Other Landlords refusing to pay for common repairs?

by Readers Question

9:17 AM, 20th July 2020
About 4 months ago

Other Landlords refusing to pay for common repairs?

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Other Landlords refusing to pay for common repairs?

I recently invested in a BTL property in Scotland (Renfrewshire) which is in a building containing 8 flats. 5 of these flats are privately owned and 3 are still under council control. 4 of the flats (including mine) being let by their owners. The council are not the factors for this building. There is currently no factor in place and it’s up to the owners to address any repairs or maintenance. 4 of the flats (including mine) being let by their owners.

As the building requires repairs and ongoing maintenance, I contacted the council with a view to having the necessary works carried out, obviously understanding that I have an obligation to pay my share. To my dismay, I was advised by the council that for many years they have been recommending that certain repairs be carried out, however, they could never secure a majority vote as 4 of the landlords were not willing to put their hand in their pockets to fix any issues.

Q: Is there anything I or the council do to persuade or legally force the dissenting landlords to pay up?

I have recently spoken with a new private live-in owner in this block who is as keen as I am to have any repairs carried out and to have a form of maintenance in place. If my maths are correct, that would give us a 5 – 3 vote in favour of agreeing to repairs (3 council and 2 private v 3 Landlords) agreeing to repairs, which is I suppose a start.

Q: Is it worthwhile pursuing the non-paying, non agreeing landlords to court for their share of any works?

Surely not agreeing to carry out repairs or maintenance in investment terms is, in the long run, a false economy?

John

Editors Notes from >> MyGov.Scot

Property factors

Sometimes a group of owners in a tenement may decide to hire someone to take care of the maintenance and repair responsibilities for them.

These are called property factors (sometimes called property managers), and for a fee they can:

  • arrange for annual inspections of the tenement and deal with any problems the inspection reveals
  • give price estimates for one-off maintenance and repair work, ask if the owners want to go ahead with it, then set it up if they do
  • other services, like organising common insurance for the building or contracts for lifts, boilers and gardeners

Appointing and dismissing a property factor

The process for appointing or dismissing a property factor may be set out in your title deeds.

If you cannot find the information in your title deeds you and the other owners may revert to the Tenement Management Scheme which has a procedure for appointing and dismissing a property factor.

Registration

Property factors must be registered. It’s a criminal offence to operate as a property factor if you’re unregistered.

A property factor must follow a Code of Conduct which sets a minimum standard of the service it gives to homeowners

The Scottish Property Factor Register lets you search online to find out:

  • who the property factor may be for a certain property address or area of land
  • the contact details of a certain property factor
  • the latest number of properties a property factor manages

Property factors are responsible for making sure that the information on the register is correct and is in line with any relevant legislation.

Paying property managers

Usually, each property will be charged a regular management fee (every month, three months or six months). They may also be asked to pay into a ‘float’.

This float is used to make sure the property factor has enough money to pay for regular costs or small repairs.

You might also be asked to make regular payments to a ‘building maintenance fund’. This lets the property factor pay for future repair costs so you do not have to make a large one-off payment in the future.

Complaints

If you are not happy with any work carried out, tell your property factor. They should investigate and tell you what they’ve done to solve the problem.

If you are not happy with their reply (or you do not get one at all), ask about their complaints procedure. A property factor must have one under the code of conduct.

If you think your property factor is breaking the code of conduct or is not carrying out their duties as a property factor, you have to complain to them in writing first and give them a chance to resolve it.

If you’ve complained in writing and they refuse to help (or take an unreasonable amount of time to do it), you can apply to the Housing and Property Chamber. They will then decide if they want to take the application to a tribunal.


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Comments

loretta wight

13:08 PM, 20th July 2020
About 4 months ago

have the same problem in Ayr. I decided to do roof repair in an emergency. The council argued that I didn't get 3 quotes so were refusing to pay although I notified them Water was coming into the electrics. They eventually paid, 2 owners paid eventually and one landlord doesn't pay for any thing at all (9 months after the event). You could find yourself out of pocket. The council / landlord registration told me to do it all myself and claim it back. But if the bill is going to be thousands which it will be I am not so willing. Got one of the council tenants to report it and they are taking on part of the repair under the need to make the building water tight. The other damage is being left needs majority and council not wanting to take it on. I have been to ombudsman, register, msps , councillors etc They all say the same ...do it yourself and claim it back. No -one is addressing the issue of the private landlord (the wealthy one) who is not doing any repairs or making payments. I don't want to spend my time in courts. There needs to be more enforcement of repairs. Even presenting the policy remit, each council makes up its own rules. I fear we will have a lot of ghettos soon. This has been going on for 8 yrs now. Not a thing has changed, no one is interested on taking repairs. The law needs changed with management agencies for all flats.

John Cadger

11:23 AM, 22nd July 2020
About 4 months ago

Scottish Association of Landlords give great support and advice to Landlords. If not a member I would strongly recommend.
With regards to repairs go to http://www.underoneroof.scot/ where you will find great advice.

loretta wight

16:49 PM, 22nd July 2020
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by John Cadger at 22/07/2020 - 11:23
not that easy in real life . I have seen lawyers and dealt with chief executives. You have no real power unless you take it on yourself and chase people for money. Even then it takes time and courts . Who wants the hassle of courts ever time there is a repair needing done. There are still landlords who don't care albeit the minority and landlord registration/council will do nothing it if it is a communal issue, I have the letters, I am afraid. it depends upon the council.

Puzzler

10:14 AM, 25th July 2020
About 4 months ago

This is where the Scottish system falls down. I have a flat in Aberdeen, unfactored (not council). We are all reasonably responsible but if not, it is very difficult to enforce. Will be interested to see other people's experiences.

Jireh Homes

19:33 PM, 25th July 2020
About 4 months ago

Under One Roof (http://www.underoneroof.scot/) is an excellent resource addressing these issues, but fundamentally if you can gain a simple majority decision, under the Tenement Act all owners have to contribute. Chasing the funds can be a challenge, with option of using the Scottish Courts Simple Claims Procedure, or your LA may be prepared to cover the "missing share", and put a charge on the reticent owners property. Few hoops to jump through, so check with your LA LL registration team for the details.


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