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The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 was passed as law by the Scottish Parliament in March 2011 and it came into force on 1 October 2012.
The law was developed to regulate property factors and provide a more transparent relationship between them and the homeowners. It aims to protect homeowners by providing minimum standards for property factors. It applies to all residential property and land managers whether they are private sector businesses, local authorities or housing associations.
The Act requires registration of all property factors including private businesses, housing associations and local authorities. Clackmannanshire Council is registered as it provides factoring services to a number of homeowner properties which are within estates or buildings owned by the Council.
The Council has been factoring many properties since they were sold to the homeowner, primarily because the Council retains ownership of the common parts of the building and has a duty to protect the condition of its housing stock, where there are still Council tenants in the block.
The main group of people affected by this new service are approximately 1,000 homeowners who live in flats or houses which were bought from the Council, but only where there are common or shared parts.
As a property factor, the Council is required to provide any factored property owner with a copy of the statement of services. Copies are available to homeowners on request.
A factor is an organisation which maintains or manages common property for residential use. This might be the general fabric of a building such as the roof, exterior walls or guttering.
Services received by homeowners, which can include the management and maintenance of common parts of properties used for residential purposes. This includes regular planned maintenance of the common parts of the property and organising and carrying out repairs to major components such as the roof, chimney, exterior walls and foundations.
The Act creates a legal framework designed to protect homeowners who receive property factoring services.
The Act has three main elements:
Homeowners who have bought their flat from the Council under the Right to Buy legislation, or who have subsequently acquired a former Council flat, and there are common areas within the block of flats where part of the ownership is retained by the Council. This could extend to common stairs, drying greens and roofs, however this list is not exhaustive.
Hmeowners being factored by the Council will receive information advising them of the details of the service by the end of this year.
Under the code of conduct for factors they are required to provide a statement of services to each homeowner being factored. The statement of services sets out the terms and service standards of the factoring arrangement.
Approximately 1,000 properties previously owned by the Council will be affected by the new legislation. At this moment, we do not have the figure for the number of owners who will receive factoring services from a housing association or a private company.
Yes, regular planned repairs and maintenance will be carried out and recharged the appropriate share of the cost, as set out their title deeds. This would apply to any repair and maintenance work required to the building in respect of any common parts. This system of recharging has been in operation for some time.
Due to the level of administrative work involved in factoring the Council will charge an administrative fee for undertaking factoring services on relevant properties. Details of the administration charge can be found in the written statement of services.
Private Sector Housing Team, Housing
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000