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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13962: Finlay Carson (Galloway and West Dumfries)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 19 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-13566 by Kevin Stewart on 10 January 2018, whether registered social landlords can impose factoring fees on private householders in a shared mixed private/tenanted block for (a) the provision of bad debt write-offs, (b) marketing and (c) office rent, rates or utilities and, if so, under what legislation.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 1 February 2018

It may be possible for a Registered Social Landlord to charge private homeowners factoring fees in a tenement which has mixed tenure.

There are several ways in which a factor can be appointed to act.

There may be provision in the title deeds about a property factor and the powers and duties of any such factor. It is also possible that a factor may have been appointed under procedures laid down in the title deeds or the Tenement Management Scheme contained in schedule 1 of the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004. The Tenement Management Scheme is a default scheme which makes provision for majority decisions by owners in a number of areas when the title deeds are silent or uncertain, including in relation to the appointment of a property manager.

The Property Factors Scotland (Scotland) Act 2011 provides a statutory framework to protect homeowners who receive the services of a property factor. Property factors, including Registered Social Landlords who deliver factoring services to homeowners, must be registered with the Scottish Ministers and comply with a statutory Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct requires a property factor, in a written statement of service provided to owners, to set out a statement of the basis of any authority it has to act on behalf of all homeowners in the group. The written statement of service should also include information on how factoring charges are identified, apportioned and recovered from homeowners.

The Code of Conduct requires a property factor to have a clear written complaints resolution procedure. Homeowners who have complaints about the service they are receiving from a property factor may apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) for redress.

Homeowners can search the Property Factors Register to check whether their factor is registered. Further information about the Property Factor Register, the Code of Conduct for Property Factors, and the First-Tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can be found at: https://www.mygov.scot/property-factors/