Bridgewater Housing Association launches new five-year Business Plan Bridgewater Housing Association are excited to launch our new and
To deliver high quality and responsive land and property management services that meet the needs and expectations of our customers.
Our vision is the provision of a service which is valued by its customers and which consistently delivers value for money.
We have provided every owner with a written statement of services which sets out our obligations to anyone who receives our Factoring Service, as required by the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011. A copy of these statements can be found Here: House / Flat.
The management fee you pay us gives you access to a range of core services, including:
If you live in a house the costs you pay are apportioned based on the work carried out in your management area. These are called common repairs. Every one of the properties rented from the Association and sold under the Right to Buy is associated with a Management area. There are 4 of these areas:
Bargarran with 795 properties
North Barr with 974 properties
Park Mains I with 719 properties
Park Mains II with 903 properties
Each owner and tenant pays an equal share of the total cost for common repairs within their management area. For example, someone living in Bargarran would pay one 795th of the cost of repairs. Tenants pay for their contribution through their rent.
Some houses also have a small footpath which services only a limited number of houses in their street. In these cases owners will also have to pay for the maintenance of these paths. This charge will be shown separately on your account, if it applies.
Owners who live in flats require to pay common charges, and also block common charges, for repairs to the individual blocks of flats they live in.
These include day-to-day maintenance work which is carried out somewhere in the management area. Such repairs can include:
These are repairs which are carried out to the common areas within a block of flats. These can include:
If you live in a block which has 6 flats, for example, you will pay a 1/6th share of the costs carried out to common areas in your block.
If you live in a flat you are legally obliged to pay your share of these costs and this is detailed in your Title Deeds.
These include work that is carried out on a programmed basis, normally every five years, and include work such as maintenance painterwork.
Most of the landscaped areas within the Association’s management areas are owned by Bridgewater Housing Association, and we have the responsibility for maintaining them. This entails a great deal of work and includes:
To give some sense of scale, the Association is responsible for the maintenance of 57 acres of grass and shrub areas within the 4 management areas. This is in addition to trees, woodland, hedges and hard landscape areas.
As this is a very large contract, the Association employs professional quantity surveyors to ensure that costs are carefully controlled, and properly allocated to the various management areas.
If we did not carry out this work, eventually the deterioration in standards would affect the value of your house.
As an owner occupier you are responsible along with the other owners in your management area to contribute to these repairs. Tenants pay their share of the costs through their rents.
You are legally obliged to contribute to these costs and these obligations are detailed in your Title Deeds. If you are unsure about what’s in your Title Deeds, you may want to speak to your solicitor.
It doesn’t matter if the repair/replacement wasn’t right next to your home, if it was in your management area, then you are legally bound to contribute towards the costs incurred.
This means that the Association effectively manages the maintenance of the common parts of your block. This includes arranging for communal repairs; monitoring the performance of contractors who work in your block; making payments to contractors; issuing accounts to the owners in your block who have to pay for these common charges; and collecting payments.
The majority of our factored owners have their buildings insurance with us; this is a condition of the title deeds. As our factored owners are included in our global policy, they receive excellent value for money.
A great deal of work is required in selecting contractors and monitoring their performance to ensure that the Association’s customers are getting value for money.
The administration fee covers the cost of a range of things. These include organising tenders for the landscape maintenance contract and other work carried out in common areas; managing these contracts including quality control and value for money; dealing with enquiries about the work we do; and the costs associated with preparing and issuing your account.
The Management Fee is reviewed annually and is approved by the Association’s Management Committee. It is currently £1.73 per week and applies to flat owners only. This covers all the work detailed in the previous question for houses but also includes the costs associated with factoring blocks of flats (see previous question re factored blocks).
Your Council tax bill only includes work carried out by Renfrewshire council. The landscaped areas and many footpaths in the area you live in have not been adopted by the council. It is Bridgewater’s responsibility to maintain these areas and owner occupiers responsibility to contribute towards the cost of this work.
We have detailed maps in our office which show who is responsible for unadopted pathways and landscaped areas. If you are interested in viewing these maps you are welcome to call into the office. It is worth noting that all roads are maintained by Renfrewshire Council.
The Council have advised us that they would require the equivalent of 15 years of landscaped maintenance costs to be paid in advance of them adopting the landscaped areas, and all footpaths would have to be upgraded to adoption standard. It would be unlikely that many residents would find this affordable, and it will also require a majority of residents to agree to these changes, which we know from experience, is unlikely to be achieved.
It is the Association’s policy not to sell off areas of common land, other than in exceptional circumstances. The Association is reviewing its policy with a view to making it easier for small areas of land to be acquired by residents. We have experienced significant legal and regulatory obstacles in trying to do this, which is prolonging the process. As it stands we are not in a position to sell pieces of land, however, should this change we will write to all residents when there are changes to the current policy.
You can view the March 2020 factoring Policy here.
You can view the Written Statement of Services (Flats) here.
You can view the Written Statement of Services (Houses) here.
Are you in danger of losing your home? Help is at hand ……
If you own your own home and are in danger of having it repossessed as a result of financial difficulties, then the Scottish Government may be able to help you.
The Scottish Government operates 2 schemes, as part of the Home Owners’ Support Fund, to help owners who are experiencing difficulty in paying any loans that are secured against their property – the Mortgage to Rent Scheme and the Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme.
Under the Mortgage to Rent Scheme the Scottish Government can arrange for a social landlord such as a housing association or a local authority to buy your home and for you to continue to live there as a tenant.
