The Scottish Government first introduced the Property Factors Act in 2011, before amending the ‘code of conduct’ portion in 2021.


The Act seeks to ensure transparency and understanding between factors and homeowners, while also giving the latter recourse to challenge the former in the event of a potential contractual breach.


The Act is made up of three principal constituents:

Let’s go through these constituent parts one by one.


Register of property factors


Coming into force on 1st October 2012, the register gives details about all registered property factors in Scotland. Thanks to the search function, homeowners can quickly look up who their factor is and find out which properties and/or land they’re responsible for.


The register provides contact details, too, as well as the latest number of properties a factor manages (based on information provided to the register as required by the Act). Additionally, it makes clear that property factors are responsible for making sure that the information on the register is accurate.


The Act also defines exactly what it means by a property factor and stresses that not registering is a criminal offence, even if the service is operated by a local authority or housing association. Failure to register could result in a fine of up to £5,000, up to 6 months of imprisonment or both.


Property factors code of conduct


The code of conduct is there to safeguard homeowners by ensuring factors commit to a minimum set of standards when managing and maintaining the common parts of the property, like stairways, hallways and lifts.


The code’s presence also provides homeowners with the opportunity to address poor performance that breaches the factor’s contractual obligations. This can be either deficient management and maintenance from the factors themselves, or from any third party that’s been instructed to carry out services on the property.


Quoting from the Government’s website, the first half of 12 Overarching Standards of Practice read as follows:

OSP1. You must conduct your business in a way that complies with all relevant legislation.

OSP2. You must be honest, open, transparent and fair in your dealings with homeowners.

OSP3. You must provide information in a clear and easily accessible way.

OSP4. You must not provide information that is deliberately or negligently misleading or false.

OSP5. You must apply your policies consistently and reasonably.

OSP6. You must carry out the services you provide to homeowners using reasonable care and skill and in a timely way, including by making sure that staff have the training and information they need to be effective.”


For the second half, as well as expanded standards later in the Act, go to the Government’s website.


The Housing and Property Chamber


The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber acts as a mechanism to resolve disputes between homeowners and factors. However, only homeowners can raise concerns with the Chamber.


If a homeowner believes their factor has failed to sufficiently carry out services or have broken the code of conduct, they can take action. Before applying to the tribunal, though, homeowners must notify the factor of their complaint in writing. The factor must then be given the opportunity to address the complaint and remedy the matter.


If a property factor is found to have neglected its duties specified in the code of conduct, the tribunal is permitted to issue an enforcement order indicating a course of action the factor must take to resolve the situation.


Finding out more about the Property Factors Act


Much like any Government Act, this intensive legislation can take some time and attention to fully understand. The above is just a brief overview of some of the most important elements to know about. For full, in-depth insights into the Property Factors Act, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.