Housing minister Kevin Stewart on why the Scottish Government is giving both property factors and homeowners the opportunity to respond to its consultation on a draft revised Code of Conduct.
Property factors play an important role in housing in Scotland. They help many homeowners ensure that the shared spaces connected to their property- roofs, communal stairways, shared gardens and so on are properly maintained.
The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 established a framework to better protect homeowners who use factoring services. The 2011 Act created a compulsory register of property factors in Scotland and introduced a Code of Conduct (the Code) which registered factors must comply with. This sets out minimum standards that homeowners should expect from their factor.
In the five years since the Act came into force, the number of registered property factors subject to the Code has increased. We now have around 400 registered property factors and 620,000 property addresses searchable on the register. And while there is evidence that the Code has helped to make some improvements, further improvements could be made in factoring services, particularly in relation to how property factors communicate and consult with homeowners, as well as handling complaints.
The 2011 Act requires for a draft Code to be prepared from time to time and we are now taking the opportunity to consider whether the requirements of the Code need strengthening. Therefore, we are undertaking a consultation on a draft revised Code and related amendments to the 2011 Act and we would like your views on this. At the same time, we would like to know whether you think the Code has improved the quality of factoring services and if the 2011 Act has improved the wider regulation of property factors?
We’re giving both property factors and the homeowners who use them the opportunity to have their say in this consultation. Whatever your role, your views will help ensure that the minimum standards of property factor services continuously improve and that we strike a fair balance between the duties of property factors and the standards of service that homeowners should expect.
So do let us know what you think. The consultation runs until 15 January 2018 and you are welcome to respond online.