Changes to the Scottish Government’s Repairing Standard will set a higher bar for properties owned by Edinburgh landlords from 1 March 2024, including requirements for safe food preparation areas and fixed heating systems.
Currently, private landlords offering a property for rent must meet legal and contractual obligations to ensure it achieves a minimum physical standard of repair. They also have a duty to maintain the property throughout the tenancy, completing any necessary work within a reasonable time.
Homes for rent must meet the following standards:
- the property must be wind and water tight and, in all other respects, reasonably fit for people to live in
- the structure and exterior (including drains, gutters and external pipes) must be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order
- 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
- 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
- any furnishings that the landlord provides under the tenancy must be capable of being used safely for the purpose for which they are designed
- the property must have a satisfactory way of detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of a fire or suspected fire
- the property must have satisfactory provisions for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health
- the property must meet the statutory Tolerable Standard
The seven amendments and additional measures offer clarification on some of the existing rules and introduce further requirements as follows:
The property must have a safely accessible food storage and food preparation space.
Fixed Heating System
The existing duty to ensure that any heating systems are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order will be amended to specify that there must be a fixed heating system.
Safe Access to Common Parts
The existing duty to ensure that the structure and exterior of the house is in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order will be amended to specify that, where a private rented house is a flat in a tenement, the tenant must be able to safely access and use any common parts of the tenement.
Consent to Work on Common Parts
Section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, which deals with exceptions to the landlord’s repairing duty, is amended to make it clear that a private rented property which is 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.
Safe and Secure Common Doors
The existing duty to ensure fire safety in private rented houses will be amended to specify that common doors must be secure and fitted with satisfactory locks. Guidance will be provided by the Scottish Government specifying that locks must allow users to open them from the inside without a key so that they do not inhibit exit in the event of a fire.
Residual Current Devices
The existing duty to ensure that installations for the supply of electricity in a private rented house are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order will be amended to specify that these must include a residual current device (RCD), a device to reduce the risk of electrocution and fire by breaking the circuit in the event of a fault.
The existing duty to ensure that installations for the supply of gas and electricity in a private rented house are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order will be extended to any other type of fuel.
Edinburgh landlords should familiarise themselves with the new guidelines and ensure their properties meet the minimum requirements by next March.
At Clan Gordon, we only work with landlords whose properties already meet the Repairing Standard, and we’ll be advising our clients in the run-up to the changes to this. If you need advice on letting a property in Edinburgh, or are thinking of switching from your current letting agent, schedule a call with one of our expert property management advisors.