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New app targets management of Edinburgh property repairs

8 Apr 21 City of Edinburgh Council and its partner Novoville have released an app aimed at helping private flat owners to manage the maintenance and repair of shared areas.

Novoville Shared Repairs is aimed at improving the condition of property in co-ownership in Edinburgh and all of Scotland. It was born out of the Scottish government’s CivTech Accelerator programme and is designed to help private homeowners carry out the maintenance and repairs of shared or common areas in their tenement, or housing block.

The often lengthy and onerous common repairs process can be managed from the app from start to finish. The free app, which is available on Google Play and the App Store, allows users to create their ‘virtual tenement’ and report a repair or maintenance issue to fellow proprietors. Then, app users can hire contractors that are members of Edinburgh’s Trusted Trader scheme. Receiving quotes and recording of votes is also fully supported.

Steve Richardson, director of Scotland Trusted Trader, said: “This is going to be a massive benefit for those looking to organise shared repairs, backed up with the reassurance that Trading Standards vetted members are being used from Edinburgh Trusted Trader.”

In order to further expedite the payment process and simplify the process, Novoville Shared Repairs allows app users to create a dedicated e-money account for their tenement with FCA-regulated partner, Modulr. It is no longer necessary to create a traditional treasurer account with a bank or building society in order to gather funds and pay them out to the chosen contractor.

The app is designed to help users carry out repairs in compliance with the Tenement Management Scheme of the Tenements Act (Scotland) 2004. The developers said that it speeds up decision-making, eliminates much of the complexity and friction associated with coming to an agreement amongst owners, and increases transparency between all participants.

Fotis Talantzis, CEO of Novoville, said: “We are proud to support one of the UK’s greatest architectural assets, the built environment in Edinburgh, with our Shared Repairs app. The CivTech programme where it all started was a tremendous experience, and we are very happy that the City of Edinburgh Council decided to continue to support and fund the project afterwards. We have got tons of ideas to take it from there and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Edinburgh, for Edinburgh and Scotland at large.”

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Councillor Rob Munn, convener of the finance and resources committee at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “A tremendous amount of work has gone into producing this app and it’s fantastic news that it’s now available for people to use. There are around 170,000 tenement flats and other shared buildings with multiple owners in Edinburgh and a lot of these buildings are still in need of urgent repair. This app will make it much easier for owners to get together and take responsibility for their buildings.

“I’d like to thank our staff for recognising the need for this product and rising to the challenge using the Civtech Challenge to produce this innovative app with Novoville.”

Joan Griffiths, vice convener of the finance and resources committee at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “As a city we’re already leading the way in this area and our Shared Repairs Team is doing a fantastic job supporting people who live in shared buildings helping them through the steps they need to take to carry out repairs to their properties properly.

“We’re a member of the Parliamentary Working Group looking at the issue nationally and I’m sure there will be interest in the app outside Edinburgh as well.”

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