June 28, 2017

ARMA ends four-month farce after finally saying who its members are …

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ARMA-Q: A long wait ... and then the damp squib of not knowing who the members actually were!

ARMA-Q: A long wait … and then the damp squib of not knowing who the members actually were!

ARMA has finally published a list of its full members – more than four months after making the more rigorous ARMA-Q the criteria for membership.

Until today, the only clue as to who was a member of ARMA was the stream of congratulations posted on Twitter, which began last October.

Now at least the trade body is formally acknowledging its membership.

As public and government re-assurance are the whole point of the ARMA-Q initiative – accompanied by repetitive intonations of “transparency” – the decision to keep the membership secret was very surprising.

Those companies that were ARMA members and are still dithering are only associates, and should not be proclaiming membership by using the trade body’s logos etc.

LKP has broadly welcomed ARMA cleaning up its act with ARMA Q, although the foot-dragging that it has shown by this long-overdue announcement does erode trust.

We would like to thank the efforts of Michael Hollands, who has been pestering ARMA on a weekly basis insisting on some kind of statement.

Of course, no organisation in property management needs to join ARMA, and plenty of good companies don’t bother, or are already members of RICS.

Nor should leaseholders feel reassured that one company is a member of any of these bodies, and another not.

Indeed, Walton & Allen in Nottingham, an LKP accredited managing agent, left ARMA because it was unenthused by the company it was keeping in the organisation.

Following its inquiry into leasehold management, the Competition and Markets Authority has gone out of its way to stress that problems in the sector are just as prevalent in companies signed up to trade bodies as those that aren’t.

Doing so has taken the wind out of the sails of Michelle Banks, the ARMA CEO, whose public speeches referencing rogue operators made the opposite point.

Meanwhile, ARMA has the conundrum of what to do about Peverel / Firstport.

It has admitted some of its property management companies, for example Stonedale and OM Property Management, but has yet to make a decision about the others.

Leaseholder concerns are strongest with Peverel / FirstPort Retirement, the subject of a four-year Office of Fair Trading investigation with a ruling in December 2013 of collusive tendering involving its subsidiary Cirrus.

Peverel / FirstPort Retirement manages c55,000 retirement flats for freeholds owned by the Tchenguiz organisation.

It is the principal funder of the supine trade body the ARHM (Association of Retirement Housing Managers), but had applied to ARMA.

ARMA-Q regulator Keith Hill, a former Labour housing minister, is supposed to be making a decision about whether this application should be continued.

A further complaint has also been referred to Mr Hill concerning Peverel’s ownership of hundreds of house manager’s flats, for which leases were issued in 2009.

Comments

  1. Michael Hollands says:

    The published list of ARMA Q members is not that easy to follow, but there appears to be around 180 qualifiers out of the original 310.
    McCarthy and Stone are now members but are described as MSMS. So I wonder how many of their residents would recognise this. Also McCarthy and Stone do not publicise on their website that they have achieved this status. Which is strange because most the companies who have qualified sing it from the rooftops.

    • Michael Hollands says:

      At the start of the announcement it states that it is a list of ARMA members and associates.
      But later it states it is a list of members.
      So it is difficult to see if the list of approximately 180 companies includes some Associates (non members ).
      To further confuse us it states that all members have to be Q qualified. So I assume Associates cannot be members.
      Perhaps ARMA can explain better what this list of members contains.

    • Michael Epstein says:

      Michael Hollands,
      In addition to the 180 qualifiers for ARMA-Q, I have identified 52 associate members (including Countrywide) who are working towards ARMA-Q. If accurate this would mean that ARMA has lost nearly 80 members. This possibly includes Freemont (headed up by Keith Edgar and Nigel Bannister, formerly of Peverel). They do not appear on the ARMA associate list, and it appears the ARMA logo is no longer on the Freemont website.

  2. Michael Epstein says:

    Michael Hollands,
    Having looked at the list of ARMA-Q members, it does seem rather odd that OM Property is listed (not OM Property Management Ltd)
    Stonedale Property Management is listed, yet Companies House has Stonedale Property Management as dissolved. That said, Pembertons Residential Ltd who are listed as members of ARMA-Q claim that Stonedale Property Management is a “related name”.
    So looking at just three companies on the list of members, one is not the proper name. Of the other two, either one has been double counted, or one simply does not exist?

  3. Michael,

    I have looked at the list of some 180 names that have been accepted as members of ARMA-Q.
    I noted that the way they have been presented, seems an attempt to hide any Peverel Related Companies?

