Private landlords and tenants in Scotland have had to deal with a lot of regulatory changes in the last few years e.g. the new Private Residential Tenancy, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, etc. This has continued into 2019 with even more new legislative changes for landlords and tenants to be aware of. Below is a short summary of some of the key changes that came into force on 1st March 2019 as well as some information about other important changes that are on their way.
1. Smoke, Heat and CO Detectors
The Housing (Scotland) Act has already made it mandatory for private landlords to take steps to protect tenants from fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. This includes installing a minimum number of mains-powered, interlinked smoke and heat alarms as well as a carbon monoxide detector if the property has a carbon fuelled appliance e.g. boiler, open fire, heater. However, in Feb 2019 some new changes to the legislation were published. These stated that from 1st March 2019, landlords are now permitted to fit either
- Tamper-proof, long-life interlinked lithium battery alarms
- Mains powered interlinked alarms
Any properties fitted with mains powered alarms can continue using them until the end of the manufacturers permitted lifespan. After that time landlords can choose to replace them with lithium battery or mains powered alarms.
The new legislation also demands that
- The expiry date should be visible on each alarm
- Alarms can be linked with wires or wirelessly (by radio communication)
- Smoke alarms should conform to BS EN 14604
- Heat alarms should conform to BS 5446-2
- Multi-sensor alarms should conform to BS EN 54-29 or BS EN 14604
2. The Repairing Standard
The Repairing Standard is a basic level of repair that all private rented properties must meet. It includes things such as a property being water and wind tight with safe installations of gas, electricity, heating, etc. From 1st March 2019, the Repairing Standard will include the Tolerable Standard. The Tolerable Standard is the minimum standard a property must meet to be deemed fit for human habitation. This is a significant change. It means that any work that needs to be done in order to comply can now be raised by a private tenant in an application to the First-Tier Tribunal.
3. Common Repairs
It is a landlord’s responsibility to make sure that their property meets the Repairing Standard. However, coordinating and carrying out repairs in common areas of tenements and flats is often difficult. Trying to get the consent, monies and even access to all parties can sometimes prove impossible. From 1st March 2019, a landlord will not be in breach of the Repairing Standard if they have made reasonable attempts to comply but cannot because a majority of owners in the tenement refuse consent for the work.
4. Holiday Lets
The Repairing Standard will no longer apply to tenancies of less than 31 days where the purpose of the let is for a holiday.
5. Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements
A consultation was held by the Scottish Government in the summer of 2017 on this issue. Its aim was to look at minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented housing. This is because 28% of private rented property currently falls into the 3 lowest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands of E, F and G. This has resulted in the following:
- From 1st April 2020, a new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) of at least band E.
- By 31st March 2022, ALL properties will need to have an EPC of at least band E.
- From 1st April 2022, a new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band D.
- By 31st March 2025, ALL properties will need to have an EPC of at least band D.
Keeping up with the latest changes to legislation is a very important part of being a landlord. Western Lettings is an experienced letting agent in Glasgow and is always on hand to offer help and up to date advice to all our landlords and tenants. If you would like more information about our range of landlord services we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436.