25th July 2019

Despite record-breaking heat and travel disruption, Thursday the 25th July saw colleagues from across the country convening for the second annual northern property social event.

Organised by Liverpool based property solicitors JB Leitch and held in the open rooftop bar at Manchester’s acclaimed El Gato Negro restaurant, guests were able to share industry insights, ideas and opinions over informal drinks and award winning tapas. With members of JB Leitch's real estate, litigation and commercial departments also on hand, conversation continued late into the evening.

Such was the success of the event, which built on the success of the inaugural gathering held in Liverpool in 2018, many attendees are asking for details of the next get-together. The JB Leitch team are already considering a range of future event ideas for clients and colleagues to share knowledge and foster closer working relationships in a relaxed and enjoyable way. To join the conversation contact the JB Leitch team via or follow J B Leitch Ltd on LinkedIn.

24th July 2019
Family owned firm expands with new Birmingham city office
Family owned firm expands with new Birmingham city office

Photo left to right: Frances Di Pierri (Practice Director), Hedley Adcock (Director) and (Mark Adcock) Senior Director

Adcocks Solicitors have opened offices in the newly refurbished Crossway building in the centre of Birmingham. Founded in 1910 the firm now employs 20 staff at its headquarters in Lichfield and specialises in commercial property, leasehold reform and private client work. The opening marks the first time the firm has had a presence in Birmingham, although it has traditionally held strong connections with West Bromwich and the Black Country.

Director and commercial property specialist, Hedley Adcock, comments:

"We’ve been looking for suitable office space in Birmingham for some time. Crossway provides a dynamic working environment and first class office facilities in a prime city centre location. We’re keen to build upon our existing links with the city and wider region; the opening of the office in Birmingham is part of our commitment to the future of the firm. We employ a team of bright young lawyers who are well suited to the remarkable transformation and growth which is taking place in the city; we want to grow with it. We regularly work for Birmingham based businesses; the new office will now allow us to better service our commercial client base."

Hedley has experience in a wide range of commercial property work. He regularly advises on capital investments and acquisitions, disposals, leases, corporate support and secured lending. For further information on Adcocks Solicitors please visit

22nd July 2019
Sector Experts Team Up to Survey the Leasehold and Block Management Industry
Sector Experts Team Up to Survey the Leasehold and Block Management Industry

Industry-leading repairs and maintenance management software provider, Fixflo, launched an annual leasehold and block management survey on 22 July, 2019, amidst the controversial discussions about commonhold and the overall leasehold reform.

The Fixflo Leasehold and Block Management Market Report 2019 aims to understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for property professionals in the sector. With a myriad of external challenges such as leasehold reform, the regulation of managing agents and Brexit looming large on the horizon, the industry is facing one of its toughest years since ARMA’s founding in 1991. In spring 2019, Fixflo, ARMA and MRI Software recognised the value an industry-wide survey could bring to more data-driven debate on the policy issues and a project led by Fixflo to remedy the lack of research was soon underway. Leading industry publications News On The Block and Flat Living will be driving the campaign as key media partners.

Rajeev Nayyar, Managing Director of Fixflo, said, “On top of the uncertainty of Brexit, leasehold reform is imminent. With the findings from this report, we can better respond to the needs of the industry and see on a granular level, what support or technological solutions can help property professionals through the testing period ahead, and turn any challenges into opportunities. We will run the survey annually to keep abreast with what block management companies are concerned with.”

ARMA, the leading trade association for residential managing agents, wanted to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by leasehold block managing agents, and the way they apply technology. Dr Nigel Glen, Chief Executive Officer of ARMA is eager to learn where block management companies need help most, “Many of our members voice their concerns over external and internal challenges such as the leasehold reform, regulation of managing agents and Brexit, and the increasing difficulty in hiring talent. The survey will give us actionable data and guide the development of our training offerings and more.”

James Lavery, Marketing Director of MRI Software commented on the survey, "As a leading provider of software solutions for the leasehold sector, we're delighted to support this research, and look forward to gaining further insight into how residential property management organisations are responding to market pressures while maximising opportunities through tech."

The Fixflo Leasehold and Block Management Market Report 2019 is now calling for leasehold and block management companies to have their say. Personnel of any seniority in the sector are welcome to respond to the survey, which is open for submissions until 31 August 31, 2019.

Access Survey Here.

5 lucky respondents will be chosen at random and receive a £100 Amazon voucher.

22nd July 2019
Free online learning for leaseholders managing their own building
Free online learning for leaseholders managing their own building

The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) has launched ‘LEASE Learn’, its free e-learning platform for leaseholders looking to manage their own building using their own company.

