Inside this issue: Factoring policy review - your views matter. The costs of being an owner. Our factoring performance

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1 Autumn 2014 Inside this issue: Factoring policy review - your views matter. The costs of being an owner. Our factoring performance

2 Factoring policy review We are currently carrying out a review of our Factoring Policy. This is a document that outlines how our factoring service is provided to our customers. This review is carried out every 3 years to ensure that our Factoring Policy reflects any external statutory changes and any other improvements required. Changes to the policy may alter the way we deliver our factoring services to you and therefore we want to hear your views prior to the revised document being formally considered and approved by our Board. The main changes to the policy since it was last reviewed in 2011 are centred around the introduction of the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 which amongst other things introduced a code of conduct laying out a minimum set of standards that all registered property factors must adhere to. A link to our draft Factoring Policy can be found on our website at From here you will be able to provide us with any comments you may have regarding the policy. We will consider all your feedback as we review the policy. Page 2

3 Insurance cover explained It may be an additional expense which you could all do without, but Buildings Insurance is essential in order to protect your home and finances in the event of unexpected damage to your property. Many owners have this cover in place through Thenue Housing, however others, particularly those living in houses, will have arranged their own insurance. Regardless of who provides your insurance, it is important that you are aware of the type of repair which will be covered under your policy, and others that are likely to incur a cost. A simple way of looking at it is that your insurance is in place for one-off incidents, rather than any damage which has occurred over a period of time. This could include damage to your roof caused by high winds (storm damage), a smashed window following vandalism (malicious damage) or damage to your bathroom ceiling following a leak from the shower in the property above (water damage). In all of these cases and many more, any reinstatement costs should be covered by your insurer, less any policy excess. In the case of Thenue costumers the policy excess is currently 50 per claim, meaning the claimant is liable for the first 50 of any reinstatement costs and the insurance company will pay the remainder. Any owners who have a different policy in place should refer to their insurance company for confirmation of their policy excess. Please note that it is the person making the claim (i.e. the owner of the damaged property) who is liable for the excess. This applies even where there has been damage as a result of a leak from an adjoining property. As well as unexpected one off incidents, your building may suffer damage as a result of general wear and tear and deterioration. Buildings and their components have a life cycle and it is to be expected that maintenance is required on an ongoing basis to ensure your property remains wind and watertight. It should be noted that having Buildings Insurance in place does not mean that you will never incur any maintenance costs for your propertyyou remain liable for any costs incurred as a result of wear and tear on the property. Any owners who are insured through Thenue Housing will have previously been advised of the details of the insurance cover in place including the policy number and insurer s contact details. Please phone our Factoring Officer, Nicola Rankine on if you require a refresh of these details. You should note that we do not provide contents insurance, and each individual owner is responsible for ensuring they have adequate cover in place for the contents of their property. Page 3

4 Who pays the factor? - You do! Imagine you didn t have a factor. Wouldn t that be nice? No more nasty bills dropping through your letter box on a quarterly basis. Now imagine living in a tenement block with rain pouring in. How are you going to find a tradesman? What s it going to cost? How are you going to organise it with your neighbours? How are you going to collect in the money to pay the tradesman? As your factor, we do all the hard work for you and all we ask in return is for you to pay your share of the costs. Some owners choose not to pay for their share of the costs. When this happens Thenue Housing begins a debt recovery process to recover the sum due from them. The process starts with a simple 1st reminder letter. We understand that on occasions our bill might have been overlooked and that a gentle reminder will suffice. This 1st reminder letter will be free of charge but the cost of any subsequent reminder letters from either ourselves or from our solicitors will be charged to your account. If you receive one of these letters do not ignore it - make contact with us. Often we will be able to agree a sensible repayment plan allowing you to spread the cost of our services over a period rather than you having to pay for it all at once. Some owners continue to ignore us after a 1st reminder. When this happens the matter becomes more serious. Further actions open to us are: Raising a court action (we recently instructed our solicitors to take action against 15 owners who had ignored us). Placing a restriction on your property making it difficult to sell before the debt is paid. Applying to a court to declare you bankrupt. The cost of applying these measures is not insignificant and is automatically charged to your account meaning that your debt increases further. When we obtain a court order the consequences can be significant. It means we can legally arrest your monetary assets to the value of the court order. You may also experience difficulties in obtaining credit. The simplest way of making payment is by Direct Debit. Why not give us a call today and set up a Direct Debit to cover the cost of your factoring services? Our article in this newsletter entitled Never Miss a Payment explains the process further. Page 4

