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Posted by: Sharon, Glasgow on 8:56pm Wed 4 Apr 07
About time too i deal with a firm of rogues called Ross & Liddell or as they are known “Loss & Fiddell”. They make charges for work often not carried out, and often it is sub standard with no guarantee offered and you have to pay again to get the original work completed correctly! Any works carried out is done by a select “CLEEK” with no competitive tendering and as you would expect the prices are hiked up (As the contractors know the bill will be shared between 8 Flats and nobody was probably about when the work was done so who knows how much time was involved). A common bully trick is the £15 added for late payment of a bill – this avoids people disputing the payment as they risk paying £15 on top.They specialise in getting owners to take their “In House” overpriced insurance and if they refuse threats of Legal action will ensue despite almost all Title Deeds allowing for an opt out of Factors policies Psychology is often used ie; a qoute will appear for works they wish done and if you fail to reply (as well as the majority of your neighbours) you will then receive a letter stating “Other owners wish this work to be carried out as soon as possible” despite the fact you know yourself and your neighbours have discussed not wanting the un-needed work done! When a bill is disputed no satisfactory explanation or validation is given only a threat of an extra £15 added or court action! These people are leeches whom are self appointed and thrust upon homeowners and live in a world of No-Regulation,they make up stories and rules as they go along good luck Mr Jackson on your attemts to curb these modern day highway men.
About time too i deal with a firm of rogues called Ross & Liddell or as they are known “Loss & Fiddell”. They make charges for work often not carried out, and often it is sub standard with no guarantee offered and you have to pay again to get the original work completed correctly!Any works carried out is done by a select “CLEEK” with no competitive tendering and as you would expect the prices are hiked up (As the contractors know the bill will be shared between 8 Flats and nobody was probably about when the work was done so who knows how much time was involved). A common bully trick is the £15 added for late payment of a bill – this avoids people disputing the payment as they risk paying £15 on top.They specialise in getting owners to take their “In House” overpriced insurance and if they refuse threats of Legal action will ensue despite almost all Title Deeds allowing for an opt out of Factors policies

Psychology is often used ie; a qoute will appear for works they wish done and if you fail to reply (as well as the majority of your neighbours) you will then receive a letter stating “Other owners wish this work to be carried out as soon as possible” despite the fact you know yourself and your neighbours have discussed not wanting the un-needed work done!
When a bill is disputed no satisfactory explanation or validation is given only a threat of an extra £15 added or court action!
These people are leeches whom are self appointed and thrust upon homeowners and live in a world of No-Regulation,they make up stories and rules as they go along good luck Mr Jackson on your attemts to curb these modern day highway men.
Posted by: Ripped off, Glasgow on 12:10am today
I’ll second that – one strong reason why you might decide to pay for a factor instead of trying to self-factor is the idea that tradespeople will turn out for a factor (who would be able to put quite a bit of work their way) when they wouldn’t bother for a one-off job for a flat owner. Plus the factor’s role should include monitoring the standard of the work. But systems for communicating and monitoring the work to be done are noticeably absent – so what’s the point? One problem is the mindset that the factor’s ‘in charge’ – as though they were still the landlord’s agent with the power over the tenants. But they aren’t – we’re the owners and they work for us. Perhaps we could organise a factors’ customer strike – they can’t sue us all. Can they?
I’ll second that – one strong reason why you might decide to pay for a factor instead of trying to self-factor is the idea that tradespeople will turn out for a factor (who would be able to put quite a bit of work their way) when they wouldn’t bother for a one-off job for a flat owner. Plus the factor’s role should include monitoring the standard of the work. But systems for communicating and monitoring the work to be done are noticeably absent – so what’s the point?

One problem is the mindset that the factor’s ‘in charge’ – as though they were still the landlord’s agent with the power over the tenants. But they aren’t – we’re the owners and they work for us. Perhaps we could organise a factors’ customer strike – they can’t sue us all. Can they?

