Experts warn city in grip of factoring crisis

GLASGOW is in the grip of a property factoring crisis, experts have warned.

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The Glasgow Factoring Commission found that living conditions in the city are being "adversely affected" due to the breakdown of the common repairs and maintenance system.

It also emerged that six unfactored tenements across the city have had to be evacuated in the last nine months, because they have fallen into a dangerous state of repair.

The commission, which was chaired by Hillhead Community Council chairwoman Jean Charsley, was first set up in 2012 to investigate how factors operated in the city.

Its role was widened to include an investigation into repairs and maintenance.

The final report calls for improved customer service, information and advice to homeowners.

The report said: "There is an emerging crisis in property factoring which will have significant consequences if not addressed in the near future."

It states that a lack of common repairs appeared to be "contributing to falling property values and is threatening the longevity of these properties".

The report added: "This appears to be mainly as a result of failure on the part of owners to agree collectively to invest in common area maintenance.

"Absence of any property factoring arrangements, in particular properties or groups of properties, means that there is no effective management system in place.

"This can and will affect not only the building in question but also adjacent properties."

The commission found that no action could lead to "significant and possibly irreversible damage to the economic and social fabric" of parts of Glasgow.

The report has urged the Scottish Government to review the law relating to common property maintenance and repair.

The Property Factors Act came into force in 2012 following a bill by Glasgow MSP Patricia Ferguson and aimed to protect homeowners by providing minimum standards for factors.

Around 70% of households in Glasgow live in tenements or flats.

And there are an estimated 40 private factors and maintenance firms operating in the city, which organise repairs to the communal areas of multi-occupancy properties.

However, there is a growing concern over rogue factors and fears that homeowners are being ripped off.

Liz Cameron, executive member for Development and Regeneration at the council, welcomed the report findings.

She said: "The report makes clear that, in general, factors need to modernise the way they respond to their customers and become more transparent in the how they go about their business.

"But is also vital that a great percentage of flat owners start to understand fully their own responsibilities for the common aspects of their property."

In November, the Evening Times reported how residents living in a tenement in Annette Street, Govanhill, were ordered to leave because of severe damage to the walls in the common close.

The council said six Glasgow tenements were declared too unsafe to live in, over the past nine months.

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