The benefits of working with an ARMA Member as your Managing Agent
The Association of Residential Management Agents (ARMA) is a leading light in the UK’s residential leasehold sector. It’s a beacon of professionalism, imparting high standards and offering an array of resources that make a significant difference in property management. But what does it mean for you, as a client, to have an ARMA member as your managing agent?
Let’s explore the advantages it provides.
1. The Backdrop: Understanding ARMA
Founded in 1991, ARMA has been the cornerstone of professionalism in the UK’s private residential block management sector. The association has focused on promoting high standards, offering technical advice, providing information for leaseholders, and training courses on the leasehold system. It also champions legislative improvements in the sector.
1.1 Upholding High Standards
ARMA members are known for their commitment to high professional standards. They are obliged to comply with the RICS ‘Service Charge Residential Management Code‘ and adhere to ARMA’s membership rules.
1.2 ARMA Accreditation for Consumer Protection
The ARMA Accreditation is a significant accomplishment in consumer protection in the residential leasehold sector. It’s built on standards that have been designed specifically for leasehold property management and independent regulation. All ARMA members must comply with the Standards and a Consumer Charter.
2. The Array of ARMA Members
ARMA represents firms of managing agents, not individual property managers. Its members span an array of businesses, from small, family-run enterprises managing few blocks to national companies overseeing tens of thousands of flats across numerous developments. The building types managed by ARMA members range from newly built tower blocks to converted houses and purpose-built mansion blocks from the 1920s and 1930s.
2.1 Associates and Partners
ARMA Associates are managing agents striving to become full members but have not yet met the two-year trading rule, or they may have had their accreditation application declined. On the other hand, an ARMA Partner is a company that provides essential services for managing agents but isn’t directly involved in block management of flats.
2.2 ARMA Network and RMC/RTM Directors
Members of the ARMA Network are not directly involved in residential block management. They include developers, freeholders, corporate landlords, and housing associations. RMC/RTM Directors is a membership category open to non-commercial companies involved in the management of leasehold blocks of flats.
3. The Need for ARMA Accreditation
The residential leasehold management sector is currently unregulated. Thus, anyone can set up as a block managing agent and start collecting service charges from leaseholders without any third-party regulation or relevant experience. This lack of regulation has led to inconsistencies in service levels among block management companies, damaging consumer confidence in managing agents. That’s where ARMA plays a critical role.
4. The Benefits of Employing an ARMA-accredited Agent
Working with an ARMA-accredited agent provides numerous benefits, from peace of mind to better customer service.
4.1 Peace of Mind
ARMA-accredited agents operate to the highest standards and are independently regulated. They are legally obliged to hold your service charges in a separate client bank account, providing assurance that your money is secure.
4.2 Experience and Expertise
ARMA-accredited agents are required to have at least two years of experience with residential property management. They must also demonstrate compliance with rigorous industry standards, have in-depth knowledge of leases, and thorough understanding of relevant Landlord and Tenant legislation.
4.3 Insurance Cover
ARMA-accredited agents must hold Professional Indemnity Insurance, protecting you in rare cases of negligence.
4.4 Excellent Customer Service
ARMA-accredited agents are dedicated to best practice and excellent customer service. They must operate a published complaints procedure, enhancing their transparency and aiding in your decision-making process.
5. Why Choose an ARMA-accredited Managing Agent?
Whether you’re a leaseholder, resident’s association, landlord, or freeholder, it’s crucial to choose a managing agent who is ARMA-accredited. It’s a clear indication of their commitment to providing the best customer service when managing your property.
6. The Journey to ARMA Accreditation
In an industry that’s unregulated, ARMA provides a systematic way to regulate its members. All ARMA members are required to conform to high standards, providing clients peace of mind that they stick to rigorous standards and hold the necessary experience for managing properties.
7. Advantages of ARMA Membership for Managing Agents
For managing agents, ARMA membership offers access to technical advice, guidance notes, monthly briefings, and training courses. Additionally, many services offered by ARMA are advantageous to clients, particularly access to ARMA Energy for lower utility costs and ARMA Insure for insurance solutions.
8. The Seal of Quality: Embracing ARMA Membership
For managing agents seeking to build their presence in the residential leasehold sector, ARMA membership is essential. It promotes high standards of leasehold management and professionalism through training and guidance, providing an extra layer of reassurance for clients.
9. ARMA Membership: A Mark of Trust
Being a member of ARMA assures clients that the managing agent operates according to the Consumer Charter and Standards, holds service charge monies legally and safely, and has Professional Indemnity Insurance. It also ensures that the managing agent follows all professional standards, including the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code.
In conclusion, the importance of ARMA membership for a managing agent can’t be over-emphasised. It’s a clear sign of the agent’s dedication to upholding the highest standards, offering unrivalled service, and providing clients with peace of mind. So, when choosing a managing agent, an ARMA member should really be your top choice.
It goes without saying that Strangford Management Ltd are full ARMA members and we believe in the benefits for clients when working with an agent that are full members. We firmly believe in the need for regulation within the block management industry and welcome the opportunity to work with clients that want an agent who is personal, proactive, and transparent in all they do.
Contact us today at [email protected] to discuss your management needs with one of our property management experts.