A GLASGOW politician has launched a bid to crack down on rogue factors who rip off householders.Gordon Jackson, who is hoping to retain his Govan seat in next month’s election, is consulting on a Bill that would force property management firms to register before they can operate.

And it could end misery for thousands of people who try unsuccessfully to sack their factor and employ a replacement.

More than a third of all homes in Scotland are in shared buildings – multi-storey flats, tenements, “four in a block” or tenement houses.

In Glasgow, which has thousands of homes in Victorian terraces, that figure rises to more than 96%.

Many tenements have appointed factors to look after common repairs like roofs, close lighting, general cleaning and maintenance.

Mr Jackson says some homeowners have a factor forced on them when they move into a property.

When people try to question bills, they get no answer. And if they refuse to pay suspicious charges, they are sued.

He says it’s time for people to have more say in who manages their homes.

“When I first looked into this, I was amazed to discover property managers are by and large unregulated.

“Yet they enjoy a position of significant power, trust and influence in relation to homeowners across Scotland.

“Many people complain about excessive invoices, with high rates of compound interest and penalty charges.

“Some do not know why they are being charged for certain things and when they ask for proof they receive none.”

Often the only solution is to fight the companies in the small claims court but most people can’t get legal aid for a lawyer, while companies can afford the best legal advice.

Mike Dailly, senior solicitor at Govan Law Centre, helped Mr Jackson draft legislation which would force all property managers or factors to register in a similar manner to the laws that control rogue landlords.

This would allow councils to strike off companies which are not up to the job.

Mr Dailly said: “Irresponsible factors have been ripping people off for too long.

“We see a worrying number of householders taken to court over debts that just don’t seem reasonable.”

8:21am Wednesday 4th April 2007

By John McCann

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27 thoughts on “Bid launched for crackdown on rogue tenement factors

  1. Factors no longer care about auld tenements; the new houses are far more lucrative!

    In Parkhouse, for one example, just one phase of 100 new houses by Miller, Persimmon and Bellway will get buyers a factor for about £3.50/week each — that’s £182/year per house, or a whopping £18,200.00/year to Hacking & Paterson — just for cutting the grass in common areas. What on earth is the Council Tax for?

    Because the site mixes up builders, we were told that it would be impossible at Parkhouse to sack the factor and set up a residents’ association!

    There is a non-profit organisation called The Property Owners’ Support Service which does the work of a factor, property manager or residents’ association without any management fees whatsoever. I think they mark-up any invoices just enough to cover the costs of collecting money and so forth. Their website is http://poss.4×2.net/

  2. I use to live in Parkhead and fell fowl to the criminal activities of Loss and Fiddle. They were charging me insurance as well as the insurance charged by my bank. I worked in insurance at the time and knew that I was entitled to 50% back from each insurer, under the Double Insurance legislation. Did I ever see the money from them…….of course not. I am now in the process of deciding on Factors for our apartment in Holland.
    All these companies are the same, interconnected to building companies and suppliers to ensure the best for eveyone, everyone except the tennants that is!!!!

  3. I agree with all of the comments made here. It is ‘way past time these ‘Factors’ got their wings clipped.
    In May this year I got the usual demands for money (including the ever-rising “management fee”)Included was a demand for £9.15 -for “…repairing burst(s)on main pipe(s)…”. The interesting thing about this was the date – July 2006, i.e. 9 months after the alleged repair. In my reply I asked who had reported this problem to them and when…who carried out the repairs and when…why had they waited almost ten months to present their bill…and observed that even if it were “an oversight…” in their Accounts department, what sort of confidence did they think that engenders in their clients with regards as to their assertions as to other works carried out and for which they are charged….(no invoices supplied)
    A further point : Clients are supposed to be given a choice of three quotes for a job done. The plumbing ‘work’ in my building has been done by the same firm for the last THIRTY years….which is as long as I have owned this flat. I needn’t spell it out…..same guy for thirty years and no invoices….not only for Mr.Sameguy but for virtually any firm who is alleged to have worked for our factors.
    Does anybody know what the Legal Basis of ‘Factors’ in Scotland is ? Someone pointed out that they behave in the same way as Landlords’ Agents did…which means they might as well put a gun to our heads when they make their demands for money. They are raking in millions every year and won’t send us properly invoiced bills while using the same sub-contractors and offering us no choice. What’s that smell ?
    How much longer are we going to take this contemptuous treatment from them ?
    DO something about it!!!
    Write to your Local Councillor…MSP…MP. We have our own Government now – let’s use to nail these bandits pdq.
    Q
    How much longer are we going to sit and take this ?

