Statement of Services

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1 Statement of Services Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011

2 Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 Statement of Services What is the Property Factors Act? The Property Factors (Scotland) Act of 2011 is a new piece of legislation which affects all homeowners who receive factoring services. The purpose of the legislation is to provide more protection for homeowners who receive any such factoring services, whether from a private organisation, local authority or registered social landlord. Who are Clackmannanshire Council factoring? Clackmannanshire Council provides factoring services to owners in mixed tenure blocks where the Council continue to own properties or have a share in common areas of the block(s). What is included in this document Section 1 Section 2 Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Section 6 Section 7 Section 8 Section 9 Authority to Act as a Property Factor Services Provided Finance and Charging Arrangement Communications and Consultation Arrangements Homeowner Responsibilities Ending the Factoring Arrangement Privacy Notice Contact Details How to get a Copy of Your Title Deed 1. Authority to Act as a Property Factor a. The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 (the "2011 Act") defines a factor as a private business, local authority or housing association which manages or maintains land (including buildings) which is owned by two or more persons (or, in the case of land owned by a local authority or housing association, by them and one other person) for residential purposes. b. Clackmannanshire Council has the authority to act as a property factor to properties in blocks where we continue to own properties or have a share in common areas of the block(s). The Council has taken the lead in ensuring that proper maintenance and repair has been carried out to common parts of the property and plans to continue this role where it holds an interest within any such properties. c. The 2011 Act requires that all property factors (whether private or public) register with the Scottish Government. The 2011 Act also requires that all property factors provide all factored homeowners with a written statement Property Factors Registration Number PF000327

3 of services. This sets out information to homeowners on services, charges, communication and homeowner responsibilities. d. The main purpose of the Council's factoring service is to preserve the state of repair of the blocks, as the Council is under various duties to its tenants, and as the local housing authority. General reactive repairs and regular planned maintenance will occur as required without consultation. In the case of expensive works being required to maintain the integrity of the building, homeowners will be notified when their share of the cost is expected to exceed 250 (exclusive of VAT) for the repair. Below that level, the work will be progressed without prior consultation. e. The properties affected in Clackmannanshire by the 2011 Act are primarily former Council properties which were originally sold by the Council under the Housing (Scotland) Acts, and more commonly referred to as the Right to Buy. These properties are primarily within tenement buildings which include a mixture of private homeowners and homes where the Council is the landlord and contain common or communal property within the building which is shared amongst the residents. The title conditions imposed by the Council under the Right to Buy include a clause stating that the Council is authorised to proceed with maintenance and repairs to the common parts of the building and to issue bills to homeowners for their share. For purposes of this statement of services, the term homeowner refers strictly to individuals who own property in a mixed tenure building, in which the Council continues to own a property or properties. f. The 2011 Act does not replace or amend any existing legislation or the enforceability of the conditions within homeowner title deeds, but rather enhances the rights and protection available to homeowners. Existing legislation, such as the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003, Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 and Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 continues to remain in full force and effect to deal with any rights and responsibilities surrounding maintenance and repair issues for homeowners. The Council's Private Housing Assistance Scheme provides information and advice, practical assistance and financial assistance to homeowners for both their own property but also for common property. 2. Services Provided a. The factoring service provided in general is not a marked change to the service currently provided by the Council to homeowners in mixed tenure blocks. The core services to be provided to homeowners are the management, maintenance and repair of common property within the building where their property is located. These services are to ensure that the fabric of the building is maintained for all residents in the building. The Council has an internal Property Contract Units (PCU), which will carry out a repairs service and the majority of regular and planned maintenance. If a specialist or large repair needs to be undertaken, we may contract these services to private contractors. Property Factors Registration Number PF

4 b. There are a variety of different specific services provided to homeowners, however as the Council has around 5,000 properties within its stock, this list is not exhaustive. Below we provide a brief description of the different services and how often they will be provided to the common parts of the building: i. Regular Planned Maintenance The Council has a regular maintenance schedule (every 5 years) for all the properties which it owns and, where a privately owned property shares common parts with Council properties, the entire building will receive regular planned maintenance on all common property. Regular planned maintenance includes an initial inspection and then repair of items such as roof, guttering, painted surfaces, walls, common windows and doors, close areas, foundations, chimney, stairways and paths. ii. Reactive Repairs Generally reactive repairs to common parts of the building involve exterior walls, foundations, roof, guttering, common windows and doors, close and common areas, paths, stairwells, and common drainage and water repairs. When the Council becomes aware that common parts of the building need repairs, it will instruct repair works to be undertaken accordingly (refer to the title deed for the property which provides authority for this work to be undertaken by the Council). Often this work can be handled quickly, but sometimes the repair can require specialist workmen and be expensive. If a repair is expected to exceed 250 per property (exclusive of VAT) or take substantial time to be completed, the homeowners will be contacted and informed of further actions. Target times for repairs is available on ClacksWeb. iii. Mixed Tenure Special Services In addition to repair and regular planned maintenance, the Council may also provide special services in some types of buildings (e.g. close and stair cleaning, window cleaning). These types of services may not be available in all building types at the moment. Special services may be provided as needed, or on a regular schedule. Property Factors Registration Number PF

