Written Statement

We want to be Scotland’s most helpful factor and our Written Statement is key to telling you what that means.

Our vision is to deliver excellence by putting you, our customer, at the heart of everything we do. We will provide a consistently high-quality, responsive service, at an affordable price.

This Written Statement meets our obligations, as set out in the Property Factors (Scotland) Act, to make sure you have all the information you need.

It is not intended to be a legally-binding agreement. Rather, it describes, in simple and transparent terms, our responsibilities as your factor. We are a registered factor with the Scottish Government and you’ll see our registration number on our correspondence.

As part of Wheatley Group, our staff are highly skilled and totally committed to providing excellent services. We are independently accredited by Customer Service Excellence (CSE), EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management), and Investors in People (IIP). YourPlace holds the IIP Gold standard, which represents achievement of world class best practice. All of this means we constantly strive to be Scotland’s Feel Good Factor.

Our authority to act as your factor
 

You’ll find everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a factored homeowner in your Deed of Conditions.

It sets out the rules covering the management, maintenance, insurance, repair and improvement of the shared parts of your building. It also sets out the rights and responsibilities of you as owner and YourPlace as the property manager.

We will either be named as factor in the title deeds, have been appointed as factor directly, have been appointed when we were established in 2003, or were already the factor for the block at the time you bought your property.

Your solicitor should have discussed your title deeds with you when you bought your property.

We don’t hold copies of your deeds. However, you can get a copy from the Registers of Scotland (who charge for the service).

You can contact them on 0800 169 9391 or email them at customer.services@ros.gov.uk. You can write to them at: Registers of Scotland, Hanover House, 24 Douglas Street, Glasgow, G2 7NQ.

Delegated authority
 

You have, through your Title Deeds, given us delegated authority to complete routine repairs below consent levels, helping to minimise costs and further damage. The consent levels for your property are detailed in your Deed of Conditions, but generally they are as follows:

Type of property consent limit for block (ex VAT):

  • Four-in-a-block £200
  • Tenements £2000
  • Flats associated with shops £2000
  • Multi-storey or deck access/Maisonette £2000 and £5000.

When we need your permission:
We will contact you, asking for permission to go ahead with any repairs where the costs will be higher than the consent limits. We ask you to consider and respond to our correspondence quickly, to allow us to process the repair. If we get permission from the majority of owners, including registered social landlords such as GHA, who get a vote for each flat they own in your block, we’ll instruct the work to be completed.

When we don’t need your permission:
In situations where there is a risk to your health and safety, we can go ahead with necessary repairs to protect all residents and their properties. We can apply to have essential work enforced, but we always strive to achieve agreement through consulting with our customers first.

Core services
 

As part of our management fee, we will provide core services to our customers. These include:

  • access to our common repairs service for minor repairs, major repairs and emergency repairs
  • building insurance
  • 24/7 customer helpline for all your enquiries
  • collecting everyone’s share of costs
  • keeping our customers informed through regular newsletters and communications
  • arranging proprietors’ meetings and arranging votes.

Depending on the type of property you live in, you might have some of the following additional property-specific services: 

Multi-storey and deck-access flats:

  • electricity and lift maintenance
  • group heating
  • environmental wardens.

Tenements:

  • backcourt maintenance (including grass cutting)
  • stair cleaning
  • stair lighting.

Land maintenance
We also provide a land maintenance service to developments with semi-detached, detached and terraced houses. This ensures the land in common ownership in a development is maintained to a good standard.

Financial arrangements
 

How costs are shared
We divide all costs according to your share, as defined in your Title Deeds. Each property is charged a set management fee for the year.

Our management fee
We pride ourselves in delivering good value for money and welcome customer feedback to enable us to continually improve services. We charge our customers an annual management fee according to the particular circumstances of the block or development factored. This fee is at a flat rate per block or development and is not determined as a percentage of the services delivered. This covers the cost of providing a wide range of services, including organising routine and major repairs, maintenance projects, attending proprietors’ meetings, taking minutes and recording votes, consulting and communicating with you through the YourPlace Matters newsletter, and our website.

The management fee is based on a number of factors. These include the management cost per property, staff overheads, business expenditure, annual inflationary increases and a financial return set by our Board of Directors.

We review the fee annually as part of our budget process and advise all owners by letter about fee changes for the coming year, for all of the routine services we provide. The review is by our Board of Directors who consider the market, the economic climate (how this may affect factored owners), and the demands on our services from customers. We aim to keep costs as fair and competitive as possible. We’re happy to hold proprietors’ meetings for any block where owners wish to discuss their fees, or any other issues.

Debt recovery
We take a firm, but sensitive approach to arrears recovery. We aim to minimise debt to ensure maximum benefit to all. Our policy is available on request. Your bills should be paid by the due date detailed on the bill. If you don’t pay by this date, initially we will:

  • advise you of the outstanding balance and urgent need of settlement
  • advise you of the potential consequences of non-payment
  • invite you to contact us to establish any reasons for non payment.

