August 18, 2019

20% of ARMA members ‘walk out over new ethical scheme’

… and if ARMA’s Twitter feed is to be believed, two-thirds of the membership has dropped out

 

ARMAdown20pcAt least of a fifth of the membership of ARMA has ditched the trade association that on January 1 brought in more rigorous membership criteria.

This is the figure reported by ARMA insiders, although many think the fall-off could be far higher.

Although the more rigorous ARMA-Q regime, which was three years in preparation, came into force on January 1, ARMA has repeatedly refused to indicate which companies are members of the organisation.

The only data on membership comes from the ARMA Twitter feed congratulating qualifying companies.

Just over 100 companies have been mentioned since November, which would indicate a catastrophic two-thirds collapse in membership.

This is not likely to be an accurate indication, however.

Three companies – all LKP members, in fact – have not been congratulated, but are members of ARMA-Q. There are likely to be many more.

Congratulatory Tweets are an unorthodox way of announcing membership of an important trade body, but so far this is the only data ARMA has provided.

LKP has repeatedly asked ARMA for a statement on its membership, but receives no reply.

“ARMA is just a shambles,” said one senior property manager. “Preparations for ARMA-Q had been going on for years. It set the January 1 deadline and it should stick to it.

“It is very unsatisfactory to leaseholders and ARMA members that we simply do not know who is a member of the trade body at present.

“ARMA-Q should have been presented as a new dawn for property management.

“How is that going to happen if we make a limp announcement at some point in the future? June has been mentioned.”

The policy of ARMA appears to be to keep quiet and hope more property managers sign up over the year.

Today, Sebastian O’Kelly, of LKP, has written to Michelle Banks, CEO of ARMA, again asking for the membership of the organisation to be made public.

“ARMA-Q aims to improve standards, address leaseholders’ concerns and repeatedly advocates transparency.

“How are those aims fulfilled by declining to state who are members of your organisation? …

“Both LKP and ARMA advocate statutory regulation of leasehold property managers to protect the vast amounts of other people’s money (up to £3.5bn according to the Competition and Markets Authority) that they control.

“If ARMA has lost a considerable number of its members because of its more rigorous ARMA-Q efforts at self-regulation, it could not have made the point more clearly.”

LKP has informed ARMA of one company that was still claiming to be a member, even though it declined to apply for ARMA-Q accreditation by the January 1 deadline.

LKP is also dismayed that ARMA would not clarify the position of Countrywide, the second largest leasehold management company in charge of 100,000 flats.

It declined to apply for ARMA-Q accreditation and therefore was no longer an ARMA member from January 1.

This was a company that had been accused of “ripping off” leaseholders by Justin Tomlinson MP in the Commons last October, and was sacked from all its sites by Bovis Homes.

It was surely of legitimate public interest to know whether it was still a member of ARMA, or not.

ARMA repeatedly declined to address this, and it was left to LKP to make the issue public.

Countrywide’s departure is a significant blow to ARMA. The trade body states that its members manage 900,000 flats, so Countrywide’s departure is a 12 per cent fall.

Now that the DCLG has accepted the figure of 4.1 million leasehold properties, it is clear that ARMA membership, even at its peak, only managed less than a quarter of the leasehold market.

Comments

  1. Michael Hollands says

    ARMA are being very dishonest to the residents.
    On their websites in the section giving information to a Leaseholders, they list around 310 companies as being members.
    Since 1 January every member has to be Q qualified.
    To date they have announced only 105 companies on Twitter as being up to Q standard.
    So there could be up to 205 companies being falsely presented to Leaseholders as being Q certified.
    The situation is a farce and thousands of Leaseholders are being deceived.

    • Michael Hollands has done excellent work on this.

      But I would not attribute dishonesty to ARMA: it is an administrative shambles and a trade body declining to name its members borders on farce.

      It is certainly true that leaseholders can now be misled.

      The shame is that ARMA-Q is a good thing, and I think it is being applied with seriousness.

      ARMA needs to admit it has cocked up the admin, and announce those firms that are accredited. And not on Twitter.

      • Michael Hollands says

        Fair enough it was probably just misleading of ARMA in the first instance, but after being told, warned and encouraged to do the right thing they still persist in misleading the leaseholders
        In my book this then becomes dishonesty.

  2. Michael Epstein says

    Is it not ironic that the very ARMA tweet that congratulates OM Property Management (Peverel/Firstport) on attaining ARMA-Q status has the following attached tweets “INCREDIBLE-BEST STANDARDS???
    Do they have a twitter account by chance? They haven’t responded to any emailsrequesting repairs in months.

    • Michael Hollands says

      Not surprising that ARMA members work to the INCREDIBLE BEST STANDARDS with the Guest Speakers they employ at their big events.
      Justin Bates is lecturing members on “How Members Should Present Their Case at Tribunals”
      Which could mean an incredibly bad experience for some leaseholders in the future.

  3. Michael Epstein says

    I wonder what the atmosphere is like between Sue Petri and Noella Lee who both serve on the ARMA technical committee?
    Sue Petri holds a senior position within Peverel, whilst Noella Lee holds a senior position within Warwick Estates.
    Readers may recall, Warwick Estates fought a brilliant campaign(for which they won a property industry award) when resisting Peverel’s bitter resistance to a RTM action conducted by Century Wharf, Cardiff(which was at the time said to be the largest RTM action in the history of leasehold)
    The loss of the Century Wharf management contract was a huge financial blow to Peverel.

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