9 Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011
The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 aims to protect homeowners 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 management organisations whether they are private sector business, local authorities or housing associations.
9.1 The Act has three main elements:
- A compulsory register of all property factors operating in Scotland;
- A code of conduct that sets out minimum standards of practice to which all registered property factors must comply; and
- A route for redress through the Homeowner Housing Panel. Homeowners are able to apply to the panel if they believe that their factor has failed to comply with the Code of Conduct or otherwise failed to carry out their factoring duties.
9.2 Property Factor Registration
Every property factor in Scotland must be recorded in the register of property factors. They must comply with the Code of Conduct for Property Factors. This sets out the minimum standards of practice that property factors must comply with. It is a criminal offence to operate as a property factor in Scotland if registration has not been completed.
Homeowners and other members of the public can use the register to search for details of registered property factors and/or property or land that is maintained on behalf of homeowners by registered factors.
9.3 The Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct requires property factors to have an in-house complaints handling procedure in place and provides for a dispute resolution service for property factors and homeowners if complaints are not resolved. Your factor should provide you with a copy of their complaints procedure and give you details on how to take your complaint to the homeowner housing panel if necessary.
9.4 Complaints and Homeowner Housing Panel
To take a complaint to the Homeowner Housing Panel, homeowners must first notify their property factor in writing of the reasons why they consider that the factor has failed to carry out their duties, or failed to comply with the Code.
Homeowners can make an application to the Homeowner Housing Panel for a determination as to whether their property factor has failed to carry out their factoring duties, or failed to comply with the Code of Conduct if the property factor refuses to resolve the complaint or delays unreasonably in attempting to resolve it.
If the Homeowner Housing Committee, which considers the application, considers that the property factor has failed to comply with the Code or failed to carry out their duties, then a Property Factor Enforcement Order must be made requiring the property factor to take such action or make such payment as is considered necessary. Failure to comply with such an Order is a criminal offence.