'Avoid RMG at all costs if you can and if you can’t join the Facebook Groups - RMG Residential Management Group rip off people’s pockets and National Leasehold Campaign as excellent sources of advice and support
I became involved with RMG on 24th May 2019, when my son bought a flat in Edinburgh that is managed by RMG.
In Scotland almost all residential property is owned outright, and a factor/manager appointed to ensure the buildings are well maintained and all residents pay an equal share of the costs.
All property factors have to be registered with the Scottish Government and comply with their Code of Practice for Property Factors. There are 7 sections of the code covering: - written statement of services, communication and consultation, financial obligations, debt recovery, insurance, carrying out repairs and maintenance and complaints resolution.
Through my work I have had dealings with other property factors and there are some other pretty bad ones but,in my experience, the arrangement generally works quite well.
I can’t find a single positive thing to say about this company apart from maybe they score high for consistency in how appalling they are. I very quickly started to wonder if they had heard of the Code of Practice or even read their own written statement of services.
The initial issue we had with RMG was that, in spite of corresponding with my son’s solicitors up to the point of sale when they were given his details and they assured the solicitor an account would be set up for my son, we did not hear from them for over 2 months. On my son’s behalf I chased them up about this several times before eventually receiving an invoice on 13th August 2019 for just under £100 for 1 week’s management and maintenance. Naively I thought this was just a mistake as the average monthly charges paid by the previous owner had been £60 and all would be sorted with a quick email. When I contacted RMG about this they told me payment was overdue, as an invoice had been sent out on July 30th 2019, but they would put the account on hold. No invoice was received at the property. They also told me that my son was liable for this payment as the debt was with the property, not the individual.
RMG persisted in trying to extort this money and late payment charges from my son for weeks, even after they had admitted the invoice was issued in error and my son’s solicitor confirmed that the debt lying with the property did not apply in Scottish Law. It seems from the evidence I have that the previous owner had paid what she owed yet they were trying to force my son to pay as well.
This was just the beginning of our problems with RMG and I eventually raised a formal complaint in January 2020, a 4-stage process which took 18 weeks. Their responses at each stage were mostly out with their stated response times, riddled with sometimes hilarious inconsistencies and promises that all of the issues I raised would not occur again as staff would be retrained. I find it very hard to believe that RMG have been managing the properties since 2015 yet none of the staff knew that Scottish Law is different. It was also interesting to note that at each stage money, as a goodwill gesture, was offered, conditional on response by return. I guess it’s much easier to just fob people off with a little cash and hope they will just go away than deal with the issues. At stage 4 I was offered £100 which was promptly increased to £300 ,as full and final settlement, when I said I was not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint and would apply to the First Tier Tribunal. I obviously did not accept and am nearing completion of an application to the tribunal.
To list all the issues that we have had with RMG over the last 22 months would make this an incredibly long post. I have become aware through the RMG Residential Management Group rip off people’s pockets and National Leasehold Campaign FB pages as well as reading publicly available FTT tribunal decisions in England and Scotland and attending a tribunal that a lot of the issues I have been dealing with are common to many:-
Lack of clarity and accuracy in invoices
Charges from outwith the invoice period, sometimes up to a year before the person even owned the property
An inability to provide invoices on time.
Applying late payment charges when invoices have not been received.
Delays in or failure to respond to requests for invoices, tendering documents or explanations of items on invoices or budgets etc.
RMG ‘s claims that have sent out invoices, but they have not been received or have been sent to the wrong address, but they still apply late payment charges
The frequent claim by RMG that they have not received mail sent by homeowners even when it has been signed for. This also applies to emails. There was a lovely moment in the tribunal I attended when RMG claimed not to have received an important email from the person bringing the case. Watching their faces when she produced the email and their own response to it was a wonderful moment
Frequent changes of property manager so there is no continuity and a convenient scapegoat for all previous failings
Information not shared with other relevant departments of the company
Inconsistently applied debt collection procedures
Using their own or associate’s companies for maintenance and repairs etc without going through a proper tendering process
Spending more than the permissible amount on repairs without consultation with homeowners or without explanation if it was an emergency repair
Employing staff inadequately qualified or experienced for the job
I am sure people reading this will have their own additions to this list and if anyone wants to get in touch for support with their RMG nightmare please do so via this blog.