The Mortgage to Shared Equity Scheme involves the Scottish Government taking a financial stake in your home. You will still own your home and continue to have responsibility for maintaining and insuring it. But you will be able to reduce the amount you have to pay to your lender every month.
If you are experiencing difficulty in paying any loans that are secured against your home you should tell your lender immediately.
To be considered for either the Mortgage to Rent or Mortgage to Shared Equity scheme you must have:
To be considered for the Mortgage to Rent Scheme you must also:
How Do I Apply?
You have to meet with an independent advisor first of all at CAB or Money Advice Centre and complete an application form with them.
It is important that you complete the form in full and provide the Scottish Government with all the supporting information they ask for. If they do not receive all information asked they may not consider your application or may return it to you to fully complete. This will delay the decision on your eligibility and may put you at greater risk of losing your home.
Remember, they can’t consider your application if you haven’t taken independent advice from Citizens Advice, Money Advice or your local authority advice centre.
Citizens Advice Scotland –
Money Advice Scotland –
Local Authority Money Advice Centers – Telephone your local council
A full list of advice agencies can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk
If you request information from us about our services, which we do not already publish, we may charge you for the staff time required to gather the information (at up to £15 per hour) and for any photocopying and similar costs. We will deal with all information requests within 20 working days. There may be further costs involved if the information you are requesting is of a complex nature or if the information is not readily available. You will be notified of this before the Association proceeds with any work. These costs are subject to annual review.
We will always try to resolve any complaints you may make to us as quickly as possible. If you are unhappy with the service we give you, or we have made a mistake, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to tell us.
Our front line staff will try to resolve complaints within 5 working days of being contacted, although this may take up to 20 days if a complaint is complex, or if it requires further investigation, for example by a manager. As a general rule, we follow the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman’s Complaints Handling Procedure.
Our Homeowner Complaints Leaflet sets out our quality standards for dealing with complaints. You can obtain a copy of the leaflet and our Homeowners Complaints Form by downloading it from here . Copies are also available in our Erskine office reception area and we will be happy to send copies out to you by post on request.
If you remain unhappy with the outcome of your complaint after reaching the end of our internal procedures, you can refer your complaint to the Homeowner Housing Panel. The panel is an independent group appointed by the Scottish Government to review complaints made by homeowners about their factor.
We know that some customers may have difficulty paying their bills from time to time. It’s important that you tell us about any difficulties you may have in paying your bill as early as possible, so that we can discuss this with you. We will act with sensitivity and forbearance of your circumstances, and will be able to point you towards support organisations, such as Money Advice Scotland and the Citizens Advice Bureau, for assistance. It is very important that you contact us immediately if you are having difficulty paying as we will proceed with legal action if an account becomes overdue
We will be sensitive to the individual circumstances of customers where appropriate. However, it is important that everyone pays their fair share for the services they receive. Consequently we take a robust approach to debt recovery to ensure that this happens. Our Debt Recovery Policy is available on request or is available
You are obliged to pay your bill within 30 days. If your bill is not paid within 30 days we will:
If payment is not made within 7 days or contact is not made then your account will be passed to our solicitors for them to proceed with debt recovery action. There will also be an administration charge added to the account at this point to cover the additional staff time and resources.
Any administration costs and legal costs associated with debt recovery action will also be charged to your account.
Most of the landscaped areas within the Association’s management areas have not been adopted by Renfrewshire Council. This means that they are owned by Bridgewater Housing Association and we have the responsibility for maintaining them. This entails a great deal of work and includes:
To give some sense of scale, Bridgewater is responsible for the maintenance of 57 acres of grass and shrub areas within the 4 areas as well as trees, woodland, hedges and hard landscape areas.
If you have a query about who is responsible for a piece of ground we can check this for you.
If you feel standards are not being kept in any areas please contact the Association.
When a homeowner sells a factored property, the factor is required to work out how much the seller owes for common services provided up to the date of sale. This is called an apportioned account. Your title conditions contain the requirement that you inform us when you sell your property, which is usually done through a solicitor or other agent handling the sale. The Association will provide the seller’s solicitor with an apportioned account, within 10 working days of receiving a written request.
A charge of £30 is made to cover the administration costs involved and is added to the seller’s account. This charge is subject to annual review.
A charge of £70 is made if an apportioned account is required in less than 7 days from the date of request. This higher charge reflects the additional administration costs involved and is added to the seller’s account. This charge is subject to annual review.
A charge of £20 is made if additional documentation is required e.g. copies of building warrants, guarantees, warranties, certificates. This charge is subject to annual review.
Please note a selling owner becomes responsible for the cost of any works, including cyclical and major repair works, at the point we instruct the work. The selling owner must pay these costs even if they are no longer the owner when the work is actually carried out.
Repairs Deposits (Flat Owners)
The Title Deeds of your property may require you to pay us a small repairs deposit, usually between £30 and £100. We will return this money to you if you sell your property or if you move to another factor, provided your account with us is up to date and you have no outstanding debt. If you do owe any amounts to the Association, we may deduct these amounts from the deposit and return any balance to you.
Through our accounting arrangements we ensure a clear separation of funds by ensuring that Repairs Deposits paid by homeowners are accounted for separately.
Thank you for your interest in our customer portal. Whilst its not quite ready yet, our portal is coming soon. If you’d like to be involved in testing it out, please register your interest below.