    Is this dishonest of ARMA?

    This is what ARMA stated about the new (Q) added:-

    Why we have introduced ARMA-Q?

    “The leasehold management sector is currently unregulated so anyone can set up as a managing agent and start trading. This has led to inconsistencies in service levels and has dented consumer confidence in managing agents. The truth is that there are a lot of good managing agents out there and we want to make them stand out.

    We remain optimistic that statutory regulation for all managing agents will be the long-term solution. In the meantime, ARMA-Q will benefit anyone using an ARMA member and help raise standards across the industry as a whole”.

    Note: Not a Peverel Company Mentioned?

    Who is
    OM Property Ltd?
    Stonedale Property Management Ltd?
    Pembertons Residential Ltd?

    What links these 3 companies and why has ARMA attempted to disguise and hide Peverel Services Ltd companies?

    I have written to ARMA complaining about Peverel Retirement who refuse to accept that previous Senior Managers had colluded in failing to produce full and complete information regarding Insurance Claims and the Price Fixing Scams that have not been properly investigated by the very Senior Management that were working for Peverel during 2004/05 to 2009/2010 and up to 2013/14.

    Surely if any Peverel Company has been allowed a full membership of ARMA-Q it shows how Self Regulation by ARMA would be seen by many, to have lost all Credibility amongst Leasehold Tenants?

  4. Michael Epstein says:

    Apparently Keith Hill is still reviewing the membership of Peverel Retirement/Firstport Retirement.
    What a dilemma?
    That they have admitted some Peverel/Firsport companies (even a dissolved company) makes it difficult to refuse the admission of other Peverel companies. How could some of the companies under the Firstport banner (sharing common directors) be deemed to have satisfied ARMA-Q qualifications, whilst others have not? And were Peverel/Retirement/ Firstport Retirement not to be admitted, how could it be right that those holding senior positions in a company that does not meet ARMA -Q standards continue to hold senior positions within ARMA?

  5. Michael,

    What a dilemma to have 3 members of ARMA holding Senior Positions at Peverel/FirstPort, can this be true?

    We know that 19 Peverel Companies under Peverel Services Ltd, are separate different Limited Companies, with (shared common directors) so how can one Peverel Company with out Peverel in their name be allowed to become a member of ARMA-Q?

    How is this seen as Open and Transparent?

    What positions do these 3 members hold at ARMA?

    What positions do they hold at Peverel?

    The position of Self Accreditation allows corruption to run amok and who polices the police?

    Where were ARMA when Peverel/Cirrus Pleaded Guilty to Collusion and Price Fixing and also Excessive Commissions?

    Was any of these Senior Peverel Employees part of an Investigation by ARMA into Peverel Management Services and Cirrus Communications Services Ltd?

    Who from ARMA investigated these complaints or were they ignored or swept under the many carpets that Peverel seem to have?

  6. Alex Ellison says:

    For the record, I wrote to ARMA-Q in October 2014 about the issue of Peverel having acquired questionable leases on a large number of flats defined as House Manager Flats. These flats were subsequently mortgaged for £25 million, despite there being clauses in some of the leases which appeared to debar this.
    My complaint in particular was that at two developments Peverel had told the leaseholders that the flats were owned by the landlord and that it (Peverel) would have no financial benefit if the residents chose to move to a non-resident manager – a move which Peverel was actively encouraging.
    In fact it turned out that Peverel had acquired the leases to these two managers’ flats, together with a large number of others across the country in 2009, and stood to make a considerable profit if leaseholders moved from a resident manager to a non-residential one and the flats could be sold. When confronted with Land Registry evidence Peter Whalley, Peverel’s North West Regional Manager, admitted that leases had been created and that Peverel accepted the matter could be ‘open to legal challenge’.
    I have provided ARMA-Q with the evidence to support this complaint and am hoping that Keith Hill will prove to be the person who finally makes Peverel/First Port address this most serious matter.
    Meanwhile, Peverel/First Port are carrying on regardless, knowing it is unlikely that any individual retiree could take on the emotional and financial risk involved in taking this matter to court.

  7. A Reviewer says:

    Quality of Service – a Pretense

    “Quality” does NOT mean Perfect or Best – it means Consistent.

    All Arma have done is to misuse the word Quality. Perhaps even the letter Q.

    Ombudsmen are equally guilty of attempting to use the same word to persuade everyone that they provide a “quality” service. In fact its simple protectionism against which it is pointless to blow the whistle.

    So consistent cover up is the name of the game

    Happy Complaining