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OFT proposal to examine property management backed by ARMA

3rd December 2013|POSTED BY: Admin

Todays proposal by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to launch a market study into residential property management has been welcomed by the industrys trade body, ARMA.

The OFT has announced its intention following complaints of over-charging and poor quality of service by some managing agents.

It follows years of campaigning by ARMA and consumer organisations to introduce statutory regulation of the residential leasehold management sector.

The absence of regulation means that anyone can set up as an agent and start managing peoples homes. They dont need relevant qualifications or experience.

This makes it very difficult for consumers to work out which firms are offering good value for money. The result is inconsistent service levels and low consumer confidence.

ARMA has already taken steps to combat this. It is in the process of introducing its own self-regulatory regime called ARMA-Q. Due to go live in early 2015, the new regime will introduce a number of consumer protection measures including a consumer charter and bespoke standards. ARMA members will have to comply with these standards, which promote honest, fair, transparent, timely and professional conduct.

Michelle Banks, ARMAs chief executive, said:

This is a welcome announcement from the OFT which should promote the need for consistently high standards across the residential leasehold management sector.

Ultimately we believe that statutory regulation is the key. In the meantime, our self-regulatory regime, ARMA-Q, will boost consumer confidence. But we can only regulate our members, not those who operate outside of any controls. We hope the OFT investigation will highlight what needs to be done to make property management a reliable market.