Concerns are being raised by an Aberdeen-based factoring firm that the city’s tenements are at risk of becoming dangerously deteriorated as landlords cut back on maintenance.
Ross Watt of Newton Property Management claims that many of Aberdeen’s aging granite tenement buildings are being neglected as rents have dropped in recent years forcing landlords to cut maintenance costs.
He is warning that common areas in these shared properties are suffering, and general structural maintenance is being overlooked, which could become costly for home owners in the long run.
Mr Watt’s warning comes in the wake of a recent report issued by a Tenement Working Group set up by the Scottish Government to look into the housing crisis facing the country’s existing housing stock.
Nearly a fifth of Scotland’s housing is pre-1919 which accounts for 467,000 homes and 68% of those have disrepair to critical elements with 36% in need of critical and urgent repairs. Most of these are tenements, therefore, with Aberdeen boasting a large number of granite tenements, the report has highlighted a call for action.
Following investigations, the working group has recommended that the common parts of all tenements, including roofs, should be inspected every five years and a report prepared which is accessible to all existing and prospective owners and tenants, neighbours and policy makers. It is hoped that these inspections will confirm the condition of Scotland’s tenements and the cost to repair and maintain.
The interim report to the Scottish Government also recommends compulsory owners’ associations and the introduction of compulsory regular payment of ‘sinking funds’ to deal with any future major expenditure.
Mr Watt said: “It is good that the Scottish Government has recognised that there is a potential crisis looming with regards to maintenance of shared properties across Scotland but with more than 12,000 Aberdeen flats in granite tenements built in Victorian and Edwardian times, home owners in the city need to begin taking responsibility sooner rather than later or they could face extortionate repair fees which may not be covered by their current insurance.
“We have already seen a number of granite tenements in the city requiring urgent maintenance with residents being landed with large, unexpected bills, so it is time for home owners and landlords to work together and address joint maintenance. This has become particularly concerning in recent years as the city’s rental value has plummeted resulting in some landlords bypassing maintenance to cut costs.”
Newton Property Management, founded in 2001, is one of the largest factoring firms in Scotland with offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Inverness. Factor management for joint ownership properties is commonplace in the central belt but, despite Aberdeen having a large number of traditional granite tenements, factoring is a fairly new concept to the city.
In addition to managing emergency repairs, factors can look after general cleaning and maintenance inside and outside, any required refurbishments and general repairs, such as gutter clearing and light bulb replacements.
The interim report by the tenement working group, which had representation from a cross sector of the public and the property industry, is currently under review with an aim to creating policy recommendations for Scottish Government consideration.
For information about Newton Property’s factoring services, contact Ross on 01224 452745 or visit the Newton Property Management website.