Homeowner s Handbook

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1 Homeowner s Handbook

2 Page 2

3 Contents 1. Who we are 4 2. Our Property Management service 5 3. Our charges 7 4. Repairs 8 5. Enquiries and complaints 10 Page 3

4 1. Who we are Cairn Housing Association has for over 30 years served a wide variety of communities throughout Scotland offering a range of affordable housing and related services. With over 3,500 homes under management and offices in Edinburgh, Bellshill and Inverness we address housing needs of people in both urban and rural areas, including older people and those who need specialised support. Cairn is a non-profit distributing organisation, controlled by a voluntary Board. We are a recognised Scottish charity and registered with the Scottish Housing Regulator as a Registered Social Landlord (RSL). As a main provider of housing across Scotland we aim to meet local housing demand, nationwide. We strive to put the customer at the heart of all we do in delivering excellent services. The mission of the company is: We will provide good quality affordable homes and services in communities where people want to live. Our offices are open every Monday to Friday, except over Easter and Christmas/New Year. Staff are available any time during opening hours, which are: Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm Friday: 9am to 4.30pm Page 4

5 2. Our Property Management service Cairn delivers a service to homeowners in Coatbridge and in the north of Scotland, mainly around Inverness and Thurso. Services such as reactive repairs to communal areas and the co-ordination of planned maintenance will benefit from the knowledge and experience of our staff. The Property Management service is run by our Finance Team, which is based at our Head Office in Edinburgh. The Property Management Officer is solely responsible for caring for and looking after all owned properties and will be the main contact if any queries or problems arise. We welcome feedback on our service. We send out regular satisfaction surveys to find out the views of those who receive our services. However, we are happy to accept feedback at any time. Complaints can be made in writing, in person, by phone, by or by an advocate acting on your behalf. Our clients At 31 March 2014 the total number of owned properties that we provide a Property Management service to is 2,055. Our service Each property that Cairn manages is governed by common law rules of common interest and common property, the definition of which can be found within the Title Deeds to your property. Cairn deals with repairs and tradesmen, collects shares of communal repair bills, provides a block insurance policy and handles estate management of the properties within the areas previously stated. Page 5

6 Our role as Property Managers The main responsibility of the Property Manager is the general management and administration of the common property or development. The Property Manager s specific powers, duties and responsibilities are defined in the Deed of Conditions, but a summary of these are: To arrange and oversee the maintenance, general upkeep, repair and any improvements required to the communal areas of the property. To carry out minor common repairs up to a fixed amount without contacting the owner and to get the permission of a majority of owners where larger common repairs are required. To maintain and review cyclical maintenance. To organise meetings when required, or as requested by the owner. To ensure compliance by the owner with obligations, prohibitions on use as contained within the Deed of Conditions. To invoice the owners and be accountable for costs incurred on the owner s behalf. To recover outstanding debts by the various methods available under the Deed of Conditions To ensure that all properties managed by Cairn are insured for fire, storm and property owner s liability. Terminating the service If you wish to terminate the service, for example, to move to another property manager, you must have the agreement of the majority of the owners in your area. The majority of the owners must sign to say they agree to terminate the service. The change will be effective from the end of the next charge period. This is to ensure that all repair invoices for the area are received from the contractor and duly billed before the service is ended. Page 6

7 3. Our charges Property Management invoices are issued twice a year. Our management fee is 25 per year, which is there to meet staffing and overhead costs. Property management charges are to be paid by direct debit. Information on how to set this up will be given to you when you buy your property. We will regularly review your account and if any amendments need to be made then we will inform you of this. Insurance premium The block insurance premiums are set fees. The yearly payment includes Insurance Premium Tax collected by the UK Government. Insurance cover runs from 1 April to 31 March. Owners who do not wish to take out the insurance premium with Cairn must provide us with a copy of their policy each year showing the dates when it is valid and what is covered so that we can ensure communal areas are insured to rebuild value should there be a major incident. This is in line with our role of Agent to ensure that all our properties are insured for fire, storm and property owners liability. You must arrange contents insurance separately. If you own, but do not occupy your property, you may need additional insurance cover. Our debt management policy We have a debt recovery process which is available on request. Page 7

