What is Low Cost Home Ownership?
East Lothian Council's Local Housing Strategy recognises that market prices are not affordable to many households who need to live in the area. This shared equity scheme is one of the many initiatives supported by the Council to help deliver affordable home ownership options.
East Lothian Council has made land available at nominal cost. Houses have been developed through a cost effective bulk procurement partnership with local builder, Hart. We have minimised our own overheads and other outlays. As we do not need to generate significant surpluses we are therefore able to sell properties at fixed prices, with significant discounts on their market value.
To ensure best use of the properties, applicants must meet eligibility criteria. Also any future sales must be on an equivalent fixed price, discounted basis to other applicants, who meet the eligibility criteria. To secure this we require purchasers to enter into a "legal agreement" backed up by a "standard security" over the property.
Under this scheme the property is transferred to the applicants. This means there are no monthly rent or occupancy charges to be paid on our retained interest in the property. Unlike shared ownership schemes since the purchaser has title to the whole property there is no scope to subsequently increase your share of the equity.
At present Homes for Life have completed 12 units for LCHO as part of our Muirfield Development. There are currently none available to buy.
Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011Why was new Legislation required?
On 1st October 2012, the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011, and its associated Code of Conduct, came into force. Until then, property factors had been unregulated leading to unscrupulous activities in some firms. Now, all operating Factors in Scotland must be formally registered and approved by the Scottish Government.What are the requirements of the new Act?
The Act has three main elements:
What is the Code of Conduct?
- statutory Register of all residential property factors, including land maintenance companies in Scotland;
- Code of Conduct which all registered factors must comply with;
- and the introduction of a new dispute resolution panel to which home owners can take complaints about their factors. This is called the Home owners Housing Panel ( HOHP) and is modelled on the same mechanism used in the private rented sector.
The Code of Conduct provides a number of key requirements with which the Factor must comply to ensure that the customer is treated fairly and in accordance with the regulations.
- Written statement of services
- Communication and consultation
- Financial obligations
- Debt recovery
- Carrying out repairs and maintenance
- Complaints resolution
The Written Statement of Service sets out the factor's responsibilities and the owners responsibilities in relation to the property. It also sets out the formal dispute resolution process and provides contact details for the Home Owners Housing Panel (HOHP)