News In Focus
Ministers propose revisions to property factors code
Proposed revisions to the code of conduct for property factors have been put out to consultation by the Scottish Government.
The code was introduced under the Property Factors (Scotland) Act, which created a statutory framework providing protections for homeowners who receive services from a property factor. It sets minimum standards of practice for registered property factors in their business with homeowners.
These include requirements for a registered property factor to provide a written statement of service to homeowners and how they communicate and consult with homeowners. The code also includes requirements in relation to financial obligations, debt recovery procedures, arranging insurance, carrying out repairs and maintenance and handling complaints from homeowners.
Following feedback provided to the Scottish Government during an informal review last year of how the code has been operating in practice, as well as relevant decisions and the annual reports of the former Homeowner Housing Panel (now part of the First-tier Tribunal), ministers believe certain requirements in the code could be strengthened and clarified, and changes made to assist the reader's interpretation of the code.
The main proposals include:
- amending the introductory text to provide more clarification of what is and is not covered;
- clarifying the various situations where and when homeowners should expect to be provided with a written statement of service by their factor;
- requiring certain information on a change of factor, and cooperation between the factors;
- requiring a factor to provide information to homeowners of any relevant professional or trade bodies it belongs to;
- requiring a factor to confirm to homeowners its duties under the code, including where the code and decisions relating to compliance with the code are published;
- requiring a factor to provide clear information to homeowners on how they can end their factoring arrangement;
- requiring a property factor to take reasonable steps to ensure that any third parties appointed to act on their behalf are aware of any relevant requirements of the code;
- including a glossary of terms used.
A draft revised code is published as part of the consultation. This would be laid before the Parliament, with or without amendments, before coming into operation. Responses relating to the requirements of the 2011 Act will also be considered and these may inform future policy on whether further amendments to the Act should be explored.
Click here to access the consultation. Responses are due by 15 January 2018.