and freehold-owing companies, and those who seek business from leaseholder controlled resident management companies”?
Despite the scandals referred to, residents groups do present similar problems for individual leaseholders, including seeking forfeiture, and abuses and errors.
The problem is that absent statutory regulation, owners of freeholds and landlords, even resident owned or controlled, and flat owners cannot rely on independently established and enforced behaviors and standards by the agent or the landlord.
The FPRA describe themselves as the ‘voice of leaseholders’. I have to ask then why they would invite the Chief Executive of ARMA to speak at their conference when it is this body that has allowed much of the abuse to continue because they refuse to discipline members when found wanting?
Isn’t it time we had a conference of our own? One in which the speakers are those who have fought and overcome the odds such as Karen, Martin Boyd, Sharon Crossland, Dudley and Nick from the RTMF and others. Also for those leaseholders to share their experiences with us such as Julian Shersby, Denis Jackson and the lady questioning insurance commissions in the Q&A of Sir Peter Bottomley’s address. Unfortunately they were effectively told to shut up thus negating the ‘voice of leaseholders’!! Julian also tried at the LEASE conference last year to be heard with a similar result.
Hence my desire for a chance to meet up face to face with all these people who have become familiar names through LKP/Campaign against retirement leasehold exploitation websites. It would also be good to hear from the residents of LKP accredited managing agents, to get some feedback on how they are doing. MP’s and Ministers could also be invited NOT to speak but rather to LISTEN and LEARN!! I guess it may need to be a week long rather than a day but what do you think Sebastian and Martin can it be done?
I suspect that the outcome of such a conference would be predictable. Given representative attendance they would learn that there are a lot of owners agents and “block” owners doing everything from muddling along, sort of, to excelling, and a minorty group with real issues and genuine abuses to relate. Those in that catagory are not therefore the voice of leaseholders, simply a voice of some leaseholders.
The debate is therefore how you manage control and remedy abuses in the system organisations and people, and that the ” voice of some” should not overstate its importantce but recognise that it is the example of “how it can go wrong” and has something, not everything to contribute to very broad landscape.
Now that it has been proven by the the admission and acceptance by Peverel of the OFT collusive tendering report, I still await action from ARMA.
What possible value can a trade body be, if so many of the criteria for membership are not adhered to, yet a company remains a member?
What message does that send to respectable companies that might also be members of ARMA?