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Government Move to Protect Leaseholders Welcomed

23rd April 2013|POSTED BY: Admin

A Government amendment to the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill that will require residential leasehold managing agents to sign up to a redress scheme has been welcomed by ARMA, the industrys leading trade body.

The decision comes in response to vigorous lobbying in the House of Lords, led by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, and after years of campaigning by ARMA and consumer organisations for statutory regulation of the leasehold sector.

Unlike estate agents, managing agents are currently unregulated so anyone can set up as a managing agent and start collecting service charge money.

The amendment to the Bill is an important boost to consumer rights. It will allow the Government to make it mandatory for all managing agents to offer leaseholders, landlords and freeholders access to an approved ombudsman scheme.

ARMAs chairman, Ben Jordan said: ARMA members are already required to be members of an ombudsman scheme so anyone using an ARMA agent already has this level of protection. Extending this requirement to all managing agents is a welcome step in the right direction and certainly good news for the residential leasehold sector overall. Leaseholders who suffer poor service at the hands of their managing agent will be able to seek effective redress, whether or not the agent is a member of a professional body.

Its also a boost for the professional managing agents who work hard at providing a good service but whose reputation is being damaged by unscrupulous agents operating outside of any controls. However, greater protection is still needed in the sector which is why were introducing our own self-regulatory regime ARMA-Q. Due to be launched in May, this will see our members bound by a Consumer Charter, measured against bespoke Standards and overseen by an independent regulatory panel. Thats good news for consumers and good news for the industry.