From 2015 flat owners who use ARMA-Q accredited agents to manage their property will be guaranteed a number of safeguards including:
- Higher professional standards and levels of customer care
- A transparent and open service
- Access to an independent regulatory panel
To achieve accreditation, managing agents must demonstrate that they comply with over 160 rigorous industry standards. It’s the first time such measures have been introduced for agents in England and Wales, where there are an estimated five million leasehold properties.
Despite collecting over a billion pounds in service charges from leaseholders each year, managing agents are not regulated by government. Unless they are members of a professional body, agents are unaccountable, which leaves the system open to abuse and inconsistent service levels.
ARMA-Q is being introduced by the industry’s trade body, the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA). The organisation is aiming to push up standards of property management across the board and plug the gap left by the lack of statutory regulation.
ARMA’s chief executive Michelle Banks said: “Choosing the right managing agent can be a bit of a minefield. The industry’s not regulated so they don’t have to belong to a professional body or comply with specific standards. We’re introducing ARMA-Q so leaseholders can be confident they are choosing a quality agent. From 2015 anyone appointing an ARMA-Q agent to manage their property can have peace of mind that they conform to high standards, are bound by a consumer charter and are regulated independently. ARMA-Q accreditation is voluntary – managing agents don’t have to sign up. So those that do are showing a clear commitment to providing the best service.”
- Ian Gibbs Estate Management – The practice of Ian Gibbs Chartered Surveyors opened its first office on Windmill Hill in 1968. From a small office we have expanded into a multi-faceted business dealing with a wide variety of property matters. The estate management office opened in 1985 and we now manage a diverse range of properties across London, the South East and beyond. These include residential estates, blocks of flats, retirement flats, new and mixed-tenure developments. As a family run business, we are proud to say we have been helping people for over 30 years.
- ARMA-Q is the new self-regulatory regime for managing agents that are members of the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA). It comes into force from 2015 and aims to raise standards and quality of service across the residential leasehold management sector. It features commitment to a new consumer charter and industry standards, which are specific to managing agents. Compliance with the standards and charter will be overseen by an independent regulatory panel made up of industry experts and chaired by former housing minister The Rt Hon Keith Hill. Importantly, leaseholders are also represented on the panel. Find out more about ARMA-Q at: www.arma.org.uk
- The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) is the leading trade association for companies that manage private residential leasehold blocks of flats in England and Wales. ARMA promotes high standards of leasehold management by providing advice, training and guidance to its 320+ members. ARMA also produces guidance materials for leaseholders and residents’ management companies whilst campaigning for improvements in legislation governing the leasehold sector. More information on the Association can be found at: www.arma.org.uk