  4. Pingback: Rogue Factors « Glasgow Residents Network

  5. Shawlander,

    Go your own way. Talk to your neighbours – that is if they’ll talk to someone as bitter as you and sack your factor.

    Then form your own little residents ‘co-operative’. See how well you collect shares for repairs and ongoing maintenance from absentee landlords and ‘wont-pays’.
    Think of the money you’ll save as your gutters resemble a hay-field. 9 times out of ten you can pick out unfactored tenements from factored ones.

    The main problem with maintenance of common property in Scotland is *owners*. The young ones want to sell before they get hit with the big bill for dry rot or whatever and the old ones are of the mindset ‘it’ll see me out’. There are too many people who own flats who are simply not prepared to pay the right sort of money for repairs and it is too easy for them to project their own short-comings on the ‘wicked factor’.

    I used to work for a factor in Glasgow and I understand the problems they face. I certainly wouldnt relish returning to the role! I dont agree with charging for reminders but when you realise the magnitude of the task in recovering arrears totalling into hundreds of thousands month after month then you can understand the reasoning behind it.

    The problem isnt with factors. The problems are endemic to tight-arsed home owners unwilling to face their own responsibilities.

  6. And waiting three weeks for competitive quotes for a burst pipe?? You are having a laugh!

    You use the contractors who will turn up and do the biz with minimal fall-out. May not be the cheapest, but better than relying on white van men who cause the majority of problems in the first place.

  7. Can anyone recommend a reputable factor? My place currently use Macfie and Co. While they don’t charge for late payment, they’re certainly not the most responsive when dealing with requests.

  8. Why jump on the band wagon Mr Jackson now just to get the votes. What happened to the residents of Millbrae Gardens in Glasgow who fought from 1989 until 2006 and finally won in the court of session against Mr Kindsman of Hanover Housing. You never helped them.

  9. JJ Hunsecker,

    You sound fairly bitter and twisted yourself. If the factors did the job properly in the first place, people would pay the bills, then the factors wouldn’t have to issue reminders…. Do you see where I am going with this? Our gutters do resemble a hay field and we have a factor. We get charged every year for clearing the gutters but it never gets done. Our factors don’t send man in white vans – the “tradesmen” they send actually turn up ON HORSEBACK, the work they do is diabolical and we get to pay well over the odds for it.

  10. Gibson,

    I confess to being slightly bitter. Having dealt with total ignoramuses who expect their factor to wave a magic wand and cure the indolence and recalcitrance of irresponsible owners of whom there are, in the insipid phrasing of the OFT report on Factors, a significant minority.

    I think I hold with my previous advice.

    If your factor isnt cutting the mustard, do it yourself. It’s the cheapest way to do it but fraught with danger.

    The tenement is only as good as its component owners!

    As for yer gutters, take photos, send them to your factor with a large question mark and leave it to them to sort it out with their contractor. If they fail to resolve your complaint, withhold payment, let the matter go to court and Sheriff will decide who’s right.

  11. When I chaired an owners association for a block of 8 flats in a tenement, I found the persistent non-payment and laziness of the majority of the paying owners very frustrating and the aggression very upsetting.