5 Online payments We appreciate that many owners prefer to deal with invoices and payments online, as it is more convenient and easy to fit around busy working lives. Online payments are just one of the many payment options available to our customers. You simply need internet access, a valid Allpay payment card and a current bank card. If you do not have a payment card and are interested in using this service, please contact your Factoring Officer to request an Allpay card in your name, allowing you to complete the payment process set out below. How to Sign Up to Internet Payments: 1) Go to Select Sign Up located in the middle of the screen. If you have signed up already, please log in and skip to Step 6. 2) Complete the form by entering the appropriate information into each field. Select Sign Up to continue the process. 3) Enter your 19 digit Payment Reference Number into the field provided. Select Next when you complete. 4) Create a friendly name for your account (e.g. FACTORING). This will help identify the account for future use. If desired, enter a default amount to use when topping up the balance. Select Next when complete. 5) Your account has been created and you can now make payments via the internet. 6) Enter the amount you wish to pay. Select Pay Now to continue the process. 7) Complete the add new card form by entering the appropriate information into each field. You can save your card details for future use at this point. Check the Amount Due is correct and select Continue when complete. 8) Confirm the payment details on the payment summary are correct. Select Pay Now to confirm your payment. At this point you may be requested to verify your card by your card provider. 9) The payment receipt will show if your payment has been accepted. A receipt will be sent to your address. Page 5

6 Never miss a payment Did you know you can pay your factoring account either weekly, fortnightly, 4 weekly or monthly by Direct Debit? As well as allowing you to spread the costs of our services over a 12 month period you can save yourself the hassle of writing and posting cheques or going to the post office or corner shop to make a payment with your payment card. Our Direct Debit scheme is backed by the Direct Debit Guarantee and is administered on our behalf by our payment provider Allpay. Payments will appear on your factoring account the next working day and will be clearly shown on your quarterly factoring statement that accompanies your quarterly breakdown of charges. Your initial payment can be calculated by our Factoring Officer and all we ask is that you monitor your statement and make amendments as necessary to the level of your payments to ensure that your account remains in credit. Please contact our Factoring Officer, Nicola Rankine on How are we performing? Each year Thenue is required to submit performance information to the Regulatory Body the Scottish Housing Regulator. The Regulator then provides us with information which allows us to compare our performance with other landlords operating across Scotland. There are two areas which refer particularly to how we manage our factoring service and these are shown here along with the average performance for Scotland. We are pleased to note our performance in both areas is above average. Thenue performance Scottish average Average Management Fee per Factored property % factored owners satisfied with the factoring service 65% 63.9% Page 6

7 Thenue Contacts Repairs Property Services Area Services Our Repairs Team will arrange to raise job orders for any communal repairs required to your property. If you have more general concerns which may require an inspection of your property, our Repairs Team can arrange for one of our Maintenance Officers to carry out an inspection and follow up as necessary. If you wish to report any reactive repairs, please call and select Option 1 for Repairs, or details including your name, address and contact telephone number to co.uk. Our project officers oversee all cyclical maintenance such as landscaping, close cleaning and gutter cleaning, and will investigate any queries or complaints regarding these services. Any major repairs are coordinated through this team, who will deal with the full tender process, communicate with the relevant owners and see the works through to satisfactory completion. Queries can be directed through the Factoring Officer, or alternatively the team can be contacted direct on Any correspondence relating to major or cyclical repairs will contain a specific contact name and telephone number. The Factoring Officer will liaise with Area Services Officers (formerly known as Housing Officers) regarding any general issues with estate management as well as any matters affecting our tenants, such as anti-social behaviour. Queries can be directed through the Factoring Officer, or alternatively the team can be contacted direct on Any correspondence relating to estate management issues such as close cleaning will contain a specific contact name and telephone number. Sharing owners who have both a rental and factoring account are likely to have dealings direct with their Area Services Officer as well as the Factoring Officer. Page 7

8 Maintenance contracts Your quarterly invoice may contain charges for a number of regular maintenance services. Thenue Housing strives to obtain value for money for its maintenance services through a strict tendering process. In addition the services provided are monitored on a regular basis to ensure that standards are maintained. Regardless of this, we acknowledge that we cannot be on every site all of the time, and therefore we rely on feedback from owners to deal with any service issues that may occur. It is important that any problems or complaints regarding services are reported to the Association immediately. This is because it is easier for us to follow up the issue with the contractor at the time rather than after the event. It is also important that owners know what to expect from these contracts in order to identify whether standards are being met. A brief overview of our main contracts is provided below, however if you require any further information more specific to your property, please contact your Factoring Officer. Landscaping (by Land Engineering) Grass Cutting carried out on a fortnightly basis (approximately- dependent on weather conditions) over the growing season, which is generally April Oct. Litter in open landscape areas fortnightly. Pruning carried out twice per year: Summer prune (April/May) and Winter prune (Oct/Nov). Weed spray - carried out monthly over the growing season (weather dependentdry conditions required). Moss treatment carried out approximately 6 times during the course of the year (weather dependent- dry conditions required for treatment to be effective). Back Court Cleaning (by Land Engineering) Carried out weekly. Bin stores swept. Any overspill litter/rubbish collected. Bulk items removed to collection point for collection by Cleansing Department (flats only- main door properties should refer to the section on Glasgow City Council for information.) Close Cleaning (by Sercon) Floors weekly. Walls monthly. Ceilings (cobwebs) monthly. Doors monthly. Windows monthly. Handrails monthly. Lifts weekly. Page 8

