A PROPERTY factor has been struck off the government’s register, leaving homeowners scrambling to find a reliable replacement to look after their building.

The Courtyard in Fleming Avenue, Whitecrook, is one of many across the west of Scotland who were notified that Apex Property Factor are no longer registered.

Scotland’s housing minister made a statement to MSPs, saying Apex “failed to meet minimum standards of practice”.

One resident told the Post: “I suppose we now must look for new factor with a good record – and registered, of course.”

The Scottish Government first took action against Apex in April 2019 for not being a “fit and proper person”, not complying with the code, and not complying with a property factor enforcement order (PFEO).

Apex appealed in court, but a sheriff refused it just before Christmas and, in turn, Apex failed to appeal that.

But last week, seven days after Apex had been removed, a firm calling itself Klean Kut Ltd wrote to residents of The Courtyard from the same address as Apex saying they were a new “associate company”.

However, Klean Kut Ltd is not registered with Companies House and is not on the property factor register.

Neil Cowan wrote two letters to residents, one as Apex’s legal manager, one as Klean Kut’s.

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As Apex, he said there was a “legal dispute” with the housing and social justice directorate, but that it was “business as usual”.

It said: “Until the matter is resolved, we have set up an associate company to ensure continuity of maintenance services. This is an interim measure which will hopefully be resolved shortly.”

And, as Klean Kut, he wrote that the Property Factors (Scotland) Act involved expensive charges being passed on to consumers.

He continued: “We have decided to adopt a different approach which allows us to reduce our charges and offer far more extensive services to suit your particular needs. In addition, as a new company, VAT is not payable on our charges at present.

“As Apex Property Factor, we have had the pleasure of working with you for a considerable time and look forward to continuing to work with you.”

It is a criminal offence for someone to operate as a factor without being on the register.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “I have written to homeowners and parliament to update them on the decision to remove Apex Property Factor from the official register. The reason for this decision is that Apex have failed to meet minimum standards of practice for their duties.”

Apex took over properties previously factored by FSE Scotland who went bust after failing to pay building insurance premiums, despite collecting money from residents.

Gil Paterson, Clydebank’s MSP, urged concerned residents to contact a solicitor from the Law Society of Scotland or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

He added: “I find it quite bizarre that seven days after Apex Property Factors had exhausted the appeals procedure, a new company called Klean Kut Ltd, operating from the same address, the same telephone and fax numbers and with the same legal manager, is being touted to the residents of 16 Fleming Avenue, Whitecrook, as a replacement property factor.”

When contacted, Apex did not respond to a request for comment.