It is all change right now in the world of repairs for private landlords in Scotland.
We recently saw new Gas Safety Regulations come into force on 6 April 2018 and more changes have been implemented with the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Modification of the Repairing Standard) Regulations 2019. Please find below a summary of the changes that came in to force on 1 March 2019.
At first glance, the changes to the repairing standard seem to look like a loosening of the requirements, particularly in the following areas:
Good news for Holiday Lets
Tenancies of less than 31 days where the purpose of the tenancy is a holiday will not have to comply with the repairing standard duty.
Common sense for common repairs
Repairs issues within common areas of tenements are often the stuff of nightmares: the constant back and forth trying to get consent and the practical challenge of gaining access. From 1 March 2019, a landlord of a flat in a tenement will not be in breach of the repairing standard if they have made reasonable efforts to effect repairs to a common area with co-proprietors. If you are not a majority owner, there’s often nothing more you can do without the support of the other owners – the new legislation recognises this.
Fire and smoke alarms
Until 1 March 2019, the guidance on satisfactory provision for detecting and warning of fires required that a smoke alarm had to be mains powered with a standby power supply. The principal change, as it affects private landlords, is that from 1 March 2019 the repairing standard can be complied with by either mains-operated alarms or tamper proof long-life lithium battery alarms. Alarms must also be interlinked and this can be done via wires (hardwired) or wirelessly (by radio communication).
The Tolerable Standard
From 1 March 2019, the repairing standard will be amended to include a requirement that a property meets the more basic Tolerable Standard. All properties in Scotland have been required to meet the Tolerable Standard since 1987. Although at first this seems like another loosening of the repairing standard, it must be noted that it is not replacing the criteria, merely being included in it. In practical terms, the real impact of this change is that any work required to comply can be raised in an application to the First-tier Tribunal.
For more information of how these changes affect you, please contact a member of our private rented sector team.