Gateway Property Management has taken over the Swindon sites of Bovis Homes after Countrywide was given its marching orders last month.
Owing to the intervention of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, Bovis Homes finally lost patience with Countrywide and dumped it at all sites across the country.
Swindon leaseholders had accused the Southend-based property manager of stalling the hand-over of residents’ management companies to the control of residents.
In the Commons, North Swindon Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson accused Countrywide of “ripping off” leaseholders. (Hansard column 2669WH)
Mr Tomlinson said:
“This is a very welcome announcement for long suffering residents and a credit to Bovis to listening to concerns. It is vital Gateway Property Management now work with and for the residents that they represent, something I will continue to monitor.”
Swindon property manager Cherry Jones, of Home from Home Property Management, has been pleading the case of the Bovis Swindon leaseholders for years. She has raised the issued at LKP Commons briefings. Her website is here if Bovis requires another agent.
The decision has come at an awkward time for Countrywide, which has been a long-time member of ARMA.
Countrywide has been asked by LKP whether it has applied to join the new ARMA-Q scheme, which is the new criteria for full membership.
The management company claims to be an ARMA member on its website here, and its PR believes the company is a member.
But if it did not apply for ARMA-Q accreditation by January 1 it is not an ARMA member, but only an associate and cannot claim to be a member or use ARMA’s logo on its publicity.
LKP does not regard ARMA membership as essential for managing agents – most accredited to LKP aren’t members, and it is an organisation broadly favouring larger management companies.
But it is noteworthy, not to say alarming, if a company was a member of ARMA but will not go through with ARMA-Q application procedures.
Curiously, Gateway (which is not an ARMA member) is also based in Southend in Essex, but chief executive Tony Dean emphasises that there is no connection between the two companies.
He told LKP: “We are delighted to confirm Gateway Property Management has been appointed managing agent for a number of developments in the Bristol and Swindon areas on behalf of Bovis Homes Limited.
“We are awaiting the arrival of handover information from our predecessors Countrywide which we are informed should be with us shortly. As soon as this has been received we will of course be in a position to formally introduce ourselves to our new customers and work with them going forward to ensure their expectations are met.
“We are working very closely with Bovis Homes Limited to resolve any issues and will be reviewing the current status of the Resident Management Companies with a view to handing them into residential control as soon as practicably possible.
“We confirm Gateway has no links whatsoever with Countrywide.
“We will do all that we can to ensure a smooth transition and are very much looking forward to being of service to our new customers.”
A job advertisement on the Gateway website seeks an experienced property manager for the Swindon and Bristol areas.