    I don’t like Factors but I don’t envy what they have to go through to make people honour their legal and contractual obligations in maintaining the common parts.

    Those who propose ‘self-factoring’ have no idea how stingy, selfish, petty, rude and apathetic and ungrateful their neighbours will be.

    I used to come home from work to find notes shoved through my door demanding repairs without any offer to help to fix them or get abuse on my doorstep from those given a bill for their share that they refused to pay.

    There were 14 adults in this building and at least three quarters of them did not lift a finger in many years of self-factoring other than to criticise the minority undertaking all the administration and property management upon their behalf.

    2 out of 8 flats would not pay the small monthly sum and their flats were not insured, putting their neighbours at risk.

    Now you could understand this in a block of absent landlords with a transient community of tenants and a high turnover of owners. Our block is largely owner-occupied, mainly with long-term owners, who are on first name terms. Nonetheless, getting money or assistance out of them was like extracting teeth while wading through treacle.

    There’s this rather strange double-think at work whereby those that won’t pay and won’t help out are in fact the most demanding and critical about the quality of the self-factoring.

    Despite failing to put any time, money or effort into keeping the infrastructure of the tenement sound and the common areas clean, they apply very high standards to those who volunteer.

    They are not grateful that self-factoring saves considerable money because they will always resent having to pay any expenses. Nor will they pitch in to help – assuming that there’s loads of other people around to deal with it with these other people also holding that assumption.

    Anyway, I organised for the flat to be factored and sure enough the owners aren’t happy with the cost or quality of their work.

    But the main thing is that they have to direct their moaning about the service to someone else other than me.

    My response to the inevitable shock about their escalating costs with no discernible rise in service quality is “well, the alternative is self-factoring but few were happy with it..if you’d like to sack the factor and establish a new owners association, go right ahead”

  12. How to sack a factor.
    Firstly – read your Deed of Conditions that came with the flat when you bought it.
    There should be a section relating to the factoring and replacement of same.
    Form a Residents Association and appoint a committee if not already in place. The committee can then contact a number of factoring companies including the incumbent and ask for quotations and proposals
    Whittle this down to 3 or 4 and give all owners notice of the Residents Association’s intention to have a meeting where the factoring companies can present their case.
    You then vote on the best one and notify the incumbent factor of the result.
    There is usually a period of handover, say 3 months if there is a change.
    You would be surprised at the effect this move will have on your existing factor, nothing is too much trouble for them, I know, I have done it.

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  14. i`ve dealt with this company and saddly still do but due to the offensive langauge and terrorist threats mainly from irene devanny and simon fitzspatrick and the low life sheriff officer graham baird i simply reported this all to the chief of police at strathclyde and tayside police . They have refused in court numerous times to produce this contract of an agreement as i know it doesnt exist i`ve now decided to take this to the judicial offfice in scotland based in edinburgh due to there illegal practices of playing monopoly with my title deeds and as the solicitor has been making repeated offensive phone calls towards myself mainly characterising myself as acting as a F**KING P**CK i`ve now reported het to the scottish legal complaints commission in edinburgh and also for lying in court under oath in which she has committed perjury through this company towards myself i intend pursuing this. As i`ve recently reported her to the sheriff principal Mr Craig Scott at glasgow sheriff court believe you me i intend taking her to the end. Also to the people who read this ask the staff in glasgow sheriff court that sent me private and confidential court papers to my address based on peoples lives and personal letters hand written from residents in the west coast including jackie baillies private letters to the sheriff principal which was a bad mistake they made i even have the solid evidence as i got this printed in a newspaper and i personally appeared on live tv news. the daily record has also taking a story from myself and is waiting on it being published if you want a copy of this newspaper article please do get back to me what a big mistake the sheriff principal`s clerk alison law of glasgow sheriff court has made sending mke all those private court case notes i bet strathclyde police really thought that was highly professional of you.