With input from the Institute of Residential Property Managers (IRPM), the Federation of Private Residents’ Associations (FPRA) and the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), LEASE has produced another tool to help leaseholders gain confidence in the complex subject of leasehold.

Chief Executive of LEASE, Anthony Essien, said: “We know that many leaseholders are very able directors of their Residents Management or Right to Manage Company. But we are also aware that some are reluctant to take on these very real responsibilities as Directors; and that others that have done so could be helped with the fundamentals (National Leasehold Survey). We feel that ‘LEASE Learn’ suits these busy people, and we hope to have lots of feedback to make it even better”

Chairman of FPRA, Bob Smytherman, said: “ As a Director of a Management Company for over 25 years in my own block I know first hand the importance of good quality impartial advice and support when carrying out the role which is why I am hugely proud to contribute to the new Leasehold Advisory Service e-learning modules for those Directors who have responsibilities within their own developments and would urge fellow RMC/RTM Directors and Company Secretary’s to undergo the training and continue to seek impartial advice and support from organisations such as LEASE or the FPRA.”

Chief Executive of IRPM, Andrew Bulmer, said: “IRPM are delighted to support this very useful and timely e-learning programme coming to fruition. It could not be more timely, as the duties and responsibilities of resident management company directors are being brought into sharp focus as leasehold tenure and building safety management is reformed. Beyond just the directors, we would go further and recommend that all members/shareholders/residents of a management company benefit from this course.”

Chief Executive of ARMA, Nigel Glen, said: “ARMA welcomes the new LEASE e-learning platform. Improving understanding for anyone involved in leasehold can only be a good thing and ARMA is honoured to have been a part of the project. We are sure it will prove an invaluable aid for the sector and congratulate LEASE on their initiative.”

Register for LEASE learn

22nd July 2019
West-Country Businessman becomes Mental Heath Ambassador
West-Country Businessman becomes Mental Heath Ambassador

Andrew Simmonds, Managing Director of Portishead based Mcilroy Smith & Co. has become an Ambassador of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) charity LionHeart.

Andrew Simmonds said: “I’m honoured to become part of the journey of LionHeart and am delighted that I will be able to help the charity benefit from my own personal experiences of Mental Health within the profession”

LionHeart is the charity for RICS professionals, past and present, and their families who’s aim is to be there for members whenever life throws them a curve ball.

“We are all under pressure in one way or another and Mental Health can affect anyone when least expected. Indeed, far too many people suffer behind the often positive facade”

LionHeart wants to help as many people as they can, no matter what their circumstances. They also believe in working with people to find out about all of their needs so a responsive and sensitive package of support can be provided.

Mcilroy Smith & Co. was formed in 2018 as a boutique property consultancy providing transparent and effective property management and development consultancy services and has been applauded for its implementation of a robust Heath and Wellbeing Policy in the workplace. The firm manages in excess of £45M of assets across the West-Country, Wales and the Midlands.

“When I formed the business I wanted to ensure that none of my colleagues suffered the experiences I had. I am extremely passionate about everyone having a genuinely positive approach to the workplace whilst not forgetting the importance of our clients – it’s a real balance”.

Andrew Simmonds, who has spent time as a Trustee of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity in Bristol and currently sits as Chair of Trustees of Round Table Children’s Wish in Bournemouth, has experienced his own deep personal challenges.

“I have been involved with high profile charities over recent years, but this is quite different. I hope that by becoming involved with LionHeart I can help to ensure the importance of supporting Mental Health be widely recognised; not only within the profession in which I operate, but also within the wider business community.”

LionHeart is funded through the generosity of past and present RICS members who care enough about their colleagues to support them. They don't receive any government or other grants.

For further information please see:

8th July 2019
Mark Hegarty appointed as Regional Manager for Large and Complex Developments by FirstPort
Mark Hegarty appointed as Regional Manager for Large and Complex Developments by FirstPort

Based within property management company FirstPort’s Greater London region, Mark will be leading a team of Development and Property Managers from Heathrow to Dartford.

He previously worked as an Area Manager for FirstPort’s Retirement division where he worked in Ramsgate and Sydenham  for four years. Prior to this he was a Store Manager for Dunelm, for six years.

Nygel Scourfield, Managing Director of Property Services for FirstPort said: “Mark’s appointment from retirement to the Property Services division demonstrates the variety of  career options that an organisation like FirstPort - with 3,200 employees - can offer high quality candidates. I am looking forward to seeing the fresh perspective Mark will bring to customer service.”

