About Property Factors & Management Services
WHAT IS A FACTOR?
Your Factors are professional Property Managers who work with you and the other co-owners in your property/development. They organise common repairs and maintenance such as cleaning, gardening, etc. These are the parts of the building that do not belong to you exclusively, for example – if you live in a flat this will include your roof, exterior walls and entrance or any shared amenity areas.
DO WE HAVE TO PAY FOR A FACTOR, NOBODY TOLD ME OF A FACTOR WHEN I PURCHASED MY PROPERTY?
In terms of the developers planning obligations, there is a requirement to make provision for the future care and management of the communal parts of the development. The Deed of Conditions provides for the initial appointment of professional managing agents. You may well have been advised of this burden by your Solicitor, prior to purchase. Common areas will be a shared ownership between you and the rest of your neighbours within the development. No matter the type of property or development, if there are common parts then each owner has a legal responsibility for repairs, maintenance and upkeep of these areas and has to pay their share. They cannot opt out.
WHAT IS A DEED OF CONDITIONS?
A legal document outlining your responsibilities/obligations in terms of the title of your property. Your solicitor should provide you with a copy of this document at the time of purchase. It is important that you read this document.
WHAT IS A FLOAT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY THIS?
This is a one time payment/deposit of an agreed sum, normally set out in the Deed of Conditions, which allows the factor to pay tradesmen’s accounts prior to issuing common charges accounts to the owners. The factor requires a working fund to ensure efficient payment of generally recurring services. As this fund is constantly utilised there is no refund of interest.
WILL I EVER GET MY FLOAT BACK?
Yes, when/if you sell your property. As part of the conveyance your solicitor will contact us to seek information on common charges and at that time your account will be apportioned (up to the date of sale) and your float accounted back to you.
WHY DO WE HAVE COMMON INSURANCE?
By having a block policy we can ensure that all parts are covered, in case of a major claim such as fire or a flood. Additional benefits are that it would all be dealt with as one claim, with one excess payment and under one loss adjuster / contractor. It also normally works out cheaper for everyone.
I ALREADY HAVE BUILDINGS INSURANCE, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY THE FACTOR?
In terms of the Deed of Conditions, each owner is obliged to contribute to the cost of the common buildings insurance policy. It is likely that your private insurers will consider a premium refund, once you explain your obligations as a joint owner.
IT WAS MY NEIGHBOURS FAULT WATER LEAKED AND BROUGHT DOWN THE CEILING, WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY THE INSURANCE EXCESS CHARGE?
In terms of the policy cover, the onus to pay any excess lies with the claimant, regardless of the nature or cause of the insured incident.
ARE CONTRACTORS DIRECTLY EMPLOYED BY YOU?
No, we operate an approved list of contractors where there is strict criteria that they have to work to provide a good level of service and value for money for our clients.
MY FRIEND OWNS A CLEANING COMPANY AND I THINK THAT THEY WOULD DO A BETTER JOB OF CLEANING THAN THE CURRENT CONTRACTOR. CAN I JUST TELL THEM TO TAKE OVER?
It is not that simple. We operate strict criteria for approved contractors and as such any potential contractor would have to comply with all of the requirements which include appropriate insurance and health and safety certificates.
HOW OFTEN DO I PAY?
We will send out common charges accounts four times per annum (every three months). The invoice will include for any common repairs, gardening costs, management fee, etc. They are paid in arrears for tradesmen’s accounts and other expenses run up on your behalf. Insurance premiums are a one off payment and will be invoiced annually.
WHY IS MY NEW BILL MUCH HIGHER THAN THE LAST ONE?
It is feasible that bills will fluctuate. This will be dependent on the specific services actually carried out during the accounting period.
WHY IS IT OTHER MANAGERS ARE CHEAPER?
We ensure our clients get value for money. That is a priority! However, repairs all have to be carried out properly and in accordance with health and safety requirements. This can sometimes mean that it is more costly for basic items of maintenance such as the cleaning of windows and repairing gutters, etc.
THERE IS AN ITEM ON MY ACCOUNT FOR LEGAL EXPENSES FOR PURSUING AN OWNER WHO HAD NOT PAID THEIR BILL. SURELY THAT IS THE FACTOR’S COST?
No, the owners are all liable for the costs incurred in terms of managing the development. Pursuing non-payment is one such cost and has to be borne by all owners. Equally, the cost may be recoverable from the owner, in which case it would be refunded to the accounts.
I RENT OUT MY FLAT, WHY HAVE YOU SENT THE BILLS TO THE WRONG ADDRESS, I DON’T LIVE THERE?
Correspondence and accounts, as a matter of default, are simply directed to the specific address of the managed property. In the event that owners do not occupy the property they must ensure that we have details of an alternative address for correspondence.
THE FLAT NEXT DOOR IS LET. WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO LIVE NEXT DOOR TO “TENANTS”?
Provided that there is no prohibition against letting in the Deed of Conditions or the Title Deeds, then an owner is entitled to let their property. However, the tenants must adhere to the rules under the Deeds, such as not causing noise, perhaps no pets, etc. and it is up to the owner to ensure that they do so.
WHAT WILL YOU DO ABOUT MY NOISY NEIGHBOURS?
This is very much a social issue. Factors have no power to engage with “noisy neighbours”. Have you called the Police or consulted with the Local Authority Anti-Social behaviour section? These bodies do carry authority.
Registered Office: 37 Cadzow Street, Hamilton, ML3 6EE.Registered in Scotland No. SC237095
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Pfams is the factoring division of First Stop Properties Ltd.
Dealing with the factoring and management of residential buildings throughout North and South Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Ayrshire. First Stop Properties Ltd also have divisions that deal with Lettings and Estate Agency.
Our other divisions