Revised code of conduct for property factors
A revised code of conduct for property factors was approved by the Scottish Parliament earlier this year and came into force on 16 August 2021. The purpose of the revision was to clarify and strengthen the code to ensure that property factors work to a consistent standard and homeowners are clear on what they can expect.
The main changes that have been made to the code are as follows:
- To help homeowners understand what to expect and whether the property factor has met its obligations – the revised code provides clarification on the various situations where, when and how homeowners should expect to be provided with a copy of the factor’s written statement of services and other documentation.
- To highlight that homeowners have a choice in who they appoint and that they can change factor – this is done by requiring a property factor to provide clear information to homeowners on how they can end their factoring arrangement and requiring a property factor to provide information to homeowners on the arrangements it will make to cooperate with another property factor to assist with a smooth transition if a factor is changed. The code also requires any letter of introduction to include a statement that homeowners are responsible for choosing and appointing their property factor and are not obliged to take up the offer of services.
- To improve transparency – requiring an incoming property factor who purchases the assets of an outgoing property factor to provide information to homeowners on any implications this may have for them, taking a broader approach to the requirement to declare financial interests and requiring the issue of an annual insurance statement.
- To improve consistency – including overarching standards of practice and a glossary of terms used in the code to assist the reader and improve the consistency with which the code is applied.
The government also made revisions to encourage proactive property maintenance, including the following information in the code:
- That it is the homeowners’ responsibility, and good practice, to keep their property well maintained but a property factor can help to prevent further damage or deterioration by seeking to make prompt repairs to a good standard.
- Clarity provided to encourage property factors to follow good practice for insurance re‑valuations to be undertaken at least every 5 years.
- That, subject to agreement from homeowners, property factors can instruct that specific maintenance duties are undertaken by specialist contractors on behalf of homeowners which contribute to fire safety.
- Update to requirements to encourage transparency in the appointment of contractors and the cost of works to ensure property factors can show, for example, how the cost of the repair or maintenance has been balanced with other factors such as likely quality and longevity.
The revised code can be read online here.