Mark Hegarty, Regional Manager, FirstPort concludes: “I’m particularly looking forward to working more directly with freeholders and developers and to help expand FirstPort’s management portfolio. I shall miss the day to day contact with our retired customers but I’m looking forward to that change.”

FirstPort has four decades of experience as a full service residential property manager, employing over 3,200 people. Working on behalf of developers, investors, freeholders and over 250 Resident Management Companies it manages 196,000 homes across the UK.

8th July 2019

The winners of the annual ARMA (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) ACE Awards were revealed at a glittering ceremony at Tobacco Dock in London’s east end on Friday (5th July 2019). Attended by 500 property professionals, the Awards celebrate excellence and exceptional achievement by the UK's leading residential managing agents, their suppliers and the work of their people in improving the lives of over a million leaseholders across the country.

The 18 winners were announced following a rigorous adjudicating process by a panel of independent judges. Tobacco Dock provided a stunning backdrop to a fun-packed evening of live music, fine dining and exciting entertainment.

Dr Nigel Glen, ARMA CEO, said: “The winners are a real credit to the industry and I know what a hard job the judges had in deciding who should go home with a trophy from so many outstanding finalists. The winning firms and team members are setting the standard for companies that wish to be recognised for achieving excellence and best practice in their field.”

Dementia UK, which provides specialist dementia support for families through its Admiral Nurse service, was ARMA’s charity partner this year and a magnificent sum of £3,467.00 was raised for the cause. Dementia UK’s nurses work alongside people with dementia and their families, giving them the one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions they need, and that can be hard to find elsewhere.

Demi Bevis-Roadnight, Regional Fundraising Executive at Dementia UK, said: “We’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to ARMA for choosing to support us at their fantastic awards ceremony this year. The funds raised will give many families facing dementia the precious care of a specialist dementia nurse – often when they are at breaking point and feel they have nowhere else to turn. We just can’t thank you enough for everything you have done.”


Full list of winners:

· Smaller Managing Agent of the Year - Freehold Management Services

· Medium Managing Agent of the Year - Plymouth Block Management

· Larger Managing Agent of the Year - Premier Block Management

· National/Largest Managing Agent of the Year - Rendall & Rittner

· On-site Staff Member of the Year - Leon Blackwood, JFM Block & Estate Management

· Corporate Social Responsibility Firm of the Year - Rendall & Rittner

· Apprentice of the Year - Hettie Carpenter, Burlington Estates

· Property Personality of the Year - Samantha Massey, SDL Property Management

· Employer of the Year - Rendall & Rittner

· Major Works Project of the Year - Pennycuick Collins

· Service Charge Accountant of the Year - Coral Norton, FirstPort

· Honorary Industry Award - Craig Stevens, Warwick Estates

· Legal Services Provider of the Year - Brady Solicitors

· Customer Service Award - JFM Block & Estate Management

· Unsung Hero - Bradley Parker, Future Fire Systems

· Partner of the Year - Abbatt Property Recruitment

· Service Charge Accountancy Firm of the Year - BDO

· Industry Supplier of the Year - Energicity

The Awards are open to ARMA Members, Associates, Partners and external suppliers to ARMA members and include several categories not covered by other awards.

All the winners, highly commended and finalists can be viewed here.


About ARMA

The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) is the leading trade association for companies that manage private residential leasehold blocks of flats in England and Wales. ARMA promotes high standards of leasehold management by providing advice, training and guidance to its members. ARMA also produces guidance materials for leaseholders and residents’ management companies whilst campaigning for improvements in legislation governing the leasehold sector. More information on the Association can be found at:

19th June 2019
Principle appoints further property assistant to expanding customer services department
Principle appoints further property assistant to expanding customer services department
Principle Estate Management has recruited a new property assistant for its customer services department as the business continues to grow after 12 months of operations.
Brett Williams launched Principle in Birmingham last year to provide a nationwide property management service and was quickly joined by directors Ian Smallman and Joe Jobson, with the business recruiting a total of 12 people in its first year. 
One of these recruits was Michelle Cox who joined as customer services manager earlier this year, and after winning numerous new contracts Principle has now taken on Daniel Lannon.
Mr Lannon, from Cofton Hackett, had previously been working in the retail sector after graduating from Aberystwyth University with a 2:1 honours degree in 2015.
Ms Cox said: “We advertised locally for this role and had a number of applications, but Daniel stood out.
“It’s fantastic background to have retail experience for what is a customer service role here at Principle, plus Daniel’s good IT skills also made him the ideal candidate.”
Ian Smallman, director at Principle, added: “Principle has grown so rapidly that recruitment is now an ongoing item on our monthly agenda.
“We’re confident that Daniel is going to play his part in ensuring we continue to provide the outstanding customer service that we have become really well known for.”
Mr Lannon said: “I had been looking for a new challenge when this role came to my attention.
“It sounded exciting and something where I can use the soft skills I have learnt in retail and develop into a career as I learn about property maintenance and management.”
18th June 2019
Primas Law urges UK property developers to seek advice about potential stamp duty rebates.
Primas Law urges UK property developers to seek advice about potential stamp duty rebates.

