Councillor seeks meeting over council home-owner charges

Stranraer and North Rhins Councillor Marion McCutcheon is seeking a meeting with Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) to discuss residents’ concerns over the introduction of a new factoring charge for those who have bought their former council or housing association home.

Over the past two years, DGHP have begun introducing a factoring service primarily aimed at premises such as flats where there is a mixture of tenants who rent from DGHP and those who now own their property.

The cost of the scheme is included in the rental costs for those who rent from DGHP but for those who have bought their property an annual management charge of £85 a year is levied. In addition, if repairs are required over and above £250 to the common areas of the properties then the factoring service collects the share of the cost of repairs from the tenants who have bought their properties.

A number of residents who own their homes have expressed concerns to Marion about the new charges.

Marion, along with fellow Labour Councillors, has now requested a meeting with DGHP to discuss the concerns.

Marion said: “I can understand why a factoring service is being introduced. One of the concerns residents in shared properties have had in the past is that repairs haven’t been carried out if those who have bought their property decide not to agree to pay a share. A factoring service can overcome this and also ensure that routine maintenance, for example repairing lighting in communal staircases, is carried out on a regular basis.

“However, for people who have bought their property this is a new charge for them, at a time that people are struggling with the cost of living crisis. I want to discuss the introduction of this charge with DGHP to raise residents’ concerns and ensure that what private tenants are being asked to pay is fair and equitable.”

A Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership spokesman said: “A meeting has been planned after we offered, some time ago, to go along and speak with councillors to provide information on new legislation relating to ‘factors’.

“The offer of a meeting, which will take place at the end of April, was taken up by the Labour group. However, this is the first we have been made aware of these concerns from Councillor McCutcheon.

“If any tenants or residents have any questions regarding the factoring service, they can contact our factoring team on Freephone 0800 011 3447 directly.”