6.1 This section of the Code covers the use of both in-house staff and external contractors by property factors. While it is homeowners’ responsibility, and good practice, to keep their property well maintained, a property factor can help to prevent further damage or deterioration by seeking to make prompt repairs to a good standard.
6.2 Property factors may also agree, by contract, to instruct that specific maintenance duties are undertaken by specialist contractors on behalf of homeowners which contribute to fire safety. For example, the requirement in fire safety law to maintain any measures provided in communal areas for the protection of firefighters e.g. firefighters lifts, rising fire mains etc, or to ensure that common areas are kept free of combustible items and obstructions.
6.3 A property factor must have in place procedures to allow homeowners to notify them of matters requiring repair, maintenance or attention.
6.4 Where a property factor arranges inspections and repairs this must be done in an appropriate timescale and homeowners informed of the progress of this work, including estimated timescales for completion, unless they have agreed with the group of homeowners a cost threshold below which job-specific progress reports are not required. Where work is cancelled, homeowners should be made aware in a reasonable timescale and information given on next steps and what will happen to any money collected to fund the work.
6.5 If emergency arrangements are part of the service provided to homeowners, a property factor must have procedures in place for dealing with emergencies (including out-of-hours procedures where that is part of the service) and for providing contractors access to properties in order to carry out emergency repairs, wherever possible.
6.6 A property factor must have arrangements in place to ensure that a range of options on repair are considered and, where appropriate, recommending the input of professional advice. The cost of the repair or maintenance must be balanced with other factors such as likely quality and longevity and the property factor must be able to demonstrate how and why they appointed contractors, including cases where they have decided not to carry out a competitive tendering exercise or use in-house staff. This information must be made available if requested by a homeowner.
6.7 It is good practice for periodic property visits to be undertaken by suitable qualified / trained staff or contractors and/or a planned programme of cyclical maintenance to be created to ensure that a property is maintained appropriately. If this service is agreed with homeowners, a property factor must ensure that people with appropriate professional expertise are involved in the development of the programme of works.
6.8 A property factor must take reasonable steps to appoint contractors who have public liability insurance.
6.9 If applicable, documentation relating to any tendering or selection process (excluding any commercially sensitive information) must be made available if requested by a homeowner.
6.10 A property factor must disclose to homeowners, in writing, any commission, administration fee, rebate or other payment or benefit that is paid to them or anyone in control of the business or anyone connected with the factor or a person in control of the business, in connection with the contract.
6.11 A property factor must disclose to homeowners, in writing, any financial or other interests that the property factor has with any contractors appointed by them.
6.12 If requested by homeowners, a property factor must continue to liaise with third parties i.e. contractors, within the limits of their ‘authority to act’ (see section 1.5A or 1.6A) in order to remedy the defects in any inadequate work or service that they have organised on behalf of homeowners. If appropriate to the works concerned, the property factor must advise the property owners if a collateral warranty is available from any third party agent or contractor, which can be instructed by the property factor on behalf of homeowners if they agree to this. A copy of the warranty must be made available if requested by a homeowner.