Clare Brady, MD of Brady Solicitors takes a look at the impending regulation and identifies how managing agents can use it to drive forward their businesses.
‘ARMA-Q is the new self-regulatory regime for ARMA managing agents. In the words of ARMA:
‘It aims to raise standards and quality of service across the residential leasehold management sector – hence the ‘Q’ for quality. ARMA-Q places consumers at its heart.’
If we look back to Brady Solicitors’ survey of over 100 managing agents (‘Raising the Bar’, published December 2012), we are reminded of an open-armed welcome for regulation, with 98 percent broadly in favour and 52 percent believing regulation to be ‘essential’ to professionalise the industry.
There can be little doubt that ARMA Q is the first step toward developing these regulatory standards that can provide the industry with the more professional image it seeks. Leaseholders will have a recognised set of standards against which to assess your performance as a managing agent – and be able to hold you to account if they feel you are falling short.
We understand more light will be shed on the audit procedures at the ARMA conference in October but recommend that managing agents take time to familiarise themselves with the Charter, available on the organisation’s website.
The implementation date of 01 January 2015 might feel like a long way off but, having taken my own firm through Lexcel accreditation (the Law Society’s kitemark of excellence), it seems like a realistic timescale for managing agents to prepare.
There is no doubt that currently there are varying levels of service provided by managing agents. A quality mark such as ARMA Q introduces systems and processes that can reduce or eliminate weaknesses and allow strengths to be exploited. It can also bring unexpected internal benefits and a boost to morale, as managers and staff develop more confidence in both their own work and in the way the company is being run.
Many of you will be fulfilling the requirements set out in the Charter, but do you have them documented and ready for closer inspection?
ARMA sees ARMA Q in the same light as the former Corgi Gas registration (now called the Gas Safe Register). Who would use a gas engineer that wasn’t Corgi registered? Achieving similar success and integration will of course depend on how the industry deals with it, integrates it and presents it to its clients.
ARMA Q has the potential to enable good managing agents to stand out from the crowd, and we would encourage accredited managing agents to fly the flag high, both internally and externally. Those who choose to view it as an opportunity to improve and a marketing tool will benefit far more than those who simply view it as an administrative tick box exercise.’
Find out more
To discuss further ARMA Q or any of your property management challenges, contact Clare by email or on 0115 985 3450.