Communities Secretary announces crackdown on unfair managing agents

At ARMA’s Annual Conference on Wednesday 18th October, attended by over 600 delegates, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced plans for a fairer property management system to protect leaseholders from the small minority of rogue agents.

As part of this new call for evidence, Government is seeking views on whether a regulatory overhaul is needed to improve the professionalism of the sector and to protect consumers from unfair costs and practices.

Citing examples of rogue agents overcharging leaseholders he singled out ARMA members as “the good guys”.

The Communities Secretary said: “This is supposed to be the age of the empowered consumer – yet in property management, we’re still living in the past.

“Our proposed changes to regulate the industry will give landlords, renters and leaseholders the confidence they need to know that their agents must comply with the rules."

ARMA’s CEO, Dr Nigel Glen, stated “We are delighted that the Communities Secretary chose the ARMA Conference to announce this welcome shift in policy.  We have long campaigned for the sector to be regulated and will do all we can to assist the Government in delivering a regulatory regime across the industry.”

In the absence of statutory legislation, ARMA introduced the ‘ARMA-Q Standards’ self-regulatory regime for its members in 2015.  These set high standards for residential leasehold block management and members are required to meet these standards.

ARMA Chairman William Heneker summarised the progress the Association had made over the past year and outlined his themes for the upcoming 12 months: continuing to raise standards, and increasing ARMA market share in the number of homes managed.

CEO Dr Nigel Glen gave an enlightening insight into the work in which ARMA is now involved. This includes coordinating the private sector’s response to Grenfell, and new Energy and Partners schemes.

Debra Yudolph and Charles Seifert of SAY Property Consulting presented a film commissioned specifically for Conference which brought to life what developers expect from managing agents.

Philip Rainey QC and Professor James Driscoll took to the stage and presented a strong argument in favour of Commonhold in place of Leasehold. The subsequent expert panel (Jennifer Bourne, UK Finance; Martin Boyd, Leasehold Knowledge Partnership; David Clark, Mainstay Group; and Alison McDiarmid, Property Managers Association Scotland) took the discussion forward in a lively debate.

After lunch, Michael Lee of Michael R Lee Chartered Surveyors delivered an exceptional and highly topical presentation on the current position on Grenfell and Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) and what property managers need to know about Reinstatement Cost Assessments for insurance valuation purposes.

Next to climb the steps was eminent London Business School Professor, Michael G Jacobides who provided some thought-provoking observations on the future of the sector and how we can shape it. He also showed how ARMA members can rethink and better explain the added value they provide.

To bring the day to a close, legal team of Justin Bates and Amy Just, Barristers at Arden Chambers, looked at some of the cases that changed the law in 2017.