But don’t feel any obligation to join on our account!
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.