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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 11:46 GMT
Couple's victory over factor bill
Stuart and Anne Simpson
Stuart and Anne Simpson challenged Ross and Liddell
A property management company has lost a court battle against a couple who claimed maintenance work had not been carried out on their estate.

Ross and Liddell, which was criticised in a recent BBC Scotland investigation, had taken the couple to court over an unpaid bill for 200.

Stuart and Anne Simpson from Falkirk refused to pay, claiming the company was not properly maintaining the site.

A Glasgow sheriff agreed and limited payment to just 50.

Mr and Mrs Simpson said they spent hours walking around their estate at Carronshore gathering photographs of the work which had not been done by their factor.

Factors have a responsibility to instruct competent contractors and take reasonable steps to ensure the work is carried out
Sheriff Craig Scott

Their dossier included grass not being cut, borders not being dug and trees being damaged by the careless use of strimmers.

Stuart Simpson, who is by profession a landscape gardener, said: "It became second nature for us to take a camera and measuring tape with us when we went for a walk.

"Sometimes we were out every day to check on what work had been done by the factor. It does take over your life."

After hearing the case and viewing the couple's dossier, Sheriff Craig Scott found in favour of the Simpsons.

In his ruling, he said: "The evidence of Mr Simpson, taken along with the extensive range of photographs depicting poor and incomplete workmanship, provided a somewhat compelling picture.

"Factors have a responsibility to instruct competent contractors and take reasonable steps to ensure the work is carried out. In this case it fell far short of being competent."

He said Ross and Liddell had been found entirely wanting as factors and the Simpsons should only pay a quarter of the charge being demanded by the company.

The couple are now urging their 125 neighbours to seek refunds from the factor for work that was not carried out.

Patricia Ferguson MSP for Glasgow Maryhill wants to introduce legislation that would stop cases like the Simpsons ending up in court.

Her Members Bill calls for all property factors to register and agree to a new dispute resolution procedure.

A spokesman for property managers Ross and Liddell said the company did not take court action lightly and did so only when they felt there was no alternative means of resolving a dispute.

SEE ALSO
Scotland's Property Nightmare
09 Jan 08 |  Scotland

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