Property factors

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

This information applies to Scotland only.

What is a property factor

Property factors manage and maintain the common parts of land or property owned by more than one homeowner, for example the stairways, hallways and lifts in a tenement flat. Similar arrangements can apply for the commonly owned or used parts of residential land, for example the common gardens or amenity areas in a housing estate. This land may be owned jointly by all or some of the homeowners or by someone else, for example the property factor as a land-owning management company.

A property factor can be a private business, a local authority or a registered social landlord.

You can find more information on property factors on the Scottish government website.

You can find out who the property factor is for an address or area of land by searching the Scottish Property Factor Register

Who uses a property factor

Homeowners may:

  • have to use the services of a property factor because it's in the title deeds of the property

  • have agreed with other homeowners to hire a property factor formally through a scheme such as the tenement management scheme

  • arrange the services for maintaining common areas themselves, either collectively or individually

  • have no formal arrangement for maintaining common areas

  • have to use the services of a property factor for land management services because the factor owns the land

  • have to use the services of a local authority or registered social landlord acting as a property factor, for example if the property is a former social rented property bought under a tenant’s right to buy.

Read more about the tenement management scheme on the Shelter Scotland website.

Code of conduct and duties of a property factor

Homeowners have legal protection when they use a property factor. Property factors who provide services to homeowners must be registered. You can find information on registration on the Scottish government website and search for a property factor on the Scottish Property Factor Register.

Property factors have a code of conduct, which sets out the minimum standards they must meet. It also describes the details that must be included in the written statement of services, setting out the terms and service delivery standards of the arrangement between the property factor and the homeowner.

The written statement must include information about how to make a complaint and also how to change or end the arrangement with the property factor. 

The property factor must take all reasonable steps to provide a written statement of services to a homeowner:

  • within 4 weeks of the property factor agreeing in writing to provide the services

  • within 4 weeks of the date of purchase of the property

  • within 4 weeks of realising that they provided misleading information in the previous written statement, or

  • within 3 months of a major change to the terms of the written statement.

You can find the code of conduct for property factors on the Scottish government website.

Paying for a property factor

Each property getting the services of the property factor or manager will be charged a regular management fee. For example, this may be every month or half year. When you buy a property that uses the services of a property factor the costs should be made clear to you by your solicitor.

You might also be asked to make additional regular payments to a 'building maintenance fund'. 

Complaining about a property factor

If you're not happy with the services provided by a property factor, you should first write to them, explaining why you're complaining. The property factor's written statement of services must have information about how to complain. The property factor must be given a reasonable opportunity to resolve a complaint.

Find out more about how to resolve a complaint in the code of conduct for property factors on the Scottish Government website.

If writing to the property factor doesn't resolve your complaint, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). The tribunal will consider if the property factor has breached the code of conduct or isn't carrying out their duties. You can find details of how to apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) on the tribunal's website.

The process for getting rid of a property factor might be set out in your title deeds. If it isn't, you can use the tenement management scheme. Read more about the tenement management scheme on the Shelter Scotland website.

Maintenance and repairs

Information about who owns common areas of your building and who's responsible for maintenance should be in the title deeds. If it's not in the title deeds, the rules in the tenement management scheme will apply.

You can find information on how to work out responsibility for repairs and maintenance in common areas on the Shelter Scotland website.