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Premier Estates' Ben Jordan is instrumental in introducing new safeguards for owners of leasehold flats

Owners of leasehold flats will get greater protection against poor service from managing agents following the launch of a new regulatory regime.

The new regime, known as ARMA-Q, has received cross-party support, has been developed by the Association of Residential Managing Agents, the industry’s trade body, chaired by Ben Jordan of Cheshire & London based Premier Estates.

ARMA-Q contains a number of measures specifically designed to protect leaseholders.  The most significant of which, is the immediate introduction of independent scrutiny of member agents by a regulatory panel led by former housing minister Keith Hill, supported by nine lay members.

Speaking at the launch of ARMA-Q at the House of Lords this week, ARMA chairman and Premier Estates’ MD, Ben Jordan, unveiled the scheme by explaining “This is the first time that managing agents have been subject to such regulation and further safeguards will be introduced from 2015, when members will also be required to sign up to a consumer charter and professional standards committing them to providing a high level of customer service”.

“Leaseholders should be able to expect a quality service when it comes to the management of their home. If they use an unregulated managing agent, they could be opening themselves up to poor practice. We would recommend anyone appointing a managing agent to choose one signed up to ARMA-Q - a clear commitment to high standards and professional expertise” added Ben.

Baroness Hayter, the Labour peer who helped develop the regime, said it would be a “major force” for consumer protection in the residential leasehold sector.

“There is broad consensus that residential leasehold is an area in which it is important to protect and educate consumers, and raising professional standards is absolutely essential to that process. ARMA-Q will play an important role in achieving that. It rests on comprehensive and unambiguous professional standards backed by independent scrutiny,” Baroness Hayter said.

Baroness Hanham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, welcomed the regime on behalf of the government saying: “Leasehold is an important and growing housing tenure, and also a complex - and at times problematic - one. The government is very supportive of self-regulation by the sector. We therefore welcome the steps that are now being taken to set high standards of service, best practice and probity for members”.

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