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Why some goodbyes are more difficult than others

Last Thursday marked the end of Premier Estates’ Managing Director, Ben Jordan’s time as Chairman of ARMA. Naturally, Ben feels enormously proud when he looks back over his last two years’ in office at how much ARM achieved in their common aim of improving the experience of people who live in flats. Therefore, delivering his farewell speech to 550 delegates – including 25 members of Premier Estates’ dedicated team – at ARMA’s 19th annual conference must have been somewhat of a bitter-sweet experience. 

His number one aim when becoming Chairman was to ensure that ARMA continued to excel as a trade association, a goal which has been successfully achieved. However, one of the most significant events during Ben’s tenure has to be the formation of ARMA-Q. Almost since its inception, ARMA has campaigned for the statutory regulation of managing agents and prior to the last general election it appeared that there may finally have been a political will to do just that. Unfortunately, shortly after the change of government in May 2010, ARMA was informed that the new Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, categorically ruled out statutory regulation of managing agents.

As a result of this and in recognition of the fact that it was no longer appropriate for ARMA members to adjudicate complaints against fellow members, Baroness Dianne Hayter was invited to lead an Independent Review Group. The group had a number of key objectives. It would make recommendations as to how ARMA could establish a self-regulatory regime to improve the quality of managing agents with the overall aim of improving the experience of people who live in flats or apartments. This would be achieved by raising standards in the industry; providing client assurance of ARMA members through giving customers absolute confidence in the system of management, whilst adopting a 21st Century approach. 

Although Ben would be the first to admit that he can’t take full credit for ARMA-Q, his involvement has helped to transform a concept into a reality. All credit for the idea rests with Baroness Hayter and the Independent Review Group that she led. Without going into detail about the consultation process, ARMA-Q opened for accreditation in November 2013. Since then, ARMAs’ members now have something worthwhile to get involved in; and not just for their own benefit, for the greater good of their customers living in flats and apartments. After all, that’s why ARMA-Q was formed. Therefore, as Ben said in his farewell speech at the QEII Conference Centre in London – for members who have no wish to become more professional and don’t want to improve their customers’ experience – ARMA-Q would also like to say goodbye.