Property factors

Last updated: 4 December 2017

Sometimes a group of owners in a tenement may decide to hire someone to take care of the maintenance and repair responsibilities for them.

These are called property factors (sometimes called property managers), and for a fee they can:

  • arrange for annual inspections of the tenement and deal with any problems the inspection reveals

  • give price estimates for one-off maintenance and repair work, ask if the owners want to go ahead with it, then set it up if they do

  • other services, like organising common insurance for the building or contracts for lifts, boilers and gardeners

Appointing and dismissing a property factor

The process for appointing or dismissing a property factor may be set out in your title deeds.

If you can't find the information in your title deeds you and the other owners may revert to the Tenement Management Scheme which has a procedure for appointing and dismissing a property factor.

Registration

Property factors must be registered. It's a criminal offence to operate as a property factor if you're unregistered.

A property factor must follow a Code of Conduct which sets a minimum standard of the service it gives to homeowners

The Scottish Property Factor Register lets you search online to find out:

  • who the property factor is for a certain property address or area of land
  • the contact details of a certain property factor
  • the number of properties a property factor manages at the point of registration

Property factors are responsible for making sure that the information on the register is correct and is in line with any relevant legislation.

Paying property managers

Usually, each property will be charged a regular management fee (every month, three months or six months). They may also be asked to pay into a 'float'.

This float is used to make sure the property factor has enough money to pay for regular costs or small repairs.

You might also be asked to make regular payments to a 'building maintenance fund'. This lets the property factor pay for future repair costs so you don't have to make a large one-off payment in the future.

Complaints

If you aren't happy with any work carried out, tell your property factor. They should investigate and tell you what they've done to solve the problem.

If you aren't happy with their reply (or you don't get one at all), ask about their complaints procedure. A property factor must have one under the code of conduct.

If you think your property factor is breaking the code of conduct or is not carrying out their duties as a property factor, you have to complain to them in writing first and give them a chance to resolve it.

If you've complained in writing and they refuse to help (or take an unreasonable amount of time to do it), you can apply to the Housing and Property Chamber. They will then decide if they want to take the application to a tribunal.