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First Ombudsman appointed for residential leaseholders

As a result, and in line with Government policy, the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) has now made it a requirement that its members must belong to a fully-recognised ombudsman scheme. While ARMA members can join the Housing Ombudsman or the Property Ombudsman, the recommended scheme for its members is the Surveyors Ombudsman Service (SOS).

"It was a logical step for us to go for SOS as nearly 50% of our members are Chartered Surveyors and SOS was set up by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors for its members," said Brett Williams, ARMA’s chairman.

"Furthermore SOS is already handling cases relating to residential leasehold issues."

In future, leaseholders in properties managed by ARMA members will, after they have gone through the member’s own in-house complaints procedure, be able, at no cost, to take their complaint straight to the ombudsman. If the complaint is found to fall within the ombudsman’s jurisdiction, an entirely independent review of, and decision on, the case will be made. The decision, if accepted by the complainant, is then binding on the member.

"It will now be the independent ombudsman who will investigate the conduct of our members," said Williams, "and will report to us if a member is found to be seriously wanting. We see this step as bringing us to the level of redress that we want to be able to offer to our members’ clients and customers."

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman of SOS, said: "We are delighted that ARMA has decided that its members should join the Surveyors Ombudsman Service. As a professional ombudsman scheme we are happy to welcome any firm which provides services to the property sector. Our members include Surveyors, Estate Agents, Managing Agents and Letting Agents. In such a difficult economic climate it is essential that we work together with the property industry to give confidence to consumers that if things go wrong, effective independent redress is available."

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2 thoughts on “First Ombudsman appointed for residential leaseholders

  1. Robert says:

    Can you advise on the correct charges that should be attributed to a converted house, ie an end terrace house converted to 2 flats, my uncle recently died and we have found over 10 years of high buildings insurance costs, as well as section 20 works equating to nearly £5000.00, service charges etc. and to all ends no services or works have ever been carried out ! , we wish to sell the property but I dont want these people ripping off the new owners, any suggestions would be invaluable

  2. Ms Tarune Patel, 21 Highcroft Avenue, (Ground Floor),
    Wembley, Middlesex. HA0 1TF
    Tel: (0208)782 2224 Mobile: 07904282704
    E-mail: righttomanage_avinyapatel@yahoo.co.uk
    http://WWW.Right to Manage – Avinya Patel

    ARTICLE – Propertytalk Live
    Director Steve Wylie said:
    “The Government brought in legislation eight years ago because it recognised that a huge number of leasehold flat owners were being ripped off by freeholders and their managing agents. This research shows, however, that many leaseholders are still suffering high charges and poor service from managing agents and are unaware of their power to take control. Our Block Administration Services are completely transparent, giving leaseholders full control over the management of their block without any hassle. They direct how their own money is spent and save money as a consequence.”

    •My statement is: Mortgaged properties are bought privately and should be managed by the purchaser and third party should not be allowed to interfere as a freeholder (he has not purchased the property as a Whole
    Transfer under his sole name between the seller/buyer and not allowed to overrule us. Nor has he purchased the whole land!)

    •“To Let” properties are not bought with a mortgage and are managed by Landlords, freeholders and managing agents if appointed. Tenants are
    temporary and pay rent.
    There is a difference to “Bought Properties” with a mortgage that is permanent purchase, rather than considered as a tenant or temporary.
    To protect our rights, the Legislation needs to be changed and amended. Calls for changes to the Leasehold Legislation and Act Law.
    The Legislation was actually amended during 2002 by Royal approval.

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