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Property factors providing services to homeowners

This advice applies to Scotland

What is a property factor

Property factors manage and maintain the common parts of land or property owned by more than one homeowner, for example the stairways, hallways and lifts in a tenement flat. Similar arrangements can apply for the maintenance of the commonly owned or used parts of residential land, for example the common gardens or amenity areas in a housing estate. This land may be owned jointly by all or some of the homeowners or by someone else, for example, the property factor as a land-owning management company. A property factor may be a private business, a local authority or a registered social landlord.

Who uses a property factor

 Homeowners may:

  • be obliged to use the services of a property factor because it is in the title deeds of the property
  • have agreed with other homeowners to hire a property factor formally through a scheme such as the tenement management scheme
  • arrange the services for the maintenance of common areas themselves (collectively or individually)
  • have no formal arrangement for the maintenance of common areas
  • be obliged to use the services of a property factor for land management services because the factor owns the land
  • be obliged to use the services of a local authority or registered social landlord acting as a property factor, for example where the property is a former social rented property purchased under a tenant’s right to buy.

Code of conduct and duties of a property factor

Some homeowners employ a property factor, for example, for the maintenance of the commonly owned stairways, hallways and lifts in a tenement flat, or of common gardens or amenity areas in a housing estate. From 1 October 2012, homeowners have legal protection when they use a property factor.

Property factors providing services to homeowners must be registered. There is information on registration on the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot.

There is a code of conduct for property factors. This sets out the minimum standards that registered property factors must meet. It also describes the details that must be included in the written statement of services, setting out the terms and service delivery standards of the arrangement between the property factor and the homeowner. The code of conduct is available on the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot .

The property factor must provide a written statement of services to a homeowner within 4 weeks of being asked for it.

Complaining about a property factor

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can consider a breach of the code of conduct by a property factor, or a property factor’s failure to carry out her/his duties. The property factor must be given a reasonable opportunity to resolve a complaint before the Tribunal can accept an application. This means that you need to write to your property factor first, explaining why you're complaining. The written statement of services must have information about how to complain.

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)

There are details of how to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) on the Tribunal website at www.housingandpropertychamber.scot.

Maintenance and repairs

Information about who owns common areas of your building and who is responsible for maintenance should be in the title deeds. If it is not in the title deeds, the rules set out in the tenement management scheme will apply.

Shelter Scotland has information on how to work out responsibility for repairs and maintenance in common areas on their website at scotland.shelter.org.uk.

More information on property factors

There is information on property factors on the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot.

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