Property factors and managers

You could be required to hire a property factor or manager if your home has communal areas that need to be maintained or repaired. All property factors must follow strict standards and you can take legal action against them if they do not comply.

What property factors do

Property factors are sometimes called property managers. They're hired by homeowners in a block to manage and repair the shared areas on the owners’ behalf.

Shared areas managed by factors can include:

  • hallways

  • gardens

  • stairs

  • lifts

Groups of homeowners who self-factor or do their own repairs are not classed as factors.

When you need a factor

If your title deeds say that you must have a factor then you are required to hire one.

In newly built homes, the developer may have been able to appoint a property factor for 3 to 5 years after the property was built.

If you bought your home through the Right to Buy scheme, the council or housing association you bought from may have been able to appoint a property factor. This could be for up to 30 years or until two-thirds of the homes in your block have been sold through the scheme.

Paying for a factor

You must pay your share of:

  • the work your factor arranges

  • the management fee they charge

Landlords are responsible for paying the factor fees of the homes they own.

Every owner has to pay their share of the factor's fees even if they voted against hiring one.

If you cannot pay

Your factor must give you a reasonable time to repay unpaid debts and tell you about debt advice services.

Property factor’s responsibilities

Registration

All property factors must be on the Scottish Property Factor Register. It's illegal to work as an unregistered property factor.

Repairs

Factors must have a way for homeowners to report if something requires repair, maintenance or attention.

Your factor must consider multiple repair options and analyse the costs and benefits of the chosen supplier. This analysis must be given to you if you request it.

If work is cancelled, you must be given information on the next steps and what will happen to any money collected to pay for the work.

Written statement of services

All factors must give you a simple and transparent ‘written statement of services’. It must include details of:

  • their authority to act on behalf of the homeowners

  • the services they will provide and target times for routine and emergency repairs

  • any other services that may lead to extra fees

  • how much their services cost, including details of how and when you will be billed

  • any late payment charges and how to request their debt recovery procedure

  • their complaints procedure and timeframes for dealing with enquiries

  • any financial interest they have in your building, for example, if they’re one of the homeowners

  • how to change or end your property factoring agreement

If there are major changes to the statement of services, an updated version should be sent to you within 3 months.

The property factors code of conduct

Visit the Scottish Government website for the complete property factors code of conduct. This sets out the standards every property factor must meet.

Hiring or changing property factors

Your title deeds might set out the process for this. If not, you can make a decision using the tenement management scheme (TMS).

Normally, your title deeds take priority over the TMS.

The TMS overrides your title deeds if:

  • your deeds have a named property factor

  • it says that all owners must agree before you can hire or change a property factor

In these cases, if two-thirds of the owners decide to hire or change a factor they can do this.

Find a property factor

The Property Managers Association Scotland website has a list of property factors.

Complaining about your factor

Step 1: contact your factor informally

Before formally complaining, discuss the problem with your factor if you can and get any agreement in writing.

This can be a quick and straightforward way to fix issues.

Step 2: send a formal complaint

Your factor must give you a written statement of services that includes information on how to complain.

In your complaint, mention:

  • what the problem is and how you want it to be fixed

  • that you want them to confirm a timeframe to solve the problem

  • that you’ll take further action if your problem is not solved

The tribunal website has three template letters to help you know what to say.

Step 3: If your problem is still not solved

The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) can order your factor to make changes or pay compensation.

The Under One Roof website has more information on complaining and taking your factor to the tribunal.

Last updated: 29 June 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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