At VFM Property Management we go to great lengths to ensure that our services meet the highest standards. However getting the message about our strong service quality across to potential new clients requires a number of different measures.
So how should potential clients go about identifying good property management companies and how can these firms demonstrate their expertise and standards of excellence ? Experience and qualifications of the management companies personnel are clearly important as are the quality of client recommendations and referrals. However compliance with accepted standards of practice through regulation is key and this can be shown through a firm’s membership of one of the two main bodies who are responsible for residential property block management.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has set the industry wide, accepted standards for many years in the RICS Service Charge Residential Management Code. RICS members ‘Regulated by RICS’ are scrutinised by regulators to ensure compliance. It is unfortunate there are relatively few freehold or leasehold property block management companies or managing agents who are chartered surveyors. There are therefore relatively few who are subject to these RICS inspections and reports.
The RICS has very much taken the lead with this stringent ‘Regulated by RICS’ approach requiring that property management and other ‘Regulated’ members will receive a regular inspection of their work by the RICS This action was further extended, paying particular attention to residential managing agents and other members who hold ‘Client Monies’ on behalf of property management companies or leaseholders.
ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) has recently introduced new compliance controls by implementing the new ARMA-Q regulation procedures which has led to a significant improvement in standards since its inception in 2015. The new regime requires that ARMA Q members will be subject to regulatory inspection visits similiar to their RICS counterparts helping raise standards for all ARMA’s managing agent members.
Whilst I am confident that this higher standard of control is welcomed by most professional firms who comply with current guidelines, there will no doubt be a number of block management companies who will take time to adjust to the new requirements.
As VFM property Management is a member of the RICS, ARMA and The Property Ombudsman we are already well versed in promoting the benefits of good regulatory practice in our service standards. We have always supported the need for regulatory control however it is worth noting that not all management agents require to be members of ARMA or the RICS with some preferring to offer services which are largely unregulated.