We send reminders to customers with outstanding balances.

Joint liability
The deed allows us as factor to cover all costs and recover all expenses the factor deems reasonable. We don’t generally apply joint liability for non-payment, however in some cases we may apply joint liability where all other avenues have been exhausted. We pursue non-payment in accordance with our debt-recovery policy.

Service charges
We review our property-specific service charges on an annual basis and aim to provide customers with a month’s notice of changes at the start of the financial year. We bill you what our contractors charge us for services and common repairs, as set out in our contract arrangement with them.

Having difficulty paying?
We are aware some customers will occasionally have difficulty paying their bills. We are here to help and will discuss time to pay with anyone experiencing difficulties. We can also direct customers to support agencies, such as Citizens Advice Bureau and Money Advice Scotland, who will be able to advise them how best to deal with their issues. It is only after we have exhausted these avenues that we will consider taking court action. We will then send a Notice of Court Action, to inform owners of our intention to take legal action if the debt isn’t cleared. At this point, we may also consider applying a 10% interest charge, as allowed for in the Title Deeds.

Billing
 

As your property manager, we aim to provide you with clear itemised bills. We issue our common-charge accounts quarterly by post in January, April, July and October each year. This covers the cost of your routine property specific services, buildings insurance and management fee. 

If you have shared repairs carried out, we will send you a separate bill, showing a breakdown of the work done, when it was carried out, the total cost and your individual share. We aim to issue this bill within one month of the work being completed. However, where major improvement work is requested by owners, we normally need payment in advance. In these circumstances, we can hold the funds in trust until the work is completed, or by some other mutually-agreed arrangement.

We already have a cyclical maintenance plan in place for some areas, having introduced this on a phased basis across Glasgow. We understand people want to plan ahead for the cost of routine maintenance works, so we can now offer flexible Direct Debit options to help you budget. 

If you have a query about the charges in any of your bills, please contact us.

Ways to pay
 

We offer a variety of payment options to suit our customers’ needs. Customers can pay their bills in a variety of ways:

  • online using a My YP online services account
  • by Direct Debit
  • by bank Standing Order – payment arrangements
  • by phone: - pay by debit or credit card, we’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you live in Glasgow and the west, call us on 0800 479 7979. For customers in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, please phone 0800 561 0088.
  • by PayPoint – at any shop displaying the PayPoint sign
  • using the payment barcode on your bill.

Deposits
When you become a YourPlace customer, we will take a small deposit. As long as your account is up to date and you don’t have any outstanding debt due to us, your deposit will automatically be returned to you if you sell your property or move to another factor. We ensure a clear separation of funds by keeping all deposits from our homeowners separately within our accounting arrangements.

Resales
We have policy guidelines regarding the provision of information when we are dealing with the resale of a property. This details how we will deal with your account when you are selling your home – we charge an administration fee for providing this information. Our policy is available on request.

Complaints
 

Your views are important to us as they let us know how and where we can improve the service we provide. If we have made a  mistake, or you are unhappy with our service, we aim to make it as easy as possible for you to tell us. You can write, email, phone or visit us to let us know what you are unhappy about. We will always try to deal with your complaint promptly and will be delighted to receive any compliments.

We have set quality standards for how we handle complaints:

  • five working days to resolve your complaint
  • a clear process for any complaints that require longer investigation 
  • within the first two working days, we will acknowledge your complaint, providing you with a named officer responsible for resolving your complaint and how to contact them 
  • we will keep you informed and will clearly communicate how we will resolve your complaint 
  • we will measure customer satisfaction and how we handle complaints annually.

Copies of our complaints policy and leaflet are available online on request.

Once our internal process has been exhausted, you have a final route to have your complaint considered. The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber), previously the Homeowner Housing Panel, is appointed by the Scottish Government, to review complaints against property factors.

Their contact details are included in our complaints leaflets and will be given to you as part of our complaints process. We will comply with any relevant request from the The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) to provide information relating to an application from a homeowner.

Our customer commitments
 

We are committed to listening to you and, where possible, acting on what you say. We value your opinions and work hard to develop services and standards to meet your needs. This has resulted in GHA and YourPlace’s Customer Commitments leaflet, which outlines what customers can expect from us. This leaflet is available on request.

Key commitments include:

  • we will respond to your letters, faxes, emails and text messages within five working days. (If for any reason we are unable to complete our action within this time, we will inform you of progress at least every five working days, or as agreed with you)
  • we aim to answer your telephone call within five rings. (Where we are unable to deal with your enquiry at first contact, we will respond in full to your phone enquiry within one working day, or, if this is not possible, with a progress update and a commitment about further contact).

