The IRPM educates and seeks to professionalise the property management industry for the residential leasehold sector. Each year they hold a fellows meeting which is more of a think tank and explores how the property management industry can better serve its customers. One perennial topic is the constant challenges for any service industry is to overcome prejudice and perception. If you think about NHS, British Rail, HMRC, even the banking industry, the chat in the pub or media coverage can colour your judgement of the service delivery and performance.
It is impossible to have a balanced argument with any negative preconceptions being brought into play. So what is your preconceived perception of the NHS? Is it failing, privatising, a basket case? Do you believe press coverage and anecdote or have you had good experience that you dismiss as not typical because of the wider media coverage.
In the leasehold industry there are responsible managers wanting to deliver good service and manage professionally. Equally there are managers who do not have any desire to professionalise or improve. There is no other arena where so much public money is held without regulation. It has to be right for the property management profession to be regulated. The challenge is getting parliamentary time allocated to bring this into play. When focussed on Brexit and regulation reduction targets it is a tough shout to convince politicians adding a new regulated activity is appropriate.
Training and qualifications exist to show where managers have committed to professionalise and provide quality management services. So recognising the IRPM logo and commitment to training of staff is a way to seek professional managers along with ARMA Q and RICS regulation.
This is not a problem unique to the UK. In the USA there has been a long standing initiative to professionalise property management and to make it a career of choice rather than people falling in to it. This is a never ending mission and one that takes constant reinforcement. How appealing is it to ask someone to join a profession where there is a level of abuse and rage that can be sole destroying. That is not conducive to getting the best out of anyone. But for some they feel it is acceptable if they do not get their way or they are not happy with an outcome to abuse the manager.
Equally it is not acceptable for managers to not reply to emails or fail to deal with things. But in reality we are dealing with real people in real life. Can all leaseholders say they are perfect in their jobs? Have never made a mistake? Well who castigates you? Who shouts at you? Some of the emails I have seen over the years and call made are unbelievable. We all get frustrated with poor service but it is never right to take it out on the individual.
So we need leaseholders and managers alike to get on to the same side of the table and approach matters in a mature manner to keep improving property management services. Working together will be far more effective than conflict and challenge.
Non Exec Chair Leasehold Advisory Service
1 October 2016