On 28th January, 2022, the chair of Woodilee Residents Association (WRA) gave notice to the current estate Factor, RMG, or the WRA decision to terminate RMG as factor as of 30th April 2022. The WRA appointed NPM as replacement factor.
Follow up emails were sent to RMG on 1 February and 3 February. A reply was received from RMG on 3 February stating “we are currently reviewing our position and will be in contact in due course”. WRA chased RMG on 17 February, but no response was received.
On 19 February, WRA received a letter from BTO, legal representatives of RMG requesting information on the role of the WRA and details on how the meeting to give WRA power to appoint a new factor was run. WRA replied to this letter on 21 February answering in detail all questions posed by BTO. No reply has been received from either BTO or RMG to this letter.
Despite multiple further attempts to contact RMG via email and telephone, no further replies have been received and RMG have refused to acknowledge the notice given and commence handover proceedings to the incoming property factor.
A formal complaint to RMG on the lack of engagement and acknowledgement of their termination was raised by the WRA Treasurer on 15 March, no response has been received to date on this complaint.
On 23 March, WRA became aware of a letter sent by RMG to the incoming factor NPM which disputes the validity of the termination of RMG as factor for the estate. The letter states “The RA appear to have sought a vote on the right to undertake a tender process but at no stage have the owners been presented with options on factors, which the Deeds suggest is the correct process”
WRA strongly dispute that it does not have the power to terminate RMG and appoint a new factor in their place. WRA have the power to terminate a factor and appoint a new factor following a motion being passed at an Extraordinary General Meeting of property owners held on 20th October 2021. The motion ““Members of the association grant the Woodilee Residents Association the authority to decide who factors Woodilee Village estate” was approved by 244 (out of 252) votes cast. The total votes of 252 represented 29.3% of properties on the estate, far exceeding the quorum requirement of 20% defined in the Deed of Conditions for Woodilee Village. These Deeds give the residents the power “to fix the duration of the Manager’s appointment or to appoint another Manager in his, her or their place”, a power which was delegated to WRA via this motion.
Despite RMGs statement to NPM, nowhere in the Deeds is it required that a meeting of residents must be presented with options on factors. WRA have complied with the Deeds in seeking the power from residents to remove and appoint a new factor and have acted in line with this power.
WRA also note that although RMG have not engaged with them on the termination, they appear to be presenting a contradictory position to different parties. As noted earlier, in communications with the incoming factor, RMG are disputing the right of WRA to terminate them and appoint NPM. However, an email sent to WRA Treasurer on 22 March stated that RMG would not be appointing a contractor to complete an overdue health and safety inspection on trees around the estate as “it will be the responsibility of NPM to conduct such inspection”
On the one hand RMG appear to be fighting to remain factor on the estate, and on the other hand they are refusing to work as factor on the grounds another factor is due to takeover in May 2022.
It is a requirement of the updated Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2021 Code of Conduct for Property Factors, effective from 16 August 2021, that RMG’s Written Statement of Services (WSS) must set out ‘inter alia’, “ a clear statement confirming the property factor’s procedure for how it will co-operate with another property factor to assist with a smooth transition process in circumstances where another factor is due to of has taken over the management of property and land owned by homeowners “ [paragraph 1.5 G (21) refers]. No such statement exists in RMG’s WSS.
RMG’s failure to meet this obligation mean NPM’s transition into the role of factor will be more challenging as RMG have access to contact details for all home owners in the estate which they have refused to share. It also means that NPM will now ultimately start afresh as factor. RMG will be expected to explain the end of budgetary year financial position (including debt) to all residents.
WRA encourage all residents to raise formal complaints to RMG to complain about the lack of communications relating to their termination and their lack of action to meet their statutory obligation to support the incoming factor, NPM.
Because we believe residents should get access to the facts, attached here are the artefacts referenced in this update. *Updated 5th April with additional communications
- 18th Feb 2022 – RMG legal challenge on the vote run
- 21st Feb 2022 – RA response to legal challenge
- 21st Feb 2022 – RMG’s email response when asked by the January 2022 tree survey had not taken place
- 25th March 2022 – RMG further legal challenge on vote run*
- 28th March 2022 – RA response*
- 28th March 2022 – Appendix to RA response*