2 Federation of Private Residents’ Associations Newsletter Managing Agents continued from page one
She said the aim was to raise professional standards and quality of service, and there had been a good take-up of the new scheme, introduced this year. In the few days since accreditation opened on November 1, some 50 member firms had already signed up. ARMA expects every one of its firms to be accredited by January 1, 2015, when the system goes live.
(This speech is also available to view in full via a link on our website).
Inspiring Story Gerry Proctor MBE gave an interesting and informative talk on behalf of Engage Liverpool, who have shown how residents’ associations can work together to help not only each other, but also how they can improve the whole locality.
(Further details of this inspiring story can be found via the website).
A packed hall at the AGM
Issue No. 107 Winter 2013 Investigation into Leasehold
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced a study into the residential leasehold property management market.
The OFT is responding to a request for an investigation by FPRA, and FPRA will be making submissions on the scope of the study. If any member wants to be involved in this – please let us know.
The OFT says the market study will cover areas such as maintenance, cleaning, or building work for leasehold homes.
Ahead of its proposed market study, the OFT wants to hear from interested people and businesses about the priority areas of concern that may be preventing this market from working well for consumers. The OFT is seeking views about the scope of the proposed study from anyone who uses or provides residential management services, including trade associations, property managers, consumer groups and individuals.
The OFT is particularly interested in:
• Whether leaseholders feel that they have sufficient involvement in decisions taken about appointing managing agents, and if it is difficult to establish whether the property manager is providing value for money or a sufficient standard of service.
One in six homes inspected by Gas Safe Register (GSR) in Great Britain had unsafe gas appliances.
Now the GSR has created an interactive gas safety map which “identifies the most dangerous postcodes in the country”. You can enter your postcode on their website to see the risk!
Every year carbon monoxide affects as estimated 4,000 people in the UK and GSR advises everyone to have an audible carbon monoxide alarm and to get appliances checked every year. There is a free reminder service on the website to prompt you to get your gas appliances checked. If you tell them when you’d like to be reminded to book a check, they will send you an email telling you how to book one with a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The signs your gas appliances aren’t working properly: • Lazy yellow flames • Black marks or stains around the appliance • Lots of condensation in the room when gas appliances are being used.
Sir Peter Bottomley
Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on gas appliances. By law, all gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register, which replaced CORGI registration. On the website you can find out more about gas safety in your home, how to find a Gas Safe registered engineer in your area, and how to check which gas appliances they are qualified to work on. Go to www.gassaferegister.co.uk
• Whether property managers and freeholders have the same interests as leaseholders in, for example, keeping down costs of maintenance work or buildings insurance.
• Whether there is effective competition, including evidence about how easy it is to switch between providers.
• Whether residents receive good value for money and reasonable quality of service.
• The time, effort and resources required to complain and seek redress.
An important part of the property management market, concerns the management of retirement properties. The OFT is particularly concerned to examine whether residents of such properties, some of whom may be in a particularly vulnerable position, are getting a fair deal.
Cavendish Elithorn, OFT executive director, said: “This market is significant, with as many as five million people living in leasehold properties. Costs can be very substantial and we have been provided with a number of examples showing significant financial impact on individual residents and the difficulty in exerting control over the process.”
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