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About the Act
The primary objective of the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 (the "Act") is to create a statutory framework to protect homeowners who use factoring services by providing minimum standards for property factors. All provisions of the Act came into force on 1 October 2012 and apply to all residential property and land managers whether they are private sector businesses, local authorities or housing associations.
The Act has three main elements:
- A compulsory register of all property factors operating in Scotland. Registration helps to ensure that property factors are aware of the relevant standards and comply with them. It is a criminal offence to continue to operate as a property factor in Scotland if unregistered.
- A code of conduct that sets out minimum standards of practice with which all registered property factors are statutorily obliged to comply;
- A route for redress to the Homeowner Housing Panel (HoHP). The HoHP is an independent judicial body which is separate from Scottish Ministers and Local Authorities. Homeowners are able to apply to the panel if they believe that their registered property factor has failed to comply with the code of conduct or otherwise failed to carry out their factoring duties. Before making an application to the HoHP, homeowners must notify their factor in writing of their complaint and allow their factor an opportunity to resolve the matter. The code of conduct requires factors to have an in-house complaints handling procedure which homeowners would be expected to follow.
Unregistered Property Factors
All property factors are required to register. Failure to do so is an offence under the Act.
Anyone can check if a property factor is registered by searching the register.
Enquires about a property factor's registration and/or information relating to unregistered property factors can be sent to the Property Factor Registration team using the Property Factors Mailbox. It would be helpful if enquiries could include the property factor's name, address, details of any persons associated with the property factor and their contact details. This will assist any subsequent enquiries.
What information does the register provide
The register can be used to search for details of registered property factors and/or property or land that is maintained by registered factors on behalf of homeowners. The accuracy of the information held on the register is subject to the following caveats
- It is the responsibility for each registered property factor to ensure that the information it provides for display on the register is accurate within the requirements of the Act.
- It is the responsibility for each registered property factor to ensure that their list of properties and land factored is updated each year by 30 June. The infomation they must provide relates to the previous financial year. For example by 30 June 2016, registered property factors should update their property and land portfolio which they factored between April 2015 and March 2016.
The information currently held on the register therefore may (in some cases) not be “live”. This means that at any given time, a property or land record listed on the register may no longer be factored by that property factor and conversely it may not show a property or land record which is currently factored.
Role of Scottish Ministers in maintaining the register
The compulsory register of property factors is maintained by the Scottish Government. This principally involves
- deciding whether an applicant should be entered on the property factor register including the application of a ‘fit and proper person’ test;
- ensuring that the required payment for each approved application is received from the applicant prior to the property factor being registered;
- considering any proposed changes by property factors to information included on the register;
- monitoring compliance in relation to property factors completing their annual property and land portfolio update;
- considering and pursuing enforcement action where a property factor is failing to comply with the Act.
If you require further information on any of the above items, please contact the Property Factors Mailbox.
Last updated June 2016