Apex Property Factor Ltd was struck off the property factor register in April last year, after a string of breaches of the code of conduct. An appeal was heard in December and was refused. The company did not appeal again. Kevin Stewart wrote to former clients of Apex on 13 January, to tell them the good news. Three days later, constituents of mine in Motherwell received another letter, on Apex headed paper, citing an “ongoing legal dispute” and saying that an associate company, Klean Kut Ltd, had been established in order to ensure “continuity of maintenance services”.
My constituents have since received a further letter, and an invoice. It is an appalling and outrageous situation, and MSPs across the chamber have concerns about it.
Will the First Minister look at providing extra help for those homeowners to find new factors? Does she agree that the process for removing bad factors takes far too long, and that the case that I have mentioned highlights a loophole that should be closed?
Given the nature of the constituency that I represent, where there are a lot of tenemental properties, I regularly deal with constituents who have issues with factors, so I understand some of the frustrations that people have. That said, a lot of factors do a good job. The reason why we have a property factor register, and why companies can be removed from it, is to make sure that high standards are applied.
I am more than happy to look at the case that Graham Simpson raises. I do not know the details of any letters that Apex Property Factor may be sending out, but it is essential that the system works to protect homeowners. I am happy for him to send the details to the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, so that we can look into the situation and see what more action, if any, the Scottish Government is able to take.