Managed Living Partnerships – Achieving ARMA-Q compliance with Qube PM
Managed Living Partnerships was set up in 2009 with a strong customer focus and has since grown rapidly. After two years of using an alternative property management and accounting system, they chose Qube PM. As well as greatly improving their processes and delivering greater efficiencies, our solution has also helped the company become an industry leader by being one of the first to achieve compliance with the ARMA-Q standard.
About Managed Living Partnerships
Managed Living Partnerships is a London-based residential property management company with a difference. For several years, Richard Kozak and Nigel Glen were directors of a residential management company at a large development (135 units) in Central London and were not receiving the service they wanted, having tried a number of managing agents over a sustained period. In response, they founded Managed Living Partnerships with a blueprint to “provide the sort of service that was missing from the industry”. They now have 27 clients, manage around 1,000 units and continue to grow rapidly.
At the heart of their ethos is offering a client-focused, award-winning managing agent service. As an example, Managed Living Partnerships promise to respond to all enquiries within two working days, and create pre-prepared board reports ahead of meetings (including financial summaries, a thorough breakdown of budgets vs actual, any variances of note, and any decisions required). These measures ensure clients are fully aware of the latest developments without having to dedicate huge amounts of time to their role as directors.
Helping people solve complex leasehold issues – many of which have been put into the “too hard” basket by previous agents for years – is a key part of the company’s approach. “We are very proactive on our clients’ behalf,” explains Nigel Glen, Director of Managed Living Partnerships. “For example, on taking over a site we noticed that one block was splitting an annual £7,200 gas bill and £3,000 boiler maintenance charge between four flats as a part of the service charge. After taking a closer look, we found the gas was out of contract. A tender saved nearly £4,000 per annum. Investigating further, it became apparent this was due to a very old system that had no thermostat or timers, and was left running 24/7 throughout the year.
“Instead of taking the easy route and replacing like with like, we asked a large number of contractors to suggest alternatives and explored the latest technologies. In this case the communal system was replaced by four domestic boilers, but using the same pipework. The new system now costs just over £2,000 in gas and £360 in maintenance annually, so a significant reduction of nearly £2,000 per flat per year and a payback period of under four years. At all stages the leaseholders were included in the decision making process – after all it was their money we were spending.”
Choosing Qube PM
Shortly after the company was first set up in 2009, they implemented a new accounting system. After two years, it was deemed unfit for purpose. “We felt our old system wasn’t as user friendly as it could be and the support offered wasn’t cost effective for us so we decided to change,” explains Nigel. “We knew people who used Qube PM and spoke highly of it so it instantly appealed. But we made sure we investigated a full range of suitable suppliers and this time – with experience behind us – we knew which features were the important ones. It has proved to be very user friendly and the software support is excellent.”
After being a Qube Global Software customer for three years, Managed Living Partnerships is well placed to assess the benefits of the solution.
“Qube is really well known across the industry, which is useful when hiring new people.
We advertise for jobs asking directly for Qube experience and have found excellent candidates.”
Nigel Glen, Director of Managed Living Partnerships
Simplifying new client instructions
The ability to upload information directly from spreadsheet format to Qube PM is a major benefit. “We were almost frightened to take on large properties with our old system as it was a very manual process but Qube PM has completely removed this fear,” says Nigel. “PM allows us to upload data quickly, efficiently and accurately directly from Excel. The whole process is easy.”
The benefits of Qube PM’s accounting and financial management functionality
Qube PM’s accounting functionality has had a knock-on effect for the rest of the business. “Qube PM takes care of all our transactional accounting and financial reporting requirements,” says Nigel. “The beauty of this is that it frees up our accounting team to do what we pay them to do!
Qube PM’s purchase order functionality is another key benefit for the company. “Qube PM takes care of all aspects of the purchase order procedure, making granting approvals easy and the whole process intuitive and straightforward,” says Nigel. “The system is easily searchable, which means it’s simple and quick if our accounts team needs to look into any payments or suppliers.”
Qube PM also allows Managed Living Partnerships to provide complete transparency when it comes to its service charge calculations. “The system makes explaining and providing a breakdown of a service charge cost to our clients easy,” says Nigel. “This is a really useful feature – unsurprisingly, it’s something our clients are very interested in. We’re happy to take time explaining to people exactly how their service charges are broken down, which they really appreciate.”
One of the first to achieve compliance with the ARMA-Q standard
Managed Living Partnerships was one of the first three managing agents in the country to achieve the ARMA-Q standard, an Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA)-led initiative to raise standards and service quality across the industry (see above for more information). “ARMA is great because it demonstrates that we are an industry-leading company that adheres to a rigorous code of practice in terms of management and transparency,” says Nigel.
A successful system with strong support
The company has also been impressed with Qube PM’s ongoing customer support. “For us as a growing business, the support offered is crucial,” says Nigel. “If ever we have an issue, we’ll call up the support team and they’ll solve the problem, coming onto the PC if needs be to help. Overall, Qube PM is very customer-focused and offers really good support.”
Managed Living Partnerships is extremely satisfied with its decision to use Qube PM.
“We chose Qube PM initially because we believed in it and it has completely delivered.
It’s respected in the industry and makes winning and doing business easier, while continuing to deliver new features.”
Nigel Glen, Director of Managed Living Partnerships
ARMA-Q and Qube
With a large number of Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) members currently applying to achieve ARMA-Q standards, our consultants have been studying the standards in detail. As a result, our Qube product incorporates all the functionality to help them adhere.
What is ARMA-Q?
According to ARMA, ARMA-Q is the “new self-regulatory regime for ARMA managing agents. It aims to raise standards and quality of service across the residential leasehold management sector – hence the ‘Q’ for quality.” The new charter primarily aims to improve consumers’ service and – to support this goal – incorporates an independent regulatory panel, a consumer charter and a range of standards specific to managing agents.
The ultimate goal is to raise the overall standards that apply to ARMA members. Consumers who choose to work with these organisations therefore have greater assurance regarding the service they receive. All ARMA members are required to meet the standards and operate according to the principles contained in the charter from January 2015.
How does Qube aid compliance with ARMA-Q?
Qube, which is used extensively by leasehold managers (over 60 ARMA members including those with the largest unit numbers), has all the tools to enable users to comply with ARMA-Q. Specifically, its sophisticated accounting and reporting functionality ensures accuracy and helps to increase customer service levels
“To be a member of ARMA and to achieve ARMA-Q status, you need to demonstrate robust and accurate accounting procedures.
For this, you need a strong system – which is exactly what we have in Qube PM.”
Nigel Glen, Director of Managed Living PartnershipsDownload the full case study
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