ARMA & RICS what's the point?

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    ARMA & RICS what's the point?

    I am following Leaseholderandwers advice and currently looking for an RICS or ARMA registered property manager.

    I have come to question why such criteria is needed (please don't shoot me!)

    Last year we experienced many problems with our RICS accredited manager (no response to phone calls, letters, neglect of section 20, poor management, poor running of contracts etc).
    I followed their complaint procedure and also complained to RICS. RICS took over 6 weeks to investigate only to write that they had found nothing wrong (despite sending them a lot of evidence).

    I have just spoken to a potential managing agent, they are not registered with RICS or ARMA and said they handle a lot of blocks which used to be managed by accredited managers and who received a poor service.

    So RICS / ARMA - what is the point?

    #2
    Indeed !. My freeholder likes to mention RICS in correspondence but only follows the code when it suits him.

    They are both a bit toothless and pointless IMO.
    Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

    I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

    It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

    Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by andydd View Post
      Indeed !. My freeholder likes to mention RICS in correspondence but only follows the code when it suits him.

      They are both a bit toothless and pointless IMO.
      I did mention RICS in my complaint, that didn't make them act any quicker. They must know it doesn't lead anywhere.

      Comment


        #4
        A member from here has just showed me his LVT case where he mostly won and did point out various breaches of the RICs code to which the FH relied well, its not mandatory.

        Andy
        Advice given is based on my experience representing myself as a leaseholder both in the County Court and at Leasehold Valuation Tribunals.

        I do not accept any liability to you in relation to the advice given.

        It is always recommended you seek further advice from a solicitor or legal expert.

        Always read your lease first, it is the legally binding contract between leaseholder and freeholder.

        Comment


          #5
          Also, out of 5 companies I have contacted using the ARMA directory, only one responded, the other 4 I had to chase.

          Not a good start, you wonder if they really want the business...

          Comment


            #6
            Those complaints may reflect that you are right dissatisfied and while the performance might be pitiful, it was not harmful or negligent unlawful or criminal, or a true breach of the members code.

            Whatever an agent's qualifications or membership are, there are going to be good average and bad. Both ensure that the members do have a certain standard of training and for the client ensure that there is mandatory client money protection schemes, compulsory insurance for professional negligence, a compulsory annual audit ensuring among other things that the client monies are held separately, correctly, and property accounted for. It also ensures that they know what they are doing, even if it might be done poorly.

            In both cases if the internal complaints procedure is not successful there is the option of the property ombudsman. But you are sure of some pretty crucial protections and oversight when it does go wrong, and not when the little firm has spent your money to keep it's sales office open
            or it gets seized by the administrator as it isn't held under section 42.

            Perhaps it might be regarded as major perils insurance rather than fully comp.


            A poor performing agent is not synonymous with either institution but their track record on performance should be, by taking of references, and ensuring that what you agree in a well worded contract is adhered to, or ultimately, you terminate them, even mid contract for cause eg frustration or non performance.

            A failure to respond to a clients communication in the appropriate time and standard is a breach of the RICS members code ( having recently had to have recourse to it to get an answer myself). So I am confused by the statement made.

            Even in the case where you are getting good service you do have the reassurance that the correct procedures are being followed and audited.

            As to enquiries, I can number the email in the hundreds that appear cutting and pasting the lease-advice "what an agent does" and no effort by the client to understand it and apply it to their requirement.

            It sends out a message of we can't be bothered, so why in turn should an agent? In the case of small blocks the income is not that great and a quick look on street view indicates whether the property is work that is of value to both parties and can be serviced.

            As to the RICS code it is just like any code of practice in that it quote some sections of legislation but is intended to set the benchmark which a party should justify why they varied from it.

            Many know how the LVT can vary and are subject to the quality of argument, especially where panels members are lacking in understanding, especially on what are regarded as simple matters when cases are allocated.

            RICS members are from a varied church, from agricultural valuation, to marine surveying, mining and auctioneering, and often specialise. A general practice surveyor doing investment work in the City has no idea what a section 20 is, and their DCF makes my head hurt!

