There are times when acting as a Property Factor for a building when disputes occur with owners, who are not in agreement with the majority of owners, regarding repairs and maintenance. Taking legal action with the owners may be the solution if there is no engagement.
An owner can be taken to court to recover debt through the Simple Procedures with the Sheriff Court. The claims must be for a sum under £5000, claims over this amount need to be dealt with via a different procedure and professional help. Further details regarding the process are explained here by Under One Roof a registered charity who assist owners with all types of common property queries.
Paying for Repairs
Paying for common repairs is a requirement under the Tenement (Scotland) Act 2004 and repairs and management costs should be shared equally unless flats are of a very different size. If the largest flat in the building is more than 1.5 times the floor area of the smallest, then you need to divide costs by floor area. If owners are struggling to pay for repairs, they are advised to seek financial advice. They can also consider telling their co-owners that they cannot simply pay after examining all options. This would allow the co-owners to consider alternative solutions.
If there is an agreement with the Factor, owners can pay into a sinking fund (reserve fund). This can be an agreed amount paid on a regular basis or an annual basis. The sinking funds will be used for major repairs such as a roof repair. The average amount is set at around £200 per property. If major repairs are required and there aren’t enough funds, the owners will need to find other ways to pay the unmet costs. The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011 and the code of conduct give clear guidance on sinking funds.
Title Deeds may require you to have a float. A float is a small, advanced payment which is normally used to deal with minor repairs that no not require factors to contact the owners prior to carrying out works. However, Edinburgh Block Management always discuss repairs with owners prior to carrying out works so that the owners have the option to decide on the repair and who carries out the repair. From time to time, the float may have to be increased to meet the costs of the repair. A float should not be used to support owners who do not pay their share of the works and it should not be used for administration costs.