‘Scotland is a picturesque country where the people are friendly yet completely incomprehensible. Also, the national delicacy is a sheep’s stomach filled with its liver, lungs, and heart.’ – Adam Schlesinger
‘Scotland is about layering. The weather changes every 10 minutes.’ – Sam Heughan
‘What most people don’t understand is that UFOs are on a cosmic tourist route. That’s why they’re always seen in Arizona, Scotland, and New Mexico. Another thing to consider is that all three of those destinations are good places to play golf. So there’s possibly some connection between aliens and golf.’ – Alice Cooper
Hope that you have been enjoying the sunshine, I will admit when the rain started last week I thought that it was the end of the good weather, but gladly not quite yet.”
‘Looking forward to Scottish summers, the rain gets warmer.’
This weeks email is a lot of compliance information, landlord obligations and I realised that I have mentioned the First tier tribunal in emails previously, but not expanded on what that is.
Condition standards in the private rented sector
Properties let in the private rented sector (PRS) have to comply with two condition standards: –
1. The tolerable standard – this applies to all properties in Scotland, regardless of tenure
2. The repairing standard – this applies to properties let in the Private Rented Sector only
The repairing standard
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced the repairing standard to properties let in the PRS. It has been modified since it was introduced with some new requirements due to come into force in 2024. In order to meet the repairing standard at present:
a) the property must be wind and water tight and in all other respects reasonably fit for people to live in;
b) the structure and exterior (including drains, gutters and external pipes) must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order;
c) installations for supplying water, gas and electricity and for sanitation, space heating and heating water must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order;
d) any fixtures, fittings and appliances that the landlord provides under the tenancy must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order;
e) any furnishings that the landlord provides under the tenancy must be capable of being used safely for the purpose for which they are designed;
f) the property must have a satisfactory way of detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of a fire or suspected fire;
g) the property must have satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health; and
h) the property must meet the tolerable standard
From 1 March 2024 the following standards must also be met: –
point c) above is amended to require water pipes to be free of lead, electrical installations to be protected by a residual current device (RCD), properties to have a fixed space heating system and installations for fuels other than gas and electricity to be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
• any common parts pertaining to the property must be able to be accessed and used safely
• the property must have satisfactory provision for, and safe access to, a food storage area and food preparation space
• where the property is in a tenement, common doors must be secure and fitted with satisfactory emergency exit locks
A flat in a tenement does not fail the repairing standard if work otherwise needed to comply with the standard cannot be carried out because a majority of owners in the tenement have refused consent to carry out the work.
The repairing standard doesn’t apply to tenancies of less than 31 days for the purpose of a holiday.
The tolerable standard
The Housing (Scotland) Act 1969 introduced the tolerable standard which is a basic standard of habitability and applies to all housing in Scotland, regardless of tenure. It has been modified since it was introduced with some new requirements due to come into force in 2022. A property meets the tolerable standard if it: –
• is structurally stable
• is substantially free from rising or penetrating damp
• has satisfactory provision for natural and artificial lighting, for ventilation and for heating
• has satisfactory thermal insulation
• has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the property
• has a sink provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water within the property
• has an indoor toilet for the exclusive use of the occupants of the property
• has a fixed bath or shower and a wash-hand basin, each provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water and suitably located within the property
• has an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water
• in the case of a property having a supply of electricity, complies with the relevant requirements in relation to the electrical installation for the purposes of that supply
• has satisfactory facilities for the cooking of food within the property
• has satisfactory access to all external doors and outbuildings
From 1 February 2022 the following requirements move from being included in the repairing standard to being included in the tolerable standard and therefore apply to all properties, regardless of tenure: –
• the property must have satisfactory equipment installed for detecting, and for giving warning of, fire or suspected fire
• the property must have satisfactory equipment installed for detecting, and for giving warning of, carbon monoxide present in a concentration that is hazardous to health
I have attached the Scottish Association of landlords landlord check list which is a flow chart of what a landlord needs to do which can also be found on our website at https://glasgowpropertyletting.com/wp-content/uploads/SAL-Landlord-Checklist-hyperlinks.pdf.
Compliance legislation changes, which is why the GPL team participate in many training sessions to keep up to date,
Regulations under The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 Repairing Standard states that there must be: “…satisfactory provision of smoke alarms” Effective 3 September 2007 Enforced by First-tier Tribunal Guidance revised most recently in 2019
The guidance states there should be at least: One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes.
Smoke detection guidance One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings One heat alarm in every kitchen, and All alarms should be interlinked.
Since 1 March 2019 landlords have been permitted to install interlinked long life sealed lithium battery alarms instead of mains powered ones.
Smoke detection regulations
Government guidance on the amended requirement has been published and stipulates that: smoke alarms must conform to BS EN 14604 and heat alarms to BS 5446-2.
From 1 February 2021 all properties in Scotland must meet the same standard of smoke/heat and CO alarm provision as the PRS, regardless of tenure
Given the impact of COVID-19, and the difficulties this is likely to create for people seeking to install new smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Parliament agreed to delay the implementation of the new standard until February 2022.
Carbon monoxide detectors
From 1st December 2015 landlords have been required to ensure properties have a CO detection system to alert occupants to the presence of CO gas.
The landlord should ensure there is:
- 1 CO detector in every space containing a fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking) and
- 1 CO detector to provide early warning in high risk accommodation, that is, a bedroom or principal habitable room, where a flue passes through these
- It must conform to BS EN 50291
- CO detectors can be battery operated and have a working life of between 5 – 7 years
- Maximum fine for non-compliance £1000
Repairs, or health and safety inspections to a property
Landlords should make every effort to abide by gas safety requirements, which continue to be of great importance for tenants’ safety. This may be more difficult due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, for example where a tenant has COVID-19 symptoms, is self-isolating or shielding. Under such circumstances, provided the landlord can demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to comply, they would not be in breach.