            I will be honest, the principal of a large firm now absorbed into another, described block management as the "arse end of the property business"; anyone auctioning furniture in a tired hotel might disagree,
            but that's the reality.

            Membership is a lot better than nothing when it goes truly wrong.

            You can always do it yourself.
            Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

            Comment


              #7
              Can I just add that these sort of comments do make me rather sad and disappointed. part of the reason being here is to

              1: try and raise the reputation of the sector
              2: repair damage to confidence by the "factory" agents ( eg erinaceous/perveral) do to residents
              3: increase an understanding of resident's rights and obligations
              4: change resident's expectations about what block management and "leasehold logic"

              largely by focusing on the problem and issues.

              There are plenty of sites out there where people can shout and scream, or validate their opinion, but here I would like that someone gets some help or guidance.

              Sad face
              Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by leaseholdanswers View Post
                Can I just add that these sort of comments do make me rather sad and disappointed. part of the reason being here is to

                1: try and raise the reputation of the sector
                2: repair damage to confidence by the "factory" agents ( eg erinaceous/perveral) do to residents
                3: increase an understanding of resident's rights and obligations
                4: change resident's expectations about what block management and "leasehold logic"

                largely by focusing on the problem and issues.

                There are plenty of sites out there where people can shout and scream, or validate their opinion, but here I would like that someone gets some help or guidance.

                Sad face

                Leaseholderanswers,

                I didn't mean to be all moaning and groaning about the industry, I was merely talking about my experience as a resident trying to follow a company's complaint procedure (required by code of practice) which lead to knowhere in our case.

                As far as know a code of practice is there to drive efficiency and best practice throughout the industry and if it is not followed how can the reputation of the industry be raised?


                I might be talking of a problem I have encoutered but I will also be sharing my experience of a good manager when I find one :-)

                For the records, we taylored our enquiry letter to what we want from a Manager following a meeting with all lessees to discuss our requirements. A lot of thought have gone into our correspondence.

                The industry is filled with good and bad everywhere just like any industry.
                I do appreciate you responding to my points and it does make sense about the extra protection/assurances you state.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hi,

                  As someone who has experienced significant problems from a RICS & ARMA registered Managing Agent I thought that I should be fairly well qualified to perhaps reply to you. From what I have found out it would appear that MA's can almost buy themselves an assumed status from these afore mentioned organisations. In my particular experience & as I eventually found out that although the MA in questions website & literature was 'festooned' with how it adhere's to the regulations set by these bodies there was actually clearly No evidence that they used any of the set guidelines - In fact far from it! We found breeches in absolutely everything & most alarming was the way banks Ac's were kept & the way that the yearly end Accounting was carried out for which I won't go in to detail, in fact this MA did n't even have such a thing a complaints procedure & still has not provided one! The net result through ARMA & RICS is that they still allow this MA to manage other peoples properties & collect Service Charge !!!

                  The job you then have is to then prove to these bodies what actually happened which is not easy & even if you do manage it the mediation process is noware near swift & can take a very very long time to get anything at all back. The bad thing about both of these organisations is that they do not 'Police' anything so it leaves you wondering what they are actually for??? I would strongly advise to anyone looking at changing to a new MA to check things out much further & thoroughly then that if you can, i.e. you should really see a good healthy reference book provided to you by them & not just a single letter reference that may come to you only at your address, what you need to see is how the actual developments look that they manage and if it is a good one like the one we did eventually find then they should be only too willing to provide you with that sort of information. By the way the one we are with now is not a member of ARMA or RICS because they mainly they feel that it would even look bad for them to 'buy in' to these types of organisations that they know the other & lets just say'rather unscrupulous' MA's around there path are members of already.

                  I wish you 'Good Luck' with your search.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Having sat through audits each year for a number of years, I would challenge that they are "not policed".

                    The distinction is that the law is there for all to comply with, but the difference is that membership at it's very basic means that there is redress considerable protections and outside oversight.

                    It is far from perfect, but members might well be allowed to continue if they rectify matters.

                    ARMA and the RICS have lobbied for regulation and I am a strong proponent of licencing so that a members record is available to inspect, can be suspended, or revoked. The pint sized Minister for Housing and Cheesy Grins does not agree- I left the recent GLA meeting hearing what the Government had to say about it.