  15. i live in Edinburgh and have been using ross and liddle.they have kept increasing the charge and now i have paid 152 pound between 12 November 2011 to 02 February 2012.it comes to 60 pound a month.they charge this amount whether they carry out any maintenance or not.we are expected to pay this until we pay the mortgage off.i will have paid around 15,000 pound within 20 years.people keep phoning the company for minor things despite they can repair those things themselves or they can cut the grass themselves.they could save lots of money!the neighbors need to communicate with each other and take responsibility.we need to be brave.the ross and liddle has been making us feel like we are not the home owners but all tenants and we have not got any power or saying on our property.it is not right!

    • Hi Davie, Please see my reply online re ‘How to sack a factor’ 20th July 2012. Then go for it!! It’s easy! Ross and Liddell are a disgrace and do not deserve our money. There are lots of good factors out there. Good luck.
      Jean

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  17. As the owner of a top floor flat I can say my problem is not with Ross and Liddell but the owners below the top floor who consistently refuse to pay their share of common charges towards roofing repair. Perhaps they see these repairs as unnecessary. After paying over £1500** for a collapsed ceiling recently due to neighbours refusal to maintain the property, and with more repairs on the way, I have little sympathy for those who blame the factor, but find it really difficult to write out a cheque when the are legally obliged to

    **out of my own pocket as the insurance company have a get-out clause in cases like this. ie. Failure by residents to maintain roof = any insurance claims null and void.

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  19. How to sack a factor? Especially Ross and Liddell? Easy! Get quotes from alternative factors and write to the owners of the property.
    To find their contact details, look up the Land Registry and you will find the names and addresses of all the owners of the individual flats. http://www.registers-direct.ros.gov.uk/rosdas
    Write to your fellow owners and ask them to write back to/email you agreeing to move. Believe me, noone will hesitate to move from Ross and Liddell as they are the most incompetent and expensive factors in Scotland. If we all do this, They will have no clients which will teach them not to rip people off in future.

    • Our deeds require a majority of 51% to vote out a factor which can be difficult when our Resident’s Association committee outnumber the owners at the AGMs (over 160 flats in our development) Our factor started up a maintenance company over 10 years ago covering virtually all aspects of development maintenance, gardening, cleaning, general maintenance, electrical, painting, and more. They went to great lengths to hide this from the public, even registered the company in the Seychelles for director/shareholder anonimity (but they failed) Needless to say there was no tendering for any of the contracts, everything went to their own company on the side, unethical, immoral, open to abuse, and more but strangely enough it’s “legal”
      In order to generate sufficient votes (51%) it will probably be necessary to go down the Proxy Vote route which is what we are resigned to do. Will keep you posted.

  20. Someone else had asked for a recommendation of a half-decent factor but I haven’t seen any responses. Is anyone fairly happy with theirs? We’re with Macfie & Co and they are awful. Charging for work not done (thankfully I work from home and am able to dispute these invoices). They refused to clean the guttering, even though a small jungle is growing in it. They do sub-standard work…I could go on. Some of my neighbours want to self-factor but I’m really not keen on this as I think it could cause problems between neighbours. Really keen to get quotes from other factors but don’t want to go out of the frying pan into the fire. Any suggestions, gratefully received.

  21. Can someone help me please I need advice against a scrupulous factors who are trying to enforce fees on the property i own when 6 out of 8 people in the properties are tennants and dont have to pay the sums I am being charged to decorate. They admit in their letter the work does not need carried out but they are also charging a contingency fee of £350 to be along with the charges for painting when they just painted the same flats 5 years ago and say they will do thsi every 5 years to ensure there is not a speck of paint required to be painted over. I really need some advice urgently please help

  22. please google search the name Gregor Ross and click on the part is says angus mans gamble paid off against rogue factors ROSS + LIDDELL who lost the case on Thursday 25Th July 2013 at the sheriff court of Glasgow + Strathkelvin.

    Happy Reading

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