Declaration of interest
 

In buildings with GHA tenants, GHA is an owner, landlord and also the factor. In privately-owned buildings, where GHA has no tenants, GHA is only the factor. GHA engages YourPlace to carry out the factoring role on its behalf.

Unless every flat in your block is privately owned, GHA will still have an interest in your building as an owner. This means that GHA also has rights and responsibilities in terms of looking after and paying for the upkeep of the shared parts of the building. As a result, we need to work closely with GHA. 

We also have customers in properties that have never been previously owned by a local authority or council. These customers directly engage YourPlace as their legal factor.

Changing factor
 

We believe we offer you value for money and a professional service and hope you choose to stay with us as the most efficient and effective property-management option for you. However, if you want to consider changing property manager this is, for most customers, a straightforward process, arranged by a majority of the owners within a block.

  1. ask for a meeting of all of the property owners to discuss your property-management options 
  2. attend the meeting to vote for your choice of property manager
  3. if a new property manager is appointed, agree a date for the management responsibilities, including block buildings insurance, to pass to them.

We’ve developed a handy factsheet detailing the process. This is available on request.

Other useful information
 

While this information covers our obligations under the Property Factors (Scotland) Act, we’ve included some  other useful information.

Buildings insurance
One of the legal responsibilities of your factor, as set out in your Deed of Conditions, is to arrange buildings insurance. The deed is designed to protect everyone’s interests and ensure the block is always fully covered in the event of an insured act, such as fire or storm damage. You can’t opt out of block building insurance cover – it’s a legal requirement.

We take this responsibility very seriously and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to do this. 

We write to you every year showing details of your cover and what’s not covered, your annual premium (which is paid in four quarterly payments through your common charges) and details of the insurer. Our existing insurance arrangements provide blanket cover up to a rebuild value of £400,000. This saves the need for routine property revaluations.

To ensure peace of mind for all our customers, your property will remain fully insured, even if your neighbours default on payment, as we guarantee to pay the insurer for all properties each month. We then take any necessary action to recover any monies not paid to us for this service by any individual customer.

Your common charge billing includes details of the cost of your cover, as well as details of the administration fee we charge for providing this service.

Optional services
 

We provide several optional services for customers based on individual needs. These include:

  • boiler and central heating cover
  • home contents insurance
  • internal repairs
  • close cleaning*
  • grass cutting.*

*This is available for tenements and deck-access properties and a majority vote is required.

If you are interested in any of our optional services, please Contact us.

Our repair service
 

You can report a repair at any time by calling us 24/7. You can also report it by accessing our website – on your PC or on your mobile phone. It’s your responsibility to report repairs when you are aware of them. GHA tenants in your block, Housing Officers and other GHA or YourPlace staff will also report repairs if they see a problem. We will deal with your repair within the following timescales:

  • emergency repair: (A repair that causes immediate risk to health or is likely to cause serious damage to the property or make the property less secure). This emergency work will only make the building safer and follow-up work is likely to be needed. We will come out within four hours of the repair being reported and make safe within 24 hours.
  • appointment repairs: An appointment repair is classed as one where the problem is causing an inconvenience but presents no threat to health or safety. These repairs will be completed, weather permitting, within 15 working days of being agreed. 
  • programmed repairs: These are day-to day repairs which are our responsibility but don’t fall into either of the categories above. Programmed repairs will generally be completed, weather permitting, within 30 working days of being agreed, however more complex repairs for example rot or extensive roofing works can sometimes take a bit longer.

We aim to offer customer-focused services and we selected our repairs service from contractors across Europe, using a framework to make sure the contract delivers services that are good quality and value for money.

Planned maintenance
We recommend that all blocks arrange a programme of planned maintenance for items such as routine cleaning of gutters and common water tanks. This helps ensure the safety of all residents and avoid preventable damage to your home. If your block doesn’t have a programme in place, we can arrange this – just ask us for a quote. A majority of owners in the block need to agree the cost.

Administration costs
For our core services (excluding buildings insurance), we bill you what our contractors charge us, as set out in our contract or arrangement with them. We don’t receive any additional benefit or commission. We do charge a project management fee for major projects and receive a referral fee for optional services.

Internal repairs
We recognise it can be daunting to try and find contractors to complete your own internal repairs. Following customer feedback, we introduced an optional internal repairs service. All common repairs must be arranged through YourPlace. For all your repair needs, please Contact us.

Policies
 

We have a range of policies and strategies that guide our actions and decisions. They are available on request. These cover the full range of our activities, from governance, planning and financial matters to service delivery. Our policies and strategies are based on relevant legislation and good practice and are reviewed regularly.

Our policies:

  • Owners’ Services Policy
  • Debt Recovery Policy
  • Complaints Policy
  • Provision of Information in Resales Policy
  • Unacceptable Actions Policy
  • Payment Policy for Owner Led Projects.