9 Maintenance contracts Door Entry System Maintenance (by Sound Services) All maintenance carried out. Includes cost for full upgrade to fob/magnalock system where applicable. Where upgrades have been carried out, all equipment relating to the system is covered by the contract. Additional charges will apply where damage has been caused by vandalism. Where a system has not been upgraded, we will carry out repairs where parts are available. Should a system become uneconomical to repair we would obtain quotes for replacement. Gutter Cleaning (by The Roof Anchor Company) Carried out annually/bi-annually (some properties have been identified as requiring the gutters to be cleaned each year and others are every second year). Year two of the contract is being carried out during Residents will be notified prior to the works commencing, with leaflets through your door or notification placed within the close by the contractor. The programme can be subject to change due to weather conditions. Other cyclical items such as paintwork will be carried out as identified from survey/requirement. We are in the process of producing a full programme of works for this, which will then be tendered during 2014/15. Once we have the tender information we will be in a position to advise residents of the works that will be required as well as the approximate associated costs. Page 9

10 Glasgow City Council As well as work carried out by contractors appointed on behalf of Thenue Housing you may receive services from other agencies such as Glasgow City Council. As a Council Tax payer, you contribute to services such as refuse collection and maintenance of any roads and pavements adopted by the Council, however you may also be able to benefit from services provided to address specific problems such as dog fouling or antisocial behaviour. Below is information regarding council services and helpful contact information should you wish to raise any issues: Cleansing Weekly refuse collection Contact if you have any queries regarding household refuse and recycling collection Bulk Uplift FREE uplift of unwanted bulk items Special uplift of white good- must be reported to GCC, even for flat owners Bulk collection is suspended over the festive period, usually for four weeks Contact to request a bulk uplift Noise Team Investigate complaints about noise levels which are causing undue disturbance Can issue Warning Notices or Fixed Penalty Notices Contact during office house or Out of Hours Team or Dog Fouling Enforcement Officers can issue on the spot fines and also retrospective fines using CCTV footage and witness statements Report dog fouling and identify owners who do not clean up after their dogs to Clean Glasgow on Communal Stairlighting GCC charge an annual fee to maintain communal stairlighting where lighting has been adopted Set fee regardless of maintenance required and number of visits throughout the year Thenue recharge affected owners each quarter under the description Fact Stairlighting GCC Report any lighting faults on or at co.uk Page 10

11 Information and Getting Involved 87% of respondents in our survey last year indicated that they would like a regular newsletter specifically for owners but less than 30% were interested in an Owner s Forum. A dedicated Owners Newsletter had strong support and this is now the second newsletter we have issued. Despite a minority of respondents expressing an interest in an Owners Forum, we nevertheless feel there is value in establishing a forum to further enhance communication with owners on the factoring service. With over half the owners who responded having access to the internet, we have set up an owners internet forum on our website. Owners can join the forum and can post discussion items and receive responses from us. Similarly, we can use the forum to receive feedback from owners on a variety of matters relating to the factoring service. Log on to to take part! Communicating with you Over half of the owners who responded to our last survey had access to the internet and want to explore further how we might improve communication with owners using the internet, through our web page and also Facebook or Twitter. Why not let us know what you think by ing us at thenuehousing.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Page 11

12 Paying for Your Factoring Services You can pay your for your factoring services by the following methods: By Direct debit. The level of any Direct Debit payment should be agreed with the Factoring Officer who can be contacted by phoning or by to: By cheque made payable to Thenue Housing Association. By Payment Card (issued by our payment provider, Allpay) at various Pay Point locations. (A full list of approved Pay Point sites is available from the factoring officer on request). Online payments (following registration with our payment provider, Allpay). By Debit card at our main office or service centres. By Debit or Credit card over the phone. Please note we do not accept cash as payment for Factoring Services. Thenue Housing 423 London Road Glasgow G40 1AG Tel: Architectural photography provided for this publication by Alan Crumlish Page 12

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