Important factoring information
As of the 25th October 2016, Managing Estates are a registered Scottish Factor under Scottish Property Law.
Scottish property law and land ownership differs in comparison to England and Wales and we, therefore, tailor our management package and services to comply with these differences. In order for us to provide you with effective Property Management, we carry out a full review of the apartment deeds before submitting our management proposal. This ensures successful and accurate management in compliance of the deeds.
Managing maintenance and repairs
If you live in housing which includes commonly owned areas (such as roofs, staircases, entrances and gardens), you and your co-owners will share joint responsibility for the repair and maintenance of these areas. To ensure that these common parts are properly maintained, you will need to decide collectively how routine and one-off maintenance and repairs should be carried out.
This requires joint, co-ordinated action on the part of owners and there are a variety of arrangements available for organising and managing common repairs and maintenance. These range from individual owners taking on the task (‘self-managing’) through to appointing a professional property manager. In some cases the title deeds will require owners to use a property manager and this is now the usual arrangement for modern flatted developments in Scotland. In other cases, especially in traditional tenements, the title deeds do not include a requirement to appoint a property manager and owners are free to agree their own arrangements.
Using a property manager
Rather than arranging repairs and maintenance yourselves, you may find it helpful to appoint a professional property manager to carry out this work and ensure continuity of maintenance across changes of ownership. Property management is the management of common or shared property by an agent responsible to the joint owners. The agent is known as a property manager, or sometimes by the traditional Scottish term of ‘factor’. While most property managers are private businesses, some councils and housing associations also provide property management services (usually for Right-to-Buy properties). A good property manager will provide technical expertise, organise the work, deal with billing, payment and administration and handle the tensions that can sometimes arise between owners.
If you decide to appoint a property manager the type of service you receive will depend on what is agreed between you and your property manager (which will be based on what you are willing to pay for). Typically the range of services offered by property managers includes:
1. Undertaking periodic inspections of the building to identify any maintenance or repair work required to common areas
2. Arranging and managing contracts for day-to-day or routine maintenance, for example for stair cleaning and gardening. In some cases this will also involve managing maintenance contracts for lifts and boilers or directly employing and supervising on-site staff such as caretakers
3. Arranging for repair work to be carried out including obtaining quotations, hiring contractors and supervising their work. This might involve coordinating the services of several building trades
4. Managing the joint owners’ bank account and collecting payments as required
5. Arranging buildings insurance
The importance of communication
As with any relationship, good communication is the key and it is important that you give your property manager clear instructions about any decisions taken by the joint owners about common maintenance and repairs. Property managers are normally willing to meet owners regularly as a group or individually, and you may find it helpful to nominate one person to communicate directly with the manager. Research has shown that property management arrangements usually work much better if there is an owners’ association or some effective arrangement for communication amongst owners. If you decide to form an owners’ association, your property manager may be able to help with setting it up and assist in its day-to-day administration.