Managing Agent – Friend or Foe?

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The HML Holdings Group of companies is proud to announce that it has reached another milestone – 30,000 units under management.

The HML Holdings Group of companies is proud to announce that it has reached another milestone – 30,000 units under management.

The HML group of companies provides property and estate management services and acts on behalf of resident management companies, right to manage companies, freeholders and house builders across London and the south east. In a world where the property management industry is missing the compulsory disciplines, accreditations and rules of those found in the legal, medical or auditing professions, it is important that leaseholders know that their managing agent has their best interests at heart.

Property management has a similar combination of complexity and necessity for trust. In its simplest form, property managers look after other people’s money with responsibility not too dissimilar from those in the heavily regulated financial services sector. Yet there is no legal authorisation required to operate at any level as a property manager.

Much has been said in the press recently about the property management industry and the need for more comprehensive regulation. With some high profile managing agents being accused of levying unreasonable service charges on behalf of landlords, it pays for lessees to be conscious of where this money is being spent.

Should you trust your property manager?

Excellent progress has been made over the years with codes of conduct (and training) from professional bodies and associations such as RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) and ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents). However, membership of ARMA, and therefore the compliance that comes with membership, still remains optional.

This is worrying given the complexities of running a development and, where a Residents Management or Right to Manage Company is a party to the lease, this is viewed as – a “company” in the eyes of the law with all the associated legal requirements. There are numerous acts of legislation that blocks of flats and the Resident Management Companies, freeholders or Right to Manage Companies attached to them, need to be compliant with. These include the handling and spending of leaseholder funds as well as health & safety and company law.

Recent reports indicate that an increasing number of estate and lettings agents are branching out into the property management business, with little or no experience or knowledge of legislation.

In this challenging fiscal economic environment, the greater awareness that comes with easier communications in this internet age will continue to expose abusive practices from unscrupulous agents. Unfortunately for some, however, this may come too late.

Leaseholders are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available to them through advice organisation websites, such as LEASE and ARMA, which provide free guidance to lessees in England and Wales, and to choose wisely when appointing a managing agent.

The HML Group will continue to actively support regulation within the industry and provide advice to clients and property owners alike.

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Robert Plumb

Sian Lewis
HML Holdings plc
+44 208 439 8529
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