How property managers are looking for solutions to the cladding crisis
Earlier this week a national newspaper flagged up managing agents as part of the problem, rather than part of the solution to the cladding crisis. We think this is unfair. In any industry there are practitioners who do not work in the best interests of their customers but as professional property managers we, along with the vast majority of other firms in our sector, have worked tirelessly on residents’ behalf as the myriad fire safety problems in residential blocks have been exposed post-Grenfell.
Managing agents are generally the ones to make applications to the Government’s Building Safety Fund and to commission experts to carry out the investigations required by lenders in order to get EWS1 forms signed off. The first is a long drawn out, complicated process with ever-changing deadlines. And the second is hampered by a lack of available professionals to carry out fire safety inspections and a shortage of contractors to do the remedial work necessary to fix bad buildings.
Inevitably these issues leave leaseholders angry and frustrated; many are also under huge financial stress as a result of the problems in their buildings and this makes matters even worse. Understandably, as most residents’ only point of contact, it is the managing agent who finds him or herself in the firing line for a whole range of problems that are not of their making.
So we are pleased to see that ARMA and the IRPM, the two bodies that represent the interests of property managers, have produced some really useful information around building safety that will help leaseholders get to grips with all the issues involved in cladding remediation and funding. Both organisations have been heavily involved in working with leasehold campaigners and cladding action groups to lobby government for financial help and to change the regulations that govern fire safety in buildings. To help inform flat owners, they have created three types of explainer documents including an overview and timeline of building safety reform, FAQs and some helpful infographics.
You can download and read everything here and we particularly recommend the section titled What’s being done to help leaseholders which details the ongoing time and effort that ARMA and the IRPM are putting in on flat owners’ behalf. This includes writing open letters to Government, engaging with leaseholder cladding action groups on a fortnightly basis and completing All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) surveys.
Property managers are a major part of the conversation about fixing our dangerous buildings and far from making the problems worse, both individual managing agents and the organisations that represent us are working hard to find solutions.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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