In March 2024, Scotland is set to implement a revamped repairing standard legislation that will impact all private landlords. The repairing standard, a crucial aspect of the private rental sector, outlines the responsibilities of landlords in maintaining their properties to a certain standard. The upcoming changes aim to enhance tenant rights, improve living conditions, and create a fairer and more transparent rental market.
1. FIXED HEATING SYSTEMS:
The amendments necessitate the installation of a fixed heating system within rental properties. A fixed heating system is defined as a permanent fixture in the property, either plumbed or hardwired, deemed safe, in good condition, and functionally operational. Dependence on plug-in or portable heaters, except on a temporary basis, is no longer permissible.
2. LEAD PIPES:
As all our landlords already know, in accordance with the updated regulations concerning lead pipes, any visible lead piping must undergo replacement. Specifically, this pertains to piping responsible for conveying drinking water to a tap or outlet, or between a rental property and the boundary stopcock. These measures aim to ensure the absence of lead in drinking water within rental properties.
3. UPGRADE TO ELECTRICAL SAFETY (SPECIFICALLY, RCD):
To safeguard tenants against electric shock and mitigate the risk of electrical fires, the installation of one or more Residual Current Devices (RCD) within the consumer unit (fuse box) is mandated. RCDs are sensitive safety mechanisms designed to automatically cut off electricity in the event of a fault, offering a level of personal protection beyond that of ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers. Most properties should be unaffected and we are already taking steps to amend those that don't.
4. COMMON DOORS:
While the requirement regarding common entry doors remains consistent with existing practices aimed at ensuring their full functionality, the alteration to the Repairing Standard stipulates that in tenement houses with common doors, such doors must be secure and equipped with satisfactory emergency exit locks. All common doors must be lockable, and the common front door must feature a secure entry system capable of notifying tenants of visitors or deliveries and allowing remote access to the common front door. Collaborative efforts among flat owners within a stair are necessary for repairs to common doors, which may occasionally impede the restoration of communal entry systems. However, the revised Repairing Standard aims to expedite such processes in future instances.
The Flat Company are already taking measures to adjust their properties accordingly to meet the enhanced Repairing Standard, promoting tenant safety and well-being. Early action is key to ensuring seamless compliance with the legislation set to take effect in March 2024. Here is a link to the government guidance: https://scottishlandlords.com/news-and-campaigns/news/changes-to-the-repairing-standard-2/