ARMA conference 2017: Managing OUR Future
Posted on 19.10.2017
Hillgate Management attended the 22nd ARMA (Association of Residential Managing Agents) Conference. Having been one of the initial members at ARMA’s conception, while operating as Chelsea Property Management, it is evident it has come a long way. The 2017 conference being held 22 years later in the Park Plaza Westminister Bridge as opposed to a motorway café off the M4. The event was excellently organised, a great place to meet other people in the industry, had relevant discussions and speeches on stage (The panel session on Commonhold was particularly good – for a managing agent nerd like us). But what really was evident was what we could do to make our services and its costs clearer for our clients.
After dramatic intro music and slightly OTT vignette, the opening address was given by Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in light of the Grenfell Tower disaster which has brought into question Managing Agents and their practises. He collectively called us (ARMA members/associates) “the good guys” and while all this back-slapping is endemic at any industry meeting it was nice to feel recognised for endeavouring to do the right thing for clients and their buildings. The Rt. Hon. Sajib was championing a white paper issued by the government to find evidence of bad managing agents practise, I link to the BBC article below. And we as responsible agents cant wait for this to happen, exposing poor or corrupt or devious managing agents is only good for us and other ARMA members/associates.
However just waiting for the bad firms to be weedled out will take time, we need to demonstrate why we are better. It is evident just by looking through the comments section of the above BBC article, that almost no one actually understands what we do as residential managing agents and where the management fees go – if people don’t see what their money is being spent on I can understand the fees feeling unfair or unjustified.
To improve our clarity at Hillgate we are looking to write further articles on our blog regarding how service charges are budgeted, how much actually goes to the managing agent and why additional fees are charged to try and give some transparency to our clients of how we operate.
If you feel you don’t understand your service charges as one of our clients please get in contact, we would be happy to walk you through how they are budgeted and why. If you are not a client of ours, but would still like information, stay tuned as we will be publishing a “A Guide to service charges”, “What we do (as managing agents)” and “What are additional fees” over the coming weeks.