Veteran Hillhead activist Jean leads "unfettered" inquiry into factors

Added on Wednesday 6 Jun 2012

WEST End property owners beset with problems caused by factoring - or the lack of it - look set to benefit from a ground-breaking city council probe.

A Glasgow Factoring Commission, chaired by Hillhead Community Council secretary Jean Charsley, will aim to tackle the legalistic tangles that can lead to older properties falling into dangerous disrepair.

Meanwhile the way city property factors operate is reckoned set to be under scrutiny as never before.

The move could prove crucial for many West End residents caught up in the complex wrangles that develop when numerous owners are told to pay a common share to property factors for repairs.

The West End's large number of multiple occupancy lets, and the difficulty of regulating repairs by absentee owners, is a further problem in some areas.

In the worst cases owners who cannot agree among themselves about repairs, or cannot agree a deal with factors, risk having important remedial work carried out compulsorily by the council.

The Commission, launched following an initiative by council leader Councillor Gordon Matheson, aims to "closely examine" the issue of good practice among factors.

It will also try to develop workable solutions designed to empower residents and encourage property management services that are fair, efficient and good value.

Cllr Matheson said: "Problems with communal property require a communal response and that is why the factoring commission is the right way to go.

"It is a chance for a diverse range of groups and organisations to knock their heads together and come up with answers to complex problems.

"We know there are many examples of good practice in Glasgow's factoring sector but there also are many instances where owners and residents are left in despair over a collective lack of action."

Organisations involving in the Commission include Property Managers Association Scotland, Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations and Glasgow Housing Association.

Mrs Charsley, a community councillor with 35 years' experience with a particular interest in housing issues, was invited to be the independent chairwoman of the commission by Cllr Matheson.

With "an unfettered remit" she intends the commission to be objective and inclusive from the outset.

She said: "Factoring is an extremely important issue in Glasgow and so we want a perspective from all of those parties with an interest. .

"It is only after we have heard from all quarters that will we draw any conclusions and begin to frame our recommendations."