In Scotland, the term tenement refers to any building divided horizontally into two or more flats. A tenement can be of any age and not just the classic Victoria sandstone block of flats, which is very characteristic of Scotland’s towns and cities. The legal definition of a tenement also includes cottage flats, multi storey blocks and converted villas. Historic Environment Scotland have just published a quick guide for those who are new to tenement life on how to manage and maintain a tenement. Written in conjunction with Under One Roof, it's designed to help those who are buying their first flat in Scotland and gives an introduction to the concept of common repairs and how to make decisions in conjunction with co-owners. The guide is also a "quick study" for those who may have lived in a tenement for some time but would find a short overview of tenement management and legislation useful. Click on this link here for further information.
Every tenement needs appropriate management to help maintain good relations between owners and to ensure prompt maintenance. Appropriate management means establishing good communications between owners and having an effective Factoring (Property Management) arrangement in place.
When you buy a tenement flat, you become the sole owner of the interior of the flat. You also become responsible, along with other flat owners, for the common parts of the tenement building such as the roof, external walls and stairs. As part of our Core Services package, Edinburgh Block Management will take care of these 3 elements for you. With regular stair cleaning, roof maintenance with gutter and downpipe clean. This also includes a written report and photos.
Its very important that you agree with your fellow owners to make plans and decisions to maintain your building as a shared responsibility. The shared cost will be noted in your Title Deeds. The roof, the walls and other parts of the building which benefit all owners, fall into the communal category.
For areas such as within your flat, our personal space and you are the sole user, you have the individual responsibility to pay for these repairs. There may also be some parts of a building which only benefit some owners: some flats may have no access to the stair and close. In this situation, Edinburgh Block Management would charge a “Main Door” cost which would include roof inspection, gutter cleans and factoring services. No Monthly or Quarterly fees.
Edinburgh Block Management work to a statutory Code of Conduct which is set out by The Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011. Every client is issued with a Written Statement of Service which covers services, how complaints are dealt with, apportionment of charges, service matrix – showing the level of service your building will receive, how to report common and emergency repairs, missing shares, financial and charging arrangements, debt collection, floating fund, building maintenance, how to end an arrangement etc.
Communication with Owners
It is common for each building to have a “lead” tenant who initiates the process with Edinburgh Block Management. It can be a good idea to have a separate owners association to aid communications. The association can deal with issues such as parking or gardening. Edinburgh Block Management can offer add on services. Just ask us about our additional services which include the following: gardening, parking, window cleaning, project management of stair refurbishments. The add on services are optional for owners and available where Edinburgh Block Management Core Services have been agreed. Edinburgh Block Management communicate via email as the primary route. We are happy to post letters and reports for a small fee. We don’t dictate to owners who will carry out the repairs and maintenance. Unlike some traditional factors, our clients are in control. When we ask clients to choose a contractor, they are invited to take part in an online poll, and they make the decision by majority. The online polls keep communication open and transparent between us, the Factor and you, the client.
There are occasions when some owners are reluctant to carry out repairs or pay their share for the repairs. This can happen when owners are unable to afford the cost. Edinburgh Block Management are more than happy to discuss financial arrangements in these circumstances. Clients who have fallen behind with factoring charges or wishing to establish an arrangement to clear the debt can be discussed once the original invoice has been issued to you. It is very important to adhere to an arrangement once this is in place. Edinburgh Block Management will pursue legal action to recover debts where there has been no attempt to clear the arrears, or an arrangement has not been kept. Edinburgh Block Management will be firm but fair, when dealing with customers who have arrears and will explore all reasonable options to assist them in reducing and clearing their arrears.
We will, however, take legal action where a customer continually fails to engage and cooperate in reducing their arrears balance, or repeatedly breaks a formal repayment arrangement