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Residential leaseholders get an Ombudsman

publication date: Dec 20, 2009
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Surveyors Ombudsman ServiceResidential leaseholders usually resolve disputes through Leasehold Valuation Tribunals and even the Courts but these can be time consuming, costly and some disputes are not subject to the LVT and Court jurisdictions.

The Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) has now made it a requirement that its members must belong to one of the ombudsman schemes for property. They can join the Housing Ombudsman or the Property Ombudsman, ARMA is recommending they choose 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."
Leaseholders in properties managed by ARMA members will be able to take complaints to the ombudsman if they cannot resolve issues with the agent. "It will now be the independent ombudsman who will investigate the conduct of our members," said Brett, "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, adds: "We are delighted that ARMA has decided that its members should join the Surveyors Ombudsman Service. 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."