ARMA-Q is the self-regulatory regime that is proposed for ARMA members.
In this short article we highlight some of the issues that you will need to address to meet the required standards.
ARMA-Q is designed to drive up standards within the industry and to ensure that ARMA membership is increasingly recognised as a standard of quality within the industry and by consumers, clients and leaseholders.
Michelle Banks, CEO of ARMA said:
“Leaseholders should be able to expect a quality service when it comes to the management of their home. If they use an unregulated managing agent, they could be opening themselves up to poor practice. We would recommend anyone appointing a managing agent to choose one signed up to ARMA-Q - a clear commitment to high standards and professional expertise.”
ARMA-Q will be fully implemented from January 2015 but applications are now open to ARMA members to be accredited.
In this short article, Rajeev Nayyar of Fixflo looks at three of the requirements of ARMA-Q and the consequences for ARMA members.
Repairs and Maintenance
Existing legislation focuses on major works. This is unsurprising given the impact that they have on the lives of occupiers and the service charge costs incurred.
It is, of course, essential to be able to demonstrate to all concerned that the correct process has been followed. Following the correct process will result in competitive tenders and give leaseholders reassurance that the right outcome has been achieved.
ARMA-Q seeks to ensure a greater focus on general repairs & maintenance. Managing agents should set out clearly within the Management Agreement, levels of authority for repairs and should not exceed them without just cause. It follows that the managing agent should be able to demonstrate an effective process for communicating any authority level to the contractor. An auditable trail for all instructions should complement this.
Transparent, timely & professional service
ARMA have adopted the following statement as the spearhead of the ARMA-Q Consumer Charter: “Be honest, fair, open and transparent and provide a timely and professional service with access to the information needed”
Advances in mobile telecommunications and the move toward 24/7 society culture, place an ever-greater pressure on a managing agent to be available at the drop of a hat to resolve issues promptly. Those involved in the industry know just how many complaints arise from poor communication. When a leaseholder is unable to contact his/her managing agent the red mist gathers at an alarming rate.
Agents who harness these advances in technology to receive, acknowledge, instruct and provide visibility of actions will be at a distinct advantage.
Out of Hours
You may be wondering whether such a thing will exist in few years time…
ARMA-Q members should have procedures for dealing with emergency out of hours repairs. If you do not already have internal resource you may want to consider a two pronged approach.
First speak with an out of hours specialist and secondly make sure that the occupiers know how to contact them.
While you may have leaseholders’ details available to inform them of your procedures, it can be a moving target to inform short-term tenants within a block that you manage. You may wish to include your out of hours procedures in a manual in reception or other appropriate common part, or to have an online system to guide all residents on your procedures.
Colin Stokes of Adiuvo (a leading out-of-hours emergency call handling service) said:
“Unfortunately maintenance issues don’t just happen at prescribed times, in fact they usually arise at the most inappropriate moments This means residents need an emergency contact to prevent material damage or health and safety issues. Additionally they rightly expect a user friendly and convenient way of reporting issues at their convenience not just in office hours.”
We subscribe to the view that companies should take the approach that works best for their business. That may be a technology-only solution to reduce the workload on property managers, a call handing service or a combination of the two.
With the ever increasing demands on property managers within working hours it is essential to ensure that they get appropriate “down-time” outside those hours.
Fixflo was conceived and developed 18 months ago with the aim of harnessing technology to resolve the frustrations of the tenants/leaseholders while reducing the pressure on property managers.
From its picture-based repair reporting process to one click instruction of contractors, it streamlines and enhances property management services across the UK.
If you have not already looked at how Fixflo can help you, it’s time you did: www.fixflo.com