Read the latest guidance for landlords and Gas Safe engineers and inspectors from the HES.
Landlords should also make every effort to abide by electrical and other fuel safety requirements, which continue to be of great importance for tenants’ safety. This may be more difficult due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. Where inspections have already been carried out, documents can be provided by post or in some circumstances it may be possible to provide digital copies.
Non-essential work carried out in people’s homes can go ahead, as long as the guidance on business and physical distancing is followed and, importantly, provided the tradesperson is well and is not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither they nor any of their household are self-isolating. All precautions should be taken to ensure occupants and workforce are not put at risk of Covid19. When work is being carried out inside a house, workers and occupants should ensure the mitigation measures outlined in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): general guidance for safer workplaces – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
Landlord responsibility for gas safety https://www.gassaferegister.co.uk/help -and-advice/covid-19-advice-andguidance/landlords/
Landlord responsibility for gas safety
A change made to the legislation back in April 2018 gives landlords the opportunity to carry out the annual gas safety check in the two months before the due date and retain the existing expiry date.
This avoids waiting until the last minute and not gaining access, or having to shorten the annual cycle check to comply with the law.
Electrical Safety Regulations
Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 introduced new electrical safety regulations.
Landlords are required to ensure that regular electrical safety inspections are carried out by a competent person, and that anything that fails to pass the inspection is replaced or repaired immediately.
Landlords are required to have a fixed wiring (Electrical Installation Condition Report or EICR) check carried out at their rental property at least every five years.
First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)
The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) (HPC) is an independent and impartial judicial body separate from the Scottish Government and local authorities.
If your tenant or local authority thinks that the property does not meet the repairing standard, they have advised you of the problem and you have refused to carry out the necessary repairs, then they may apply to the HPC to intervene.
After notifying you of the repair, the tenant/local authority must give you a reasonable time to complete the work. What is considered a reasonable time is not specified and will depend upon the nature of the repair. For example, a leaking roof should be dealt with very quickly, an external drain which chokes occasionally would be less urgent.
In addition, the HPC will not deal with the case if:
•the repair work needing done falls out-with the scope of the repairing standard (see list above)
• the tenancy was originally for a period of 3 years or more and your tenant is responsible for repairs
• the repair work needing done results from damage by your tenant, their family or visitors
• the house has to be rebuilt due to a fire, flood or other major event
• the repairs relate to something the tenant is entitled to remove from the house
If you do not carry out work for which you are responsible then an application can be made to the HPC by your tenant/local authority for a committee to make a decision.
A Notice of Referral will be sent to you and a date for a hearing is then set. You can either attend in person or give written representations, or do both if you prefer. You will be asked what you wish to do in the Notice of Referral and you must respond by the date given in the notice. It is always best to attend the hearing if at all possible as you can then respond to questions that arise or you can ask questions yourself on the day. If you are served a citation, then you are obliged by law to attend.
Before the hearing a site inspection will be carried out at your property, usually on the same day as the hearing. The HPC will only be looking at the issues raised by your tenant but if they notice something else they consider relevant to the complaint then they are entitled to enquire further.
Hearings will normally be held in a public venue within reasonable travelling distance for both you and your tenant/local authority. Hearings are conducted as informally as possible so do not be put off attending. A decision is not normally given at the hearing, but a written decision giving reasons will be issued soon after.
If the HPC committee decides you have failed to comply with a repair duty, then it must issue a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order (RSEO) specifying what needs to be done and a date by which you must have completed the work, but you will be given at least 21 days. It is a criminal offence not to comply with the RSEO and the property must not be let to new tenants while a RSEO is in place.
After the period within which you must complete the work expires a further site visit will be made and another hearing scheduled if necessary. If the committee decide you have failed to comply, it will serve a Notice of Failure on the local authority and decide whether to make a Rent Relief Order. This could mean that the rent payable to you can be reduced by up to 90%. All other conditions of the tenancy remain the same.
Appeals for all First-tier tribunal HPC cases are made to the Upper Tribunal for Scotland. Before an appeal can be submitted to the Upper Tribunal, permission to appeal must be sought from the First-tier Tribunal. More information on appeals can be found at https://housingandpropertychamber.scot/whowe-are/appeals-and-reviews. If you require more detailed information you can contact the HPC directly: First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber 4th Floor, 1 Atlantic Quay, 45 Robertson Street. GLASGOW G2 8JB Tel: 0141 302 5900
Warning to Glasgow residents as scammers pretend to be smoke alarm testers to rob homes
Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) bosses have warned in a that statement: “Bogus callers have been reported in Kennishead and around the south of Glasgow. “They are asking to check water supplies or smoke alarms and may claim to work for GHA, the council or the fire services.
Criminals are said to be operating in the south side of the city.
Elderly residents are considered most at risk and are urged not to let strangers into their homes.
A stark warning online from the housing association told locals to use door chains if they have them, not let strangers in, not to give keys to workmen and never be bullied into letting someone in.
“Remember, don’t let strangers into your home – and always ask to see their ID badge. If in doubt, keep them out.”
Take care and stay even more safe than normal, such a horrible thing for someone to do in such a turbulent time.
I was meant to have root treatment yesterday and had prepared myself for being less than on the ball today, I always think tooth ache and ear ache are debilitating, however I the dentist choose to give me a scale and polish instead as my tooth is okay so feel I have gained a day back!!!!
Its either an optimistic or very strange way to look at things I know.
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