                    I will be frank in saying that being involved in these cases I have found that the quality of argument and the mistaken belief of what a complaint actually is very poor.

                    Examples are the complaint that the service is poor is a contractual not a regulatory matter, and rather than bleating residents should appoint a surveyor or have management audit done, so that the complaint is clear and well argued.

                    It is far form perfect I am pleased that one enormous canker, the second in 5 years has been brought to it's knees for the embarrassment they are.
                    Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      So how can I find out if the companies I am going for have not had hundreds of complaints?
                      If I was to ask how many they have had in the past, would they be communicating this information?

                      One company has refused to provide references as they do not want their clients being swamped with questions which I thought didn't inspire much confidence.

                      In essence, what are the right questions to ask?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Carine View Post
                        So how can I find out if the companies I am going for have not had hundreds of complaints?
                        If I was to ask how many they have had in the past, would they be communicating this information?

                        One company has refused to provide references as they do not want their clients being swamped with questions which I thought didn't inspire much confidence.

                        In essence, what are the right questions to ask?
                        I agree that it does not inspire confidence but put yourself in that position a year from now and you keep getting called....

                        If you can agree commercial terms and service levels, you might ask for addresses to look at the outside of other blocks, and agree to appoint, subject to references.

                        It goes back to earlier posts to understanding what you want from them to ensure that they perform and creating hypotheticals eg

                        if we are spending on repairs how would you check that the work is satisfactory before paying the contractor?
                        how do you ensure the cleaning is up to ( a set) standard and deal with it if it is not?
                        Ask about response times and styles to various issues ( and any charges)
                        Do they have a complaints process?
                        You can work out the compliance issues from the RICS code- ask about section 42 bank accounts and seeing a mock invoice and see if they know about the summary!
                        Talk about the lease and see if they understand the billing cycles
                        One key indicator will be the quality of planning and thinking about takeover. eg set up of records and procuring services.

                        If you go back to the Lease-advice list you can summarise those issues.
                        Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Carine View Post
                          So how can I find out if the companies I am going for have not had hundreds of complaints?
                          If I was to ask how many they have had in the past, would they be communicating this information?

                          One company has refused to provide references as they do not want their clients being swamped with questions which I thought didn't inspire much confidence.

                          In essence, what are the right questions to ask?
                          I would also ask about the handover process from former agent. How does it work? how long will it take? what happens to any ongoing disputes? How will contractors be selected? Who approves work and invoices for payment? What is their process for chasing arrears? Our handover is incomplete after 6 months.

                          We were caught out by massive hike in buildings insurance premium as useless former MA (RICS and ARMA member) was part of large set up that benefited from group discounts. We were also unaware (as a group) of all the previous individual insurance claims that had been made (all to do with water ingress due to blocked drains that were never fixed over many years)

                          Another thing I would check is the notice period - how quickly can you move elsewhere if things don't work out and at what cost?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by TNA View Post
                            I would also ask about the handover process from former agent. How does it work? how long will it take? what happens to any ongoing disputes? How will contractors be selected? Who approves work and invoices for payment? What is their process for chasing arrears? Our handover is incomplete after 6 months.

                            We were caught out by massive hike in buildings insurance premium as useless former MA (RICS and ARMA member) was part of large set up that benefited from group discounts. We were also unaware (as a group) of all the previous individual insurance claims that had been made (all to do with water ingress due to blocked drains that were never fixed over many years)

                            Another thing I would check is the notice period - how quickly can you move elsewhere if things don't work out and at what cost?

                            Hi TNA,

                            Thanks for your input on this.
                            I have answers to most of these points but I need to ask about handover, I wouldn't want this to drag on but considering our current MA, this may be the case.

                            With regards to insurance claims, we have requested this in our s.79.
                            For insurance, it seems to be the other way around for us. We are insured for too many risks that are not necessary for our building and we are hoping that when we shop for a new premium we can save a few £££.

                            We also have a leak which may well be caused by blocked drains, this has been going on for years, luckily it does not affect any of the properties.

                            Notice period seems to be 3 months after a year's contract for all the companies we have approached.

                            Comment

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