North Ayrshire Council Finance & Property Services. Property Factoring Service. Consultation Report

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1 North Ayrshire Council Finance & Property Services Property Factoring Service Consultation Report September 2013

2 Introduction The North Ayrshire Property Factoring Service was developed in response to the Council s requirement to implement the Property Factoring (Scotland) Act Consultation with Owners of Factored Properties Consultation was undertaken on the Property Factoring Service between Monday 15 th July 2013 and Friday 23 rd August The consultation aimed to seek feedback on the draft Statement of Services providing home owners with the opportunity to comment on the layout and content of the document. As the majority of the content is prescribed by the Act there was limited scope to have direct input. A letter was issued to all owners provided with a property factoring service. Included with the letter was a copy of the draft Statement, a feedback form and freepost envelope. The letter invited owners to attend consultation events to discuss the proposed service face to face. The events were held over a number of days at the following locations: Garnock Valley Dalry Beith Kilbirnie 3 Towns Ardrossan Saltcoats Stevenston Irvine / Kilwinning Irvine Kilwinning North Coast Largs West Kilbride Home owners were also directed to the Council s website where responses could be submitted electronically. Wider Stakeholder Consultation In order to raise awareness of the service e mails with a link to the consultative web page were issued to all landlords who are registered in North Ayrshire, all group members on LHS working groups, all elected members, relevant Council managers and other stakeholders. An information sheet and letter was issued to local solicitors, estate and letting agents and a power point slide was devised and displayed in local libraries and other Council offices. The service was also promoted within the local press. The service has also been promoted to a range of stakeholders using existing working groups and forums. The awareness raising presentations will continue upon request to the Property Factoring Team and to date presentations have been made to the following teams / events. Housing Services Strategy & Development Team North Ayrshire Tenants & Residents Network Housing Services Managers Service Development Day North Ayrshire Landlord Forum North Ayrshire Landlord Working Group The following pages provide a summarised overview of the responses received throughout the consultation period.

3 Consultation Responses Response Rate The draft Statement of Services was issued to 2,038 North Ayrshire residents. A total of 461 responses were received. The response rates from the four sub housing market areas are detailed in the table below: Feedback on the Statement Sub Housing No of % Response No Issued Market Area Responses Rate 3 Towns % Garnock Valley % Irvine / Kilwinning % North Coast % The table below provides a general overview of North Ayrshire resident s opinions on the draft Statement of Services. % of Respondents No Comment 82% Agree / Happy with Service 7% Further clarification on service required 6% Do not agree that repairs can be instructed without prior notice 4% People should be able to pay by instalments 1% Do not agree with the service at all 2% Do not agree with the admin fee / fee is excessive 1% NAC does not offer value for money / would like to appoint own contractor 1% Consultation Methods The chart below details the methods used by North Ayrshire residents to provide their views:

4 Owners Summarised Comments & NAC Response Agree / Happy with Service Agree to pay share of repairs cost. Agree with the proposed service (x4). Agree with the service and think it's a great idea. Draft Statement is clear, precise and jargon free. Happy with the draft Statement of Services. I have just had some repairs complete by the Council and have no complaints, the service was excellent. Hopefully this will help home owners, as we had great problems and many phone calls to NAC before we got work done on our roof. I accept the statement. I agree in principle with your draft statement of services from today. I am happy as things are and for the service to progress. I am happy with the factoring service provided by the Council. I am very pleased that this new act has come into place. I am happy to pay my share to have the building kept in a reasonable standard. I find no fault with the Council on any issue and accept that I will have to pay as demanded. I have no issues with NAC factoring service. I am also happy to pay share of any work required to be carried out at my property. In complete agreement with service I think it's great! It all seems very straightforward. It looks a reasonable and acceptable Statement of Services. I've no issue with the content as it reads. It sounds fair enough and clarifies the current position. Read and understood the information provided & agree with everything being said. Read and understood, points clarified. Satisfactory. Seems to be an excellent idea. The Council has always been very helpful and provided me with excellent assistance. The statement sets out my understanding of how things have always worked in the past. The way this has been written it is easy to understand. Think it is not a bad thing. Thinks it is a fantastic idea and has been overdue for a while. Understand what is being said and note that it has always been required to pay a share for repairs. Suggestions for Future Service Development Some residents also noted suggestions for the future development of the service. These suggestions will be noted and investigated further following the implementation of the property factoring service. People should pay a monthly fee for the upkeep and maintenance of the common property, around 50 per month as the main worry is not being able to pay for large repairs. Can the service be made available to the private sector? (x2)

