The Repairing Standard
Housing (Scotland) act 2006 - The Repairing Standard - Ch4 s12-29
The Repairing Standard defined within the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 was implemented on 3rd September 2007 and “applies to any tenancy of a house let for human habitation” being specifically intended to bring standards within the ‘Private Rented Sector’ into line with ‘Social Tenancies’ that were subject to similar standards set in the Housing (Scotland) act 2001.
What does that mean to you as a landlord?
- Does this section of the act apply to me?
- What is the repairing standard?
- Is a detector mandatory?
- What type of fire detection equipment should be fitted?
- How can I make sure my property complies?
- What if I have an HMO property?
- How will the act be enforced?
- What powers does the PRHP have?
- What about vindictive tenants?
- What about energy efficiency?
- What else will be evolved from the Housing (Scotland) act 2006?
Does this section of the act apply to me?
Section 12 (1) specifically affirms that assured and short assured tenancies are not excluded and accordingly landlords with such tenancies need to comply with the repairing standard.(Back to top)
What is the repairing standard?
Section 13 The Repairing Standard (1):
- A house has to comply with the standard both at the commencement of the tenancy and during the tenancy.
- In terms of Section 13 a “house meets the repairing standard if: the house is wind and watertight and in all other respects reasonably fit for human habitation”.
- The structure and exterior of the house are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
- The insulations in the house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation, space heating and heating water are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
- Any fixtures, fittings and appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
- Any furnishings provided by the landlord under the tenancy are capable of being used safely for the purpose for which they are designed, and the house has satisfactory provision for protecting fires and for giving warning in the event of a fire (or suspected fire).
Is a detector mandatory?
It is now mandatory to install fire detection equipment.
A principle change to your obligations is that it is now mandatory to install at least one mains powered smoke/heat detector to give warning in the event of a fire (or suspected fire). NB. Rules for the type of installation differ depending on the type of property and whether used as an HMO.
In Section 13(5) it states that regard has to be had to any building regulations and to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers on provision for detecting fires. The regulations therefore require that a mains powered device must be fitted for new or replacement installations however battery powered devices are acceptable until their end date has been reached or they fail, but not through need of a replacement battery.
In Edinburgh a building warrant may be required before fitting a mains powered device.(Back to top)
What type of fire detection equipment should be fitted?
It is mandatory to have a ‘smoke detector’ installed irrespective of there being a warrant in place and the lack of it neither through a council delay or otherwise give justifiable cause for failing to fit one. The guidance given to us is that a detector must be fitted and if necessary, a warrant is applied for retrospectively.
Liability for compliance with Ch4 s13 (1) (f) lies with not only the Landlord but also their Agent.(Back to top)
How can I make sure my property complies?
If you know your property does not have a either mains or battery smoke detector installed, please advise us and we will arrange for a suitable device to be fitted. For those of you that have fitted a device, we will test it as a matter of procedure and if found faulty, arrange for it to be replaced. Unless instructed to the contrary this may be done without reference to you. A uniform estimated charge that has been advised to us is £85.00 per device for installation excluding any cost for submission of a warrant. NB: It is solely the landlord’s duty to apply for a warrant. Properties with an upper and lower floor will require at least two devices, which must be interlinked. In such instances, a separate quote will be provided.(Back to top)
What if I have an HMO property?
Overriding all the above are HMO regulations which place additional requirements on Landlords and which can be advised independently.(Back to top)
How will the act be enforced?
On your behalf, we are obliged to ensure each tenant is advised of the PRHP and to confirm by declaration to the tenant that you will comply with the ‘Repairing Standard’. The essential part of the declaration is that an address be provided for The Private Rented Housing Panel. The PRHP is another addition (Ch4. Sect 21-29) and is the means by which tenants have remedy to Landlords not meeting their obligations.
Any application to the panel will be made known to the Landlord who will be given the right to reply or with the agreement of the tenant resolve matters by mediation.(Back to top)
What powers does the PRHP have?
The PRHP has powers to grant an enforcement order and also abate rent up to 90%. Failure to comply with an enforcement order is a criminal offence; details are also attached to land registry records until complied with and will prevent a subsequent tenancy on terms other than those they have dictated.(Back to top)
What about vindictive tenants?
Those powers and actions of the PRHP need taken in context and the President of the PRHP will not look at or give consideration to vexatious or trivial applications. Where tenants contact the PRHP and the complaint is considered frivolous or vexations the tenants will be advised, no reference will be made to the landlord but the matter will be logged against both tenant and property.(Back to top)
What about energy efficiency?
Scotland, as part of the United Kingdom along with all other EU member states has an obligation under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) to promote improvement in the energy performance of new and existing buildings.
All tenants who rent a property on or after 4 January 2009 must be provided with EPC (ie new tenancies). An EPC is a document, which states the energy efficiency of a building based on the standardised way that the building is used. Carbon dioxide (CO2) ratings are shown in bandings from A to G, with A being the least polluting. There is no pass or fail but tenants are more likely to seek property with lower energy costs.
The main focus of the certificate is the amount of CO2 estimated to be released from the building. The performance of the dwelling is benchmarked against current building standards. The certificate must be fixed to the dwelling and will be valid for a period of 10 years. Recommendations of improvements are identified on the EPC and landlords are encouraged to undertake them although this is currently not mandatory.
It is the responsibility of the building owner to ‘affix the certificate to the building’ -- this is a legal requirement. The EPC should be indelibly marked and located in a position that is readily accessible, protected from weather and not easily obscured. A suitable location could be in a cupboard containing the gas or electricity meter or the water supply stopcock.(Back to top)
What else will be evolved from the Housing (Scotland) act 2006?
There will be further implementation dates for other aspects of this new act, which we will keep abreast of and as necessary make you aware. These will include:
- A letting Code
- HMO consolidation
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme