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News ARMA guide to leasehold Online tool for leaseholders

To help leaseholders better understand the leasehold system and how it works, the ARMA and the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) have updated and re-launched Living in Leasehold Flats.

The booklet, first published in 2003, gives a general overview of the sector and explains the legal framework in which it operates, as well as the financial and practical details of leasehold. ARMA chairman, Peter Dening, of Pennycuick Collins in Birmingham, believes the booklet is a vital tool for leaseholders. He says: “After the coalition’s shock

announcement last year that they do not plan to regulate the residential leasehold management sector nor introduce important accounting regulations to safeguard leaseholders’ money, it is more crucial now than ever that leaseholders are fully aware of all their rights and the protection that is available to them - quite often this can be more than they think. It was with this in mind that we took steps to update and improve this vital publication which we hope will help leaseholders to further understand the unique system they live in.” As well as providing an

overview of the leasehold system, the Living in Leasehold Flats guide explains the wide range of rights that are available to leaseholders: • Access to information • Consultation on major works and long-term agreements

• Challenging service and administration charges

• Right to Manage • Lease extensions • Buying the freehold • Right of first refusal • Right to vary a lease

Living in Leasehold Flats can be downloaded free from the ARMA website at

Your money back – guaranteed

London-based managing agent Ringley are putting their money where their mouth is and pledging to give unsatisfied customers their money back. The company believes it is the first managing agent to offer a money back service to customers. Says Ringley Group MD, Mary-Anne Bowring, “If you bought a new TV that didn’t work or milk that was off, you probably would expect to get your money back. Well, you can now expect this from Ringley”.

A spokesman for Ringley confirms that, to-date, money has been returned to customers as a result of: missing a scheduled site inspection, failure to re-charge a leaseholder repair, sending out a demand to a homeowner before they received a welcome letter from Ringley and reacting slowly to the need for maintenance works. The company is now focusing strongly on staff training to ensure that these problems do not arise in future.

Online course at special rate for readers

Asset Skills is offering access to its online open learning course in residential block and estate management at a special rate to Flat Living readers. Alongside the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code (which covers the legislative framework governing long leasehold ownership and advises on best practice in management) the course is regarded as a second ‘bible’ for leaseholders and directors of resident management companies. The Residential Block and

Estate Management Introductory Open Learning Course (OLC) covers the statutory framework


within which property managers operate but also addresses repair/ maintenance, leasehold finance, managing contractors and many of the day-to-day issues which face leaseholders, RMC /RTM directors (whether self-managing or not) and managing agents. The course is available

online and contains updates on new legislation, and a “latest news” section. It has been developed to be flexible and allow learning while at work or at home and can also be used as a one-stop reference tool. The OLC provides the knowledge needed for the Institute of Residential Property

Management’s (IRPM) Part I Examination and contains self- check questions with answers and a mini mock exam of multiple choice questions with instant results, which many directors of self-managing blocks would undoubtedly be interested in tackling. Contributors to the course

include: • Association of Retirement Housing Managers (ARHM)

• Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)

• Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA)

• Asset Skills • Chartered Institute of

Housing (CIH)

• National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)

• Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Flat Living readers can sign up to the OLC at the special rate of £65 (£30 less than the usual price) for new orders taken before 30 June 2011 Just order online quoting FL11 when asked for your membership number.

For more information and orders go to: www.assetskills. org/PublicationsServicesand Products/ResidentialBlock Management.aspx

Consumer Focus is launching a new web tool which allows lease- holders to look at whether they could work with their neighbours to take over the management of their building. As part of their work to empower consumers, the Consumer Focus Investiga- tions team has come up with a simple on-line questionnaire, which breaks down the eligibility criteria in the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 in to a series of yes-no questions.

The online tool has been backed by ARMA who will be making it available on its website. For more information go to http://righttomanage.

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