5 Further clarification on service required Owner sought clarification on responsibility for repairs and their title responsibilities. (x12) The service should be means tested if you cannot afford repairs then there should be assistance. Section 6, paragraph 2, appears ambiguous, it should read 'if the Council no longer owns any of the properties in a block, they would no longer act as factor'. I am concerned that I will have to pay for damage caused by antisocial tenants. (x2) Is it possible to have a monthly direct debit paid to an account to cover repair / maintenance costs for the year? I find it worrying that the Council could decide to replace the roof and present me with a bill for it. Think this is a cheek. People might consider paying if the Council took pride in area and made tenants keep their areas tidy. Is compensation available if the Council fail to meet the timescales and this leads to further damage? I would have assumed that any admin fees would be covered by the Council's allocated budget. There is no point having a say as the fee is already decided. Your title deeds set out your responsibility for the common parts of the building. The Council will ensure that the deeds are consulted before bills are issued for payment. The Property Factoring Service ( ) can clarify your title position. There is no grant funding or other assistance available for repairs. The Council's Private Sector Advice Service ( ) can provide advice and assistance on funding repairs to your home. Alternatively, you can contact the Council's Debt Recovery Team following receipt of an invoice to set up a payment arrangement. Thank you for your suggested text amendment, the final Statement of Services has been amended in line with this feedback. Owners will not be charged where it can be proven that damage was caused by vandalism / antisocial behaviour. The responsible party will be liable for the cost of repair. We do not currently plan to take regular payments from owners of factored properties. This is however something that we may look at implementing when the service is established. The Council will contact owners regarding every repair required which costs more than 250 per owner, with the exception of emergency repairs. We will attempt to contact owners regarding every repair however cannot commit to this practice due to limited service resources. The Council will not carry out any major works (for example re roof or rendering) without prior consultation with all home owners. Owners have always had to meet their share of repair costs. The Property Factoring Service reinforces the maintenance obligations which currently exist within title deeds. The Council is committed to ensuring that our estates are well managed and maintained and any issue with an individual tenant should be raised with the appropriate local housing office. The Council does not offer compensation for delayed works. The timescales set out within the Statement of Services are for guidance only. We do however expect that the majority of works will be complete within these times (when work has been consented to by all owners in the block). The Council is currently meeting the cost of the majority of the administration for the Property Factoring Service. The administration fee has been established in order to recover a very small proportion of the costs associated with issuing the annual accounts and consulting with owners regarding repairs. The purpose of the draft Statement of Services was to provide owners with the opportunity to feedback their views and comments on the proposed service. We have collated the responses from all owners and will amend the final Statement of Services appropriately.

