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Complaints Procedure

All ARMA members must offer access to an independent ombudsman scheme where unresolved disputes can be addressed. Since October 2014, this is now a legal requirement for all managing agents. They must also have a published in-house complaints procedure.


As a trade association, we are not in a position to deal with complaints about our members directly. We need to remain fully impartial so as not to jeopardise the outcome of any complaints made.

What we can do is ensure that complaints are handled well by our members. It is a condition of ARMA membership that all members must have a published internal complaints handling procedure that is fit for purpose.

A further condition is that all ARMA members must belong to a recognised independent ombudsman scheme. So if leaseholders are not satisfied with the way an ARMA member handles a complaint they can go to an independent ombudsman at no cost.

This means complaints are handled independently and leaseholders can be confident that there is no bias. If an ARMA member is found to have breached our bye-laws the matter will go before our independent Regulatory Panel.

How to make a complaint

STEP 1: Follow the member's in-house complaints procedure

If you are not happy with the service you have received from an ARMA member then you should first of all ask for a copy of their in-house complaints procedure.

Complaints will be dealt with internally by the member firm either by their complaints department or a designated individual.

Members have eight weeks to resolve the complaint.

STEP 2: Go to the member's ombudsman

If the member fails to address or resolve the issues within the eight week period then you should contact the members ombudsman. Details of the relevant ombudsman will be shown in the members complaints procedure or on our website.

If both parties agree, or the issue is deadlocked, the complaint can be taken directly to the ombudsman at any time within the eight-week period.

Before you complain

Its worth checking out who the landlord is and who has overall responsibility for the management of your property. If its a residents' management company (RMC) owned by the leaseholders, then you should take up the issues with the directors of the RMC first in most cases. It will help in the long run if you are able to demonstrate that the directors support the complaint.

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Q & A

What kind of complaints will the ombudsman investigate?

The ombudsman has the power to investigate ARMA members who breach the Association's professional requirements. They may look into:

  • Lack of communication
  • Failure to respond to reasonable requests for information
  • Not delivering promised action or services
  • Disputes over contractual matters between ARMA members and their clients
  • Issues relating to management handovers
  • Accounting matters
  • Clear and proven breaches of the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code
Are there any issues that the ombudsman wont take on?

The ombudsman can exercise discretion but usually will not be able to deal with complaints that:

  • Relate to managing agents who are not members of their scheme
  • Have not exhausted the eight week period through the members in-house complaints procedure (and, where appropriate, independent mediation if it has been offered)
  • Relate to property owned or controlled by a residents' management company where the member can demonstrate the board of directors are content with their services - although any instructions from this board must have been lawful and proper
  • Require the interpretation of leases where the parties to a lease are in dispute over such interpretation
  • Relate to insurance issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the Financial Services Authority
  • Are sub-judice
  • Are subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts or Tribunals on matters of fact, reasonableness, financial recovery or compensation
What kind of action will ARMA take?

It will be the duty of the independent Regulatory Panel to take disciplinary action against members. They will review all ombudsman decisions. ARMA itself will remain totally impartial from any decisions taken.

The Regulatory Panel will have a number of sanctions to impose on members who are found to breach the RICS Code and the high standards ARMA expects from its members.

They will be able to:

  • require the member to undertake training
  • require an apology with acknowledgement of a specific action to be taken to remedy a complaint
  • issue a formal warning by letter
  • impose administration costs and fines
  • suspend a member from membership for a specified period and on conditions
  • permanently expel a member from ARMA

All disciplinary action will be published on ARMAs website.

My managing agent is refusing to send me their complaints procedure. What can I do?

It is a condition of ARMA membership that firms must have a published complaints procedure and make it available if asked. If your managing agent is refusing to handover their complaints procedure then you should contact ARMA by emailing us at Alternatively go directly to the relevant ombudsman.

How can I find out which ombudsman my managing agent is signed up to?

This should be made clear on the member’s complaints procedure. If not, you can find out by visiting our search for members page and looking up your managing agent.

Members may belong to one of three ombudsman schemes:

Ombudsman Services: Property
PO Box 1021
0330 440 1634

The Property Ombudsman Limited
Milford House
43-55 Milford Street
01722 333306

Property Redress Scheme (PRS)
Ground Floor, Kingmaker House
Station Road
New Barnet, Hertfordshire
0333 321 9418

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