5 c. Charging schedule for services The Council will be charging homeowners for all the factoring services they receive to the common parts of their building. The charges will relate to the types of services listed above at section 2 B. The Council will charge for services as and when they are provided. The Council reserves the right to review the way it charges and may choose to implement a different charging arrangement or alter charges in the future for services, but will notify affected homeowners in writing beforehand and will publish the details on ClacksWeb. i. Cost basis for services The cost for the services will be based on the cost of labour, materials and a management fee comprising the cost for managing all tasks and administrative costs. If tasks require initial inspection and subsequent tendering for the work, project management and site supervision costs are included in the cost of the service. ii. Homeowners' share of cost of service The number of residents who benefit from the common parts of the building are responsible for paying their share of the costs. The cost of the management and maintenance services are shared between residents, with the proportion to be paid allocated under the homeowner's title deeds. Homeowners should consult their title deed to ascertain their responsibilities and the proportion of the share of any costs. iii. iv. Reactive repairs which are dealt with on an urgent basis and occur outwith normal working hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) may occur a higher charge. Urgent repairs are required when there is danger to health, building safety is at risk or a major inconvenience to residents. The call out for emergencies to make a property safe in non-work hours is charged at a minimum of 100 per call, as this requires the Council to call out staff on a standby basis. An administrative cost will be included within the total cost of all services. This 10% administrative cost will be charged to all services. The minimum administrative charge will be 10 and for works estimated to be over 2,000 per owner, the administration fee will be discussed with the owners at the outset. It will, however, be proportionate to the level of work required on the particular project. v. Value Added Tax (VAT) All services provided to homeowners will include VAT on their invoice at the standard rate. The VAT rate is set by HM Treasury and is currently set at 20%. Should this change in future, the new Property Factors Registration Number PF

6 rate will be reflected in any invoices sent out from the date of any change. 3. Finance and Charging Arrangement a. When and How To Pay Factoring charges will be sent to the homeowners after repairs have been completed. Payments are due upon receipt of an invoice. There are several ways in which the homeowner may pay, including: 1. in person at a Council office, a CAP or most libraries, 2. by telephone, by calling , 3. online, using the Council's website or, 4. by cheque, sent to the Council at: (Freepost RSSC-EKB) Clackmannanshire Council Lime Tree House, ALLOA FK10 1EX All payment methods are explained on ClacksWeb b. Timescales for Payment All invoices for factoring services are due upon receipt. If payment is not received after 14 days, a reminder will be sent out to homeowners. If invoices are not paid on time, a further late payment fee may be applied to the bill, in line with the Council's Debt Recovery Procedures (see below). c. Charging Period Invoices will be prepared and sent following the provision of factoring services to homeowners. The annual statement of services and charges will be provided following the financial year which ends on 31 March. Homeowners can expect the annual statement in early May. All services will be charged as they occur. A future review of this procedure may alter the method of charging and the period, but each homeowner will be notified in writing to inform them of any proposed changes. d. Share of Costs An owner's share of any factoring services for their block is determined by the relevant clause in their title deeds. If the title deeds do not provide for the sharing of any costs for common repairs, their share of the costs will be apportioned as provided in the Tenements (Scotland) Act This legislation sets out a default statutory regime where common repairs are not dealt with in the title deeds of properties (whether factored by the Council or not). Property Factors Registration Number PF

