Factors. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

John Mason, Shettleston MSP has suggested that the Scottish Government should take action to ensure every tenement property has a factor.

The idea is that it would make sure buildings were maintained properly and essential repairs carried out.

Sounds good as everyone whether tenant or owner occupier wants their building looker after and no-one wants it neglected to the stage where it is falling apart..

However many people who have factors, some imposed by developers, wish they didn’t. Owners complain of excessive charges, bills for work that are considered too expensive and in some cases an inability to get the factor to do work owners want.

Mr Mason is right in one respect though. There needs to be some mechanism in place for every building with multiple owners to ensure it is properly maintained.

We have seen too many examples where buildings have been neglected for one reason or another to the extent they are dangerous or that communal areas become health hazards.

While some owner occupiers may not feel able to contribute to the cost is is a fact of home ownership that maintenance costs will be incurred and must be considered before deciding if a property is affordable.

This is something that in Glasgow especially has not always been the case particularly in right to buy council homes where owners were sold the idea of a rent free future.

But the biggest problem in many parts of Glasgow is not owner occupiers but private landlords.

While many are good landlords, investing in their property there are too many who are not willing to pay for maintenance and repairs as it eats in to their profits.

Their only concern is for the rental yield their property returns.

While there is action the local authority can take in extreme cases in too many flats people are paying increasing rents for deteriorating housing conditions and building standards.

where a landlord seeking to maximise the profit from a flat is unwilling to redecorate of replace furniture what chance of getting them to agree their share of paying several thousands to replace a roof.

For decades now people have been growing attached to the idea that property ownership especially buy to let is a way to get rich.

For some it obviously is but by viewing property as money and not as a home it has led to financial return being the priority and in the short term that makes investment less of a priority.

The solution to the maintenance problem raised by John Mason must include a mechanism where owners, whether occupiers of landlords are compelled to pay their share for repairs and regular maintenance and not just when the problem becomes urgent as this will prevent costly repairs in the long run.

Mr Mason’s idea of some sort of compulsory factor may not be the answer to this problem.

But he has certainly raised a serious issue that affects many people and which requires a solution.