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TOO MANY MANAGERS SPOIL THE BLOCK?

28th October 2015|POSTED BY: Admin

By Martin Perry, Chairman, ARMA

Last week, I was delighted to be asked to sit on the panel at the National Leaseholders Group Annual Conference, to join in a discussion about improving the working relationship of housing associations and managing agents. Joined by esteemed peers, Steve Michaux from A2Dominion, David Clarke of IRPM and Roger Southam, of Lease, it was certainly a lively panel session, which raised some great points and was well-received by the delegates.

As pointed out by Steve Michaux, it’s all too easy for managing agents to be see housing associations at the bottom of the Section 106 pecking order, and as the ‘curate’s egg’ of clients, but it’s an egg we don’t want to break, considering the £4.2m they pay agents annually to manage their blocks.

When things go wrong, it seems to get very complicated and confused, and the inevitable cracks start to appear in the relationship. As I put forward at the conference, these complications could be avoided if managing agents and housing associations opened up the lines of communication and started to learn from previous mistakes to anticipate problems early on. I believe that a more structured dialogue about roles, responsibilities and expectations on Section 106 schemes, and an acknowledgment of potential problems and how to tackle them could go a long way to creating more effective and efficient working relationship.

Managing agents of course need to try to engage with developers at the earliest possible stage to minimise and mitigate the risk of problems later down the line. We all know that Section106 schemes come with unanticipated problems, but it’s our job to pick up on those and sort them out.

The almost-encyclopaedic nature of our industry, as labelled by Roger Southam, means that more than ever, we must evolve and adapt to changing pressures, and expectations from our clients. In an unregulated sector, we believe that this ability to adapt, innovate and communicate can be fostered through the setting of professional standards, which is why we introduced our new accreditation scheme for ARMA members. The self-regulatory scheme guarantees probity, the highest levels of ethics and best practice in all dealings between managing agents and the leaseholder, promoting a healthier, more constructive working relationship.

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