7 e. Debt Recovery Procedures The Council has established policies and procedures for recovery of all debts owed to the Council, including debt due to non payment for services provided by the Council. If payment is not received by the due date, in the first instance, the Council will contact the customer about payment. The corporate debt recovery policy (available on ClacksWeb) sets out how the Council will deal with customers who have not paid their invoices, including offering a variety of payment methods, supporting customers experiencing difficulties, and working with customers, services and external partners in supporting customers with their financial affairs. f. Additional fees and charges (Late Payment Fees) Invoices to customers which are not paid by the due date may incur a late payment fee of 10% of all amounts owed below 400 (in line with the level of compensatory payment set down under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act 1998). If the amount owed is greater than 400, the debt will be passed to Legal Services for collection, which may result in the amount due being collected through sheriff officers or the courts, with the costs of any action being recovered from the homeowner. The Council may register a notice over the property, which may affect the owner's ability to sell their home. If a homeowner is unable to pay the full amount by the due date, it is their responsibility to contact Clackmannanshire Council to discuss payment options. g. Change of ownership procedures for payment/billing When the factored homeowner sells or transfer their property, they will need to inform the Council (Private Sector Housing Team) as to the final date of their occupation and the name of the new owner. This requirement is so that a final invoice can be prepared for the departing owner and details of the new owner can be recorded. The seller will be required to make payment upon receipt of the final invoice and statement for the year to that date. h. Annual report on services and charges (or when the property is transferred) Each homeowner receiving factoring services will receive an annual report on charges and services received up to 31 March. This will be provided with the annual bill in May, for the 12 month period from April one year through to March of the next year. This will detail the work carried out, payments made and any balance outstanding. A special report and invoice will be generated for homeowners who are selling or transferring their property for the final date of their occupancy. Property Factors Registration Number PF

8 4. Communications and Consultation Arrangements a. Communication channels Clackmannanshire Council has a range of methods for homeowners to contact us (see Section 8). The preferred method of contact is . Additionally, the Council can be contacted by telephone or via ClacksWeb. If neither of the above methods are suitable, the Council can also be contacted by mail or by fax. You may also contact the Council in person at our libraries, CAPs and offices, however not all our contact points may be able to deal with your query directly in the first instance. b. Out of office hours emergencies During out of office hours, calls to the Council will be answered and, if required, repairs to common areas will be undertaken on an emergency basis. Out of hours calls should be made to the Housing Services helpline number or the general Council number c. Consultation on repairs and maintenance activities In general, repairs and maintenance to common or shared parts of the mixed tenure blocks will be undertaken as required, however we aim to undertake the follow activities: Regular planned maintenance Prior to the start of the regular planned maintenance on a block of flats, we will write to all the property occupants and then keep them informed of the progress. Repair Activities When expensive repairs are required to make the property safe and watertight, all homeowners will be informed of the works required and be engaged in the process of undertaking the repair of common property. d. Complaints Homeowner complaints on factored services will follow the normal Council procedures (available on ClacksWeb). Stage 1 Frontline Resolution Once a complaint is lodged, the Council will try to provide a decision within five working days. If the customer is not satisfied with the decision, they may proceed to the stage 2 process. Property Factors Registration Number PF

9 Stage 2 Investigation If the customer is not satisfied with the decision, or the complaint requires investigation, further investigations will proceed. The customer will receive an acknowledgement letter within three working days of a decision for further investigation. A decision will be made within 20 working days, unless there is a clear reason for extending the time scale. Stage 3 Application to the Homeowner Housing Panel If the customer is not satisfied with the decision outcome from the stage 2 investigation, the homeowner may apply to the Homeowner Housing Panel. This panel was created by the 2011 Act specifically to respond to complaints by homeowners who feel their factor has refused to resolve their complaint or have taken an unreasonably delayed attempt to resolve them. Instructions for application to the Homeowner Housing Panel will be included with the Council's decision letter from the stage 2 investigation. To reach the Homeowner Housing Panel either follow the link or use the contact details below. Homeowner Housing Panel Europa Building, 450 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8LH Tel: Website: 5. Homeowner Responsibilities While the Council has a wide range of responsibilities to homeowners in a mixed tenure block of flats under the 2011 Act, owners also have responsibilities in the factoring relationship, due to the obligations set out in their title deeds. a. Building insurance A homeowner in a property which shares common property with other homes must have buildings insurance. All homeowners are responsible for having buildings insurance on their property. The level of insurance cover is set down in the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 (Prescribed Risks) Order 2007, which is broadly consistent with the common risks under a buildings insurance policy. The level of cover should, as a minimum, cover the cost of the reinstatement of your property, which may or may not be greater than the market value. The Council advises that you should always take professional advice prior to taking out such a policy, as we are not able to provide this to you. Section 18 of the 2004 Act sets out the duty on each owner within a tenement block to take out an insurance policy, and s18(2) allows this duty to be discharged by means of a block policy. This must be up to date and Property Factors Registration Number PF