Primas Law is already acting on behalf of a growing number of developers and landlords with potential grounds for recovery on wrongly paid stamp duty land tax.

 Primas Law is calling on UK property developers and landlords to seek advice about potential stamp duty rebates on ‘uninhabitable’ second properties after a landmark tribunal case.

A recent ground-breaking case, between P N Bewley Ltd and HMRC, held that properties that are not immediately habitable at the time of completion do not constitute as a “dwelling” for the purpose of the Finance Act 2003.

According to Primas Law, this finding could have major implications for the UK housing market, as the decision meant that P N Bewley was not liable to pay the additional three per cent stamp duty surcharge applicable to second properties.

It could mean that those who have paid stamp duty on similar uninhabitable properties – including potentially thousands of UK landlords and developers – may have paid an inappropriate level of tax and could seek to reclaim them.

As a result of the outcome of this case, Primas Law is being instructed to act for a large and growing number of landlords and developers seeking to recover stamp duty paid for properties that, potentially, should not have attracted the additional tax.

Daniel Thomas, Head of Litigation at Primas Law, said: “To provide more context to this particular case, the property that P N Bewley purchased was a bungalow and a plot of land in Western-super-Mare.

“The company’s intention was to demolish the bungalow and build a new dwelling on the land with planning permission already being granted. The bungalow was essentially a derelict building that had been unoccupied for around three years. 

“The tribunal was provided with photographs of the derelict building and these demonstrated the heating system, radiators, floorboards and pipework had been removed, and that the property – both internally and externally – was in a very poor condition.

“It was also provided with reports from surveyors that concluded asbestos was present in the property and urgently needed removing.”

On presentation of P N Bewley’s evidence, the tribunal concluded there was no doubt a passing tramp or group of squatters could have lived in the bungalow… we have no hesitation that, in this case, the bungalow was not suitable for use as a dwelling.” 

As a result of this, P N Bewley was not required to pay the SDLT surcharge in this instance.

“This case highlights the importance of developers, estate agents and conveyancers fully understanding the condition of a property, and what potential benefits this offers to a purchaser,” Daniel added.

“It also highlights that developers and landlords who have potentially paid an inappropriate level of tax may be able seek to reclaim the same, if similar circumstances permit. 

“It’s a real landmark case for UK property developers and landlords and adds an interesting new dynamic to the debate. We’re currently acting on behalf of a number of property developers and landlords to help them better understand the risks and opportunities, and we think many more will also be looking into these findings in much more detail. For some, it could be significant.”

Primas Law, which has offices in Cheshire, Manchester and London, is leading the campaign to raise awareness of the potential opportunities.

If landlords or property developers are interested in finding out whether they may be entitled to a rebate due to the uninhabitable nature of a second property, or they’d like to find out what this means to their property portfolio, then please they can contact the Primas Law team on 01928 248 672 or email

Primas Law is a boutique law firm with offices in Manchester, Cheshire and London. It specialises in corporate, commercial; employment and property law and it is focused on “quality as the priority” for hundreds of clients based across the UK. For more information about the company visit

13th June 2019
Leasehold Block Management White Paper reveals 500m impact on UK economy
Leasehold Block Management White Paper reveals 500m impact on UK economy

ARMA (the Association of Residential Managing Agents) has produced a White Paper Report: An Overview of the Residential Block Property Management Sector in England and Wales which reveals that the sector contributes £500m to the UK economy. 

The Report provides a comprehensive overview of the sector, including key statistics such as: market size and tenure, service charges, managing agent industry breakdown, profitably, contribution to UK economy, etc. In a time of unprecedented change in the sector and increased focus on the leaseholders’ voice, it also outlines ARMA’s position on the regulation of managing agents and leasehold reform.

ARMA’s CEO, Dr Nigel Glen, said: “Really, we’ve compiled the Report as a valuable reference tool to help interested parties - either those working directly in the sector or those involved in research - find out more and demystify the sector. The Report contains a rich vein of data, some of which was already available - just not all in the same place - and some from ARMA research and sources further afield”.

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