The Repairing Standard 1st Nov 2016

The Repairing Standard, contained in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, covers the legal and contractual obligations of private landlords to ensure that a property meets a minimum physical standard. There are serious penalties for non-compliance which can include cessation of rent and even criminal charges being brought.

If problems that have been identified in the property regarding repairs are not rectified, the tenant has the right to take the issue to the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP). The Panel will decide whether the landlord has breached the Repairing Standard and therefore whether there needs to be a referral to the Private Rented Housing Committee.  For an explanation of the PRHP, please see accompanying newsletter article by Lindsays solicitors.

From 1st December 2016, the existing PRHP, and the HOHP (The Home Owner Housing Panel which acts a dispute resolution mechanism for problems between homeowners and their factors) will become known as the Housing and Property Chamber. This Housing and Property Chamber will sit within the new First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.

Tribunals help protect people from unfair treatment. The panel is made up of legal and non-legal experts who aim to resolve the dispute more quickly and at less cost than going through the courts.

The Housing and Property Chamber will continue to deal with rent issues and repair issues, as well as helping landlords gain entry to their property if needs be. They will also aim to resolve disputes between homeowners and property factors. From December 2017, more Private Rented Sector cases will be brought to the Chamber.

Landlords must ensure the Repairing Standard is being met. Landlords (or letting agent on behalf of the landlord) must carry out a check of their property before renting it, and must also ensure the property meets this minimum standard during each and every tenancy - details of which are set out below. Tenants must be notified of any works needing done and work must be completed within a reasonable time scale. Any damage as a result of works must be made good.

Privately rented properties must meet the Repairing Standard as follows:

• 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 provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.

The Key Place keeps fully managed landlords informed of works needing carried out to their property before and during every tenancy. These are identified at pre-tenancy inspections and through regular inspections during the tenancy, or if the tenant brings a problem to the attention of The Key Place or owner. The Key Place will advise the owner of what needs done and it is in the owner’s best interests to agree to the works, in order to protect their investment.