Residential property management is increasingly under the spotlight as the c. 5 million flat owners in England and Wales demand a higher level of service and transparency.
With an unregulated leasehold management sector, the leading trade body (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) is launching a new enhanced set of standards to drive improvements and accountability amongst its members.
The standards (ARMA-Q) are designed to provide certainty about the minimum standards and professionalism that come from instructing an ARMA member to manage your block.
From early in 2015, all ARMA members will have to comply with a consumer charter, prescribed standards for block management with enforcement being carried out by an Independent Regulatory Panel.
What Does This Mean For Leaseholders
The recent Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) investigation into the block management sector* highlighted that although the leasehold management sector works well for many leaseholders, misaligned incentives regarding repairs and a lack of transparency were amongst areas of concern.
ARMA-Q and Repairs
Our take on ARMA-Q is that ARMA members are required to put in place robust processes in order to underpin the quality of their block management service.
For example, taking a typical lifecycle of reactive repairs ARMA members must have:
- a process in place for to deal with repairs (both in hours and out of hours)
- a process for monitoring the completion of repairs
- a process for ensuring that payment authorities are not exceeded
Colin Stokes, Managing Director of out of hours call handling service Adiuvo commented:
“We have seen a surge in demand for our out of hours service as property managers get set for ARMA-Q. The feedback has been that ARMA-Q accreditation will provide block managers with a great opportunity to show their commitment to a quality service ahead of having the chance to show that on a day-to-day basis after instruction.”
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