New Buyer Guide – What is a Factor and why do I need one?
Some of our customers, particularly new buyers who have not experienced communal living before, have asked us to explain what a Factor does and why they need one. Here is a short guide on our key frequently asked questions.
What is a Factor?
A Factor is a Property Manager who has been appointed to manage the communal areas within a development of flats and/or houses. The Factor will co-ordinate and arrange repairs, maintenance, and improvements to the communal areas on behalf of property owners. In most cases, the Factor will also manage communal insurance policies.
Why do I have a Factor?
Some of the reasons why you may have a Factor are:
- The Deed of Conditions for the building or development stipulate it’s a legal requirement.
- The required number of co-owners in your building or development have voted to appoint a Factor in accordance with the Deed of Conditions.
- The co-owners within your building or development may have attempted to self-factor, but found co-ordinating repairs and maintenance, together with collecting the necessary funds from all co-owners, problematic or unsuccessful.
Having a Factor is extremely beneficial to manage communal areas and funds.
What areas of my development are managed by the Factor?
Each of our managed developments has an associated written statement of services and development schedule which identify the Factor’s areas of responsibility within your development.
A few examples of what is covered include:
- Garden maintenance including planting tries, flowerbeds, ornamental features and garden furniture
- Parking areas, cycle racks and bin stores
- Gutters, downpipes, drains and sewers
- Communal overflows
- Main water supplies
- Roofs, tiles and common area windows and doors
- Common internal areas and lighting
- Common security systems
- Insurance- buildings, property owner’s liability, lifts
- Play areas and common landscaping
What are my responsibilities?
If you live in a block of flats or property with areas of common ownership, you and your neighbours will be responsible for the ongoing costs of repair and maintenance of the common property and grounds. At James Gibb, we will manage the following works on behalf of the co-owners:
- Repairs, improvements and maintenance to common parts of property (e.g. roof, stairs, gutters, drains, fabric of building)
- Grounds maintenance to common ground (e.g. grass cutting, weed spraying to common ground, pathways, shared parking areas)
- Services (e.g. communal lighting, stair cleaning)
- Lift repairs, maintenance and Insurance
- Applications for Grant Assisted Funding, where available and applicable.
What is covered in my management fee?
A few examples of our Factors duties are:
- Inspecting the development on an on-going basis
- Producing proposals, gathering quotations and other information for proposed works
- Arranging routine repairs and maintenance projects
- Maintaining a list of approved sub-contractors and assess their performance on an on-going basis
- Ensuring best value for customers and ensuring works are completed professionally, legally and safely.
- Having a dedicated property manager to respond to your queries and liaise with co-owners with regards to repairs etc
- Ensuring all communal costs are properly apportioned between relevant owners
- Paying all contractors quickly (usually, within 14 days)
- In most cases, arranging communal block insurance policies and Property Owners Liability Insurance.
- Ensuring the income recovery team actively pursues non-payers
In addition to this, we will attend committee meetings and AGMs and, if required, produce Minutes and distribute to co-owners. We also produce quarterly invoices and newsletters for all customers which we highly encourage to be received via our website or our James Gibb plus portal, as it is a much easier, secure and more convenient way to make payments and view your information in one central place.
This should be referred to in conjunction with our Written Statement of Services.