10 available for our inspection, if requested. Owners are also required to have building insurance within the terms of the title transfer by the Council under the Right to Buy. If a repair is made to common property which could be claimed under insurance, the individual homeowner must make the claim to their insurer for their portion of the costs. b. Reporting problems to common property As one of several residents within the mixed tenure block, an owner has a responsibility to report problems to the Council (as the property factor) within the common property. This can be reported to us by calling A delay in reporting common problems usually results in more expensive repairs in the future, so reporting problems early is likely to be to the benefit of all homeowners. c. Paying bills on time Homeowners are under an obligation to pay all bills for services rendered to common property in respect of where the owner has a share in the maintenance and repair. This will be clearly stated in title deeds. As stated in the Finance and Charging arrangements, all invoices are payable on receipt. d. Respond to correspondence and participate in any consultations with the Council or its representatives Homeowners are encouraged to engage with the Council when we are consulting about factoring services and, in particular, large scale common repairs. By failing to respond to letters or other communications, this will increase the length of time before a repair is undertaken and could lead to an increase in the cost of factoring services. In order to provide an efficient and effective factoring service, the Council relies on homeowners being proactive and responsive to all correspondence. e. Notify Clackmannanshire Council of property/ownership changes In order to provide the best service to homeowners, it is necessary that we have correct information on the ownership of the property. If ownership changes, the owner must contact the Council and inform us of the transfer of ownership. Keeping us notified will ensure that correspondence dealing with factoring services goes to the correct party, and that outgoing owners are not charged for any services carried out when they were no longer the owner. If the property is transferred, it is important that a final statement of services and charges is provided at that time and that all future correspondence goes to the new owner. Property Factors Registration Number PF

11 f. Cleanliness of common property A homeowner who shares common property, has a responsibility to share in keeping the common areas (drying area, close, path, etc.) in a clean and tidy condition. Failure to take a share in maintaining the tidy appearance of the common areas may result in increased costs to an owner, if the Council (as the factor) needs to maintain these areas. g. Maintenance of own property The Council is not responsible for an owner's property and will not provide free maintenance or repairs. The Council will only factor the common property, shared with other residents, in the building. The Council's Private Sector Housing Team will provide information and advice to homeowners regarding the repair, maintenance or improvements of their property. Information on the Council's Private Housing Assistance Scheme is available on ClacksWeb. 6. Ending the Factoring Arrangement Although the Council is required to register as a factor under the 2011 Act, it also carries out regular planned maintenance, repairs and renewals due to its position as a co-owner under the title deeds and in its statutory position as the local housing authority. As a result, it is generally not possible to remove or replace the Council as a factor for your property. Once the last property in a block is sold, the Council no longer has a share in the block and will therefore no longer provide factoring services from this point. We will inform owners of this so that fellow owners can make alternative arrangements. 7. Privacy Notice The 2011 Act requires all factored properties be listed on the Scottish Government website. This notice is to make owners aware of the requirement for their property address to be made available. We are not required to provide information on the property owner, solely the property address which we are factoring. In order to properly operate as a factor and to ensure homeowners meet their requirements, the Council has to process personal information about an owner. This will be done in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in line with the Council's policies and procedures. Owners have a right to access their own personal information held by Clackmannanshire Council. An owner wishing to make a 'subject access request' for information relating to us acting as a factor, can request this information in writing (including ) to the general address below. More information on how Clackmannanshire Council handles its personal data responsibilities is available at Property Factors Registration Number PF

12 8. Contact Details To contact the Council for factoring related issues, use the following addresses. Other addresses may be advised in the future on our website at Factoring by Clackmannanshire Council ClacksWeb To report a repair or issue with condition of common property contact: Housing Repairs helpline Tel: (option 1) or Council Contact Centre Tel: For general enquires about factoring or to inform us about a change in property ownership contact: Private Sector Housing Team Housing Services Tel: How to get a Copy of Your Title Deed All homeowners should be aware of the responsibilities contained within their title deeds with respect to the upkeep, repair and maintenance of any common property. The Council does not hold copies of title deeds but owners can get a copy of their title deed from: The Solicitor who acted on their behalf when the property was purchased or; The Registers of Scotland at: Edinburgh Customer Service Centre Meadowbank House 153 London Road Edinburgh EH8 7AU Tel: Glasgow Customer Service Centre Hanover House 24 Douglas Street Glasgow G2 7NQ Tel: Please note that there may be a charge for this information. If you require the information in this Statement of Services in large print, Braille, audio or in another language please contact us on or call into our Lime Tree House office. Property Factors Registration Number PF

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