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ARMA-Q was announcedin2012

reassuredthatwehavevoluntarilysigned up to alevel of scrutiny that thoseoutside of ARMAhave not. It is very difficult to imagine howany currentARMAmembercannot sign up to ARMA-Q and not face somevery searching questions fromitsclients. Wearedoing allthatwecan to ensure

that our customers are very aware of ARMA-Q.Wehopetheywould notconsider changingtoanagent that is notsigned up andwewillalsobepromoting this guaranteeofprobity andservice with everypotential customer that we talk to. Wearehopeful that leaseholderawareness of ARMA-Q will grow to such a level that the timewill comewhen they simply will notcountenance theuse of anon-ARMA-Q accredited agent. Certainly we will be doing ourbit to help speed up this process. All leasehold flats that aremanaged by a

professional propertymanagershouldbesafe, secure and happy places to live. At the same timeleaseholders should feel they aregetting valueformoney fromtheirservice chargeand are included in the way inwhich their homes andinvestmentsaremanaged. To achieveall this successfully requires

notonlygood communicationskillsand excellent customer servicebut also agreat deal of technicaland legalknowledge.For themajority of companies like ours, this is attained thanks tomembership of ARMA.The organisation nowhas well over 100guidance notesavailabletoitsmemberscoveringareas as diverse as Forming Residents Associations and Refurbishing andModernising Lifts to Accounting for Lessees’Money and Solving Noise Problems. ARMAalso runsawidevariety of training coursesthatweensureall of ouremployees areput through. Oneofthe real challengesofproviding

atruly compliantservice is thatmany areasofthe lawoverlap inmuch ofwhat a


propertymanagerdoes. It is allverywell having an excellent knowledgeoflandlord andtenantlegislation butwithout an in-depth understandingof, say, disability discrimination legislation, theuneducated canquickly becomeunstuck. This iswhere we findARMA’sguidancetobesouseful;itis aimed specificallyatcompanies doingwhat we do. It focuses on a topic such as Long Term MaintenancePlans and provides guidance as to howtoachieve theend resultwhilecomplying with allofthe various areasofthe lawthat applytothe task at hand. Allofthisfiltersdowntoprovide

tangible benefitstoour clientsand those

downto provide tangible benefits to our clients

living in properties that wemanage. The responsibility that we takemore seriously than any other is that everyone going to bed tonightinanapartment that ismanaged by Premier Estates, relies upon us to ensure that they wake up safely in themorning.We aregreatly assisted in dischargingthislife or deathobligation by theinformation that we areabletoaccessasaresultofour ARMA membership. Ourmembership of ARMAalso guarantees

ourcustomers that we areappropriately insured, hold theirmoney in theway that thelaw requires andthattheyhaveaccessto someoneindependent of us in theevent that they wish to complain aboutour serviceand we areunabletosatisfy them.Obviously these


arebenefits thatmany non-ARMAmembers mayalsoprovide.However with anon-ARMA member thecustomerwould have to drill downinto thesethingsthemselves,whereas theARMA“badge”means they don’thaveto; they can take themas read. Sadly, in our experience questions about

insurance, complaints procedures and banking probityare rarely askedwhenblocks arelooking foranew propertymanager. Wesuspectthatisnot becausewecarry the ARMAbadge and so people have no need to ask; instead we have an idea it is because potentialcustomers don’tthink aboutthese things.More often than not the value of appropriate insurance, legallycompliant client accounts andmembership of an OmbudsmanSchemeonlyenter peoples heads after somethinghas gone wrong-whenitis too late to discover that your agent didn’t have such things in place. Weare nowlooking forward to the ARMA-Q

erawithgreat excitement becausefor thefirst timeclientsand leaseholders will be able to judge ourperformance againstapublished customer service charter and bespoke set of standards. Anycomplaints arisingfrom non-compliancewiththese standardswill be independently adjudicated by a former HousingMinister, theRtHon Keith Hill and steps will be taken against any ARMA memberwho flouts the rules. This has to be good forusand forthe end

usersofour services.Soifyou arethinking of appointingamanagingagent forthe first time– or replacing one that has notmet your expectations,make sure you ask the rightquestions andcheck they areARMA-Q certified before youmake a final decision.●

PatrickWard OperationsDirector PremierEstatesLimited

Issue 16 Flat Living

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