Thursday 30 September 2010

Factor cases ‘swamp courts’

The Evening Times reports today: Courts are being “swamped” by cases of property factors taking legal action against home owners, the Scottish Parliament heard. And two Glasgow MSPs revealed they have been inundated with complaints about factor disputes.  Maryhill MSP Patricia Ferguson and lawyer Mike Dailly, of Govan Law Centre, told the Local Government Committee how big a problem disputes with factors had become and that a new law was essential.

Ms Ferguson’s Property Factors Bill would set up a compulsory registration scheme with a set of standards designed to root out rogue factors. It would also provide an independent dispute resolution system to prevent costly court cases. Ms Ferguson said problems with factors has become her biggest caseload, prompting the Bill. She said: “Not a day goes by without someone from across Scotland contacting me for advice. Not one day.”

A series of Evening Times investigations published over the last two years have also uncovered a catalogue of complaints and shocking cases of overcharging and poor work. Our reports were passed to the committee for it to consider. Mr Dailly said that as well as contacting politicians the courts were under pressure and people put into debt, which could be avoided. He said: “The reason Govan Law Centre got involved was because we were seeing what is happening day in, day out. Sheriff courts are swamped with property factors raising actions for payments. “A lot have added on costs, expenses are attached, and I have seen many people sequestrated by factors.”

Glasgow SNP MSP Bob Doris also confirmed the frequency of complaints. He said: “I am not short on the number of these cases I have on a weekly basis from people in factoring disputes.” Ms Ferguson said: There are property factors who threaten court action, but never see it through. Yet the charges are still added to bills.That is not acceptable.” It was the final session of evidence to the committee and it will now consider it before submitting it for the Bill.

GLC's evidence can be seen on the Scottish Parliament's Holyrood TV here (opens as video); and the Bill's Committee Page is here.

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