6 Do not agree that repairs can be instructed without prior notice I would like to be notified of repairs in advance / do not agree to works progressing without permission. (x21) Following the conclusion of the consultation period the 250 threshold limit will be applied. If you would like to seek your own quotes for work you can advise the Property Factoring Service of this when repairs are reported. We are unable to guarantee that you will be notified of all repairs which cost less than 250, in advance of works being undertaken. Emergency repairs are not expected to cost thousands of pounds as these are made safe when reported and only fully repaired if it is economic to do so. You should always be notified of large bills in advance. People should be able to pay by installments Do not feel that 21 working days is adequate to pay bills / people should be able to pay by instalments. (x8) I do not like the idea that my credit rating may be affected if I cannot pay in 21 days. The responsibility for the collection of payments and the authority to set up payment arrangements for funds due to North Ayrshire Council lies with the Council's Debt Recovery Team. If you receive a large bill for the Property Factoring Service, which you are unable to pay in one instalment, you can contact the Debt Recovery Team who will be able to discuss a suitable payment arrangement. The team's contact details can be found on all invoices issued by the Council. A home owner s credit rating would only be affected if they defaulted on a payment arrangement and legal recovery action has to be taken against them. Payment plans may be available but as noted above must be agreed with the Debt Recovery Team. Do not agree with the service at all I do not agree to NAC acting as my property factor / Factoring fees are not stated within the title deeds for my home. (x6) Some owners hold policies which complete repairs free of charge. I should be refunded for previous works if the factoring service is progressed. The Council has always had a management right to instruct repairs and recover costs in relation to works to common property; this right is set out within your title deeds. The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 states that any local authority who manages the common parts of land used to any extent for residential purposes is acting as a property factor. North Ayrshire Council may therefore act as a factor for your property due to a combination of the title provisions which were applied when the property was purchased from the Council and the implementation of the 2011 Act. Owners should always advise NAC before instructing any works to the common parts of the property, this is set out within your title deeds, as detailed above. The Council will not reimburse owners for the cost of historic repairs. All previous bills have been issued in line with owners responsibilities for common repairs and maintenance as set out within title deeds.

7 Do not agree with the admin fee / admin fee is excessive The administrative costs of 10% seem very high and I question why it is a percentage rather than a fixed fee. (x2) The administration fee should be removed or reduced. (x2) The administrative cost has been set as a percentage so that owners who are only paying for small repairs do not get a larger bill for administration. In order to keep the fee affordable it has been capped at 50. Following the conclusion of the consultation period the administration fee will be applied to all invoices for common repair works. NAC does not offer value for money Will owners be allowed to seek their own quotes for works? (x6) How will the Council ensure that it obtains best value. (x3) The quality of work provided by the council is not the best / I think the Council should offer a guarantee of work. An example list of works included would be useful. NAC will provide owners with the opportunity to seek their own quotes for works provided that they meet our specification and seek permission in advance of works commencing. Where the Council does not complete works using internal tradesmen, contractors will be sought in line with North Ayrshire Council's procurement processes, which ensure best value. You will not receive a bill for any works until these are complete to the Council's satisfaction; however if you are not satisfied with the quality of workmanship to the common parts of your property you can contact the Property Factoring Service who will arrange to review the complete repair and take any appropriate action to remedy any defect. Information on the individual items which are covered by the property factoring service for your home can be found within your title deeds. We expect to undertake the following common repairs: roofing, render, guttering, common footpaths, common fencing, door entry systems, common closes and common drainage systems. Please contact the property factoring service on if you require any further clarification on the content of your title deeds. Other Points Noted I am concerned that in the future a new tenant may not care for the shared garden. Will the Council ensure that all residents in a common close take their turn to clean it? I would like to know what an owner should do when their property is damaged by water from a Council tenant above. The Local Housing Office will be able to assist in resolving any future dispute regarding shared garden areas. We do not intend to enforce that all owners within a common block take their turn to clean the common close. However we would recommend that this practice is undertaken. This may be something that we would implement in the future as the service develops. If any privately owned property is damaged by water from a Council tenant above, the owner of the private property should contact their home insurance company directly. The home insurance company will then pursue the responsible party to recover the cost of any damage caused.

8 Contact Us For more information on to discuss the content of this report please contact the North Ayrshire Property Factoring Service at: The Property Factoring Team North Ayrshire Council Perceton House Irvine KA11 2AL Telephone: E Mail: ayrshire.gov.uk

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