8 Things to note If you do not live in your property you must give us your billing address. We need this to get in touch with you. If you don t give us a current billing address it will delay payments and could result in you incurring extra legal recovery costs. When you sell your property your solicitor is required to contact us and request an up to date invoice, which needs to be paid before the completion date of the sale of the property. Your solicitor is required to provide us with details of the new homeowners. 4. Repairs We are responsible for carrying out repairs to communal areas. We do not carry out repairs within the homes of owners. You should report repairs needed in communal areas to us. Call (free from landlines) or (local rate from mobiles) or Our response times for repairs are as follows. Emergency repairs Urgent Repairs Routine Repairs Respond within 2 hours and repair within 24 hours. Repair within 2 working days. Repair within 20 working days. Page 8

9 When large repairs have been reported to us we will estimate each owner s share of the bill and consult with you before any work is carried out. Please note that where Cairn is the majority owner, we will vote to proceed with the works. When an emergency has been reported to us we will carry out the necessary repair without consulting with you. Emergency means any work which is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of the occupants and the public. Cyclical and Planned Common Works We aim to ensure that there is a maintenance strategy that will deliver a high quality and efficient programme of planned and cyclical works to prolong the useful life of our buildings and provide a comfortable living environment for residents. By doing this we will aim to meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard set by the Scottish Government. We always try to balance quality and price when appointing contractors and consultants. Contracts will be openly advertised and, if required, be subject to Official Journal of the European Community procurement procedures. Owners will be made aware of the tendering process and the outcome, and will have the opportunity to scrutinise tender documents. As cyclical and planned works tend to costs more than 2,000 owners will be informed of this well in advance of the programme with an estimate of the share you will have to pay. This will be sent with a consultation slip as majority consent is needed before such works are carried out. Page 9

10 5. Enquiries and complaints Anyone can make a complaint to us, including the representative of someone who is not satisfied with our service. You can make a complaint in person, by phone, by , or in writing. We have a two-stage complaints procedure. Stage 1 We aim to deal with complaints quickly. This could mean an onthe-spot apology and an explanation if something has clearly gone wrong and immediate action to put the problem right. Contact the Property Management Officer at Head Office to make your complaint. We will give you a response within five working days, unless there are exceptional circumstances. If we can t deal with your complaint at this stage, we will explain why. If you are still not satisfied you can ask to investigate your complaint further through stage two. Stage 2 We will look at your complaint at this stage if you are not satisfied with our response at stage one or if your complaint needs detailed investigation. We will acknowledge your complaint within three working days. We will give you our response as soon as possible and within 20 working days, unless our investigation takes longer. Stage two complaints should be made to the Direct of Finance and Investment. Page 10

11 If you are still not satisfied with our decision or the way we dealt with your complaint, you can ask the Homeowner s Housing Panel to look at it. Homeowners Housing Panel Europa Building 450 Argyle Street Glasgow G2 8LH Phone: Equal opportunities We are committed to promoting equality of opportunity and diversity in our role as a provider of housing and related services, as an employer and in all other areas of our business. We believe that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness regardless of their age, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability, marital or parental status, socio-economic background, social class, Trade Union activities or unrelated criminal offences. This list is not exhaustive. In addition to meeting our statutory responsibilities we will promote equality of opportunity and diversity in all our activities by reflecting best practice. Page 11

12 Head Office Citypoint, 65 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5HD North Office Cairn House, 30 Waterloo Place, Inverness IV1 1NB South Office Murdostoun House, 5 Linnett Way, Strathclyde Business Park Bellshill ML4 3RA (free from landlines) (local rate from mobiles) This Homeowner s Handbook is available on CD, in Braille, in large print and in community languages. A Scottish Charity SCO Property Factor PF Page 12

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