If you own or rent a tenement property in Edinburgh, you will be aware of – and will most likely have used –  City of Edinburgh Councils free communal stair lighting maintenance and repair service. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts and an aim to make savings of £148 million over the next four years, this service will no longer be offered to blocks where all flats are privately owned. The service will be withdrawn from 1st July, 2016, bringing Edinburgh in line with other local councils.  


How do I know if this applies to my property?
The council are currently writing to occupiers in blocks where all properties are privately owned to advise that the service will no longer be provided. The letter advises tenants to pass the information on to their landlord to take action.


What does this mean for landlords and tenants?
Once the service has been withdrawn, occupiers and owners will have a legal responsibility to ensure that the lighting in their communal stair is in working order at all times.
In the event of an issue with stair lighting, tenants will be responsible for alerting landlords to the issue and landlords must then action the repair as quickly as possible to avoid a significant health and safety hazard.


Alternative Stair Lighting Repairs  
As communal repairs can be difficult to coordinate – especially at short notice – it is important that you communicate with other owners and occupiers in your block before 1st July to ensure that you have alternative arrangements in place should there be an issue with the lighting.
One option for this would be to appoint a building factor who can manage all of the buildings communal maintenance and repairs on an ongoing basis. All owners would have to be in agreement and contribute to the monthly management costs.
Alternatively, if you decide that factoring is not right for you, it would be advisable to agree with the other owners on a local, accredited contractor that you are all happy to use. This means that all owners and occupiers know who to contact so that stair lighting can be fixed quickly as required.