Legal & Safety Compliance

What Landlords need to know to comply with legislation

The Repairing Standard

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.

Landlords must carry out a pre-tenancy check of their property to identify work required to meet the Repairing Standard (described below) and notify tenants of any such work. Landlords also have a duty to repair and maintain their property from the tenancy start date and throughout the tenancy. This includes a duty to make good any damage caused by doing this work. On becoming aware of a defect, landlords must complete the work within a reasonable time.

A privately rented property 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
  • Further information can be found on the Private Rented Housing Panel website www.prhpscotland.gov.uk.

Energy Performance Certificate

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required whenever a property is built, sold or rented. You must instruct an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent. In Scotland, you must display the EPC somewhere in the property, we provide a copy of this within the Tenant Information pack.

An EPC contains:

  • Information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • Recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money
  • An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.

Smoke Alarms

In order to meet the requirements of the Repairing Standard, rental properties must contain adequate smoke detection equipment. In this regard, there should be at least:

  • One functioning smoke alarm in the room which is frequently used by the occupants for general daytime living purposes
  • One functioning smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings
  • One heat alarm in every kitchen
  • All alarms should be interlinked

The number and position of the alarms will depend on the size and layout of the house. There should be at least one alarm on each floor. The landlord should either install smoke and fire detectors that meet the standard set by building regulations or be able to justify why a lesser level of protection is appropriate in a particular house. If there is a requirement for a particular house to meet more stringent standards, then these more stringent standards apply. An alarm should be installed in accordance with the recommendations contained in BS5839 Part 6 and the landlord should ensure the alarm is regularly maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations. The fitting of a hard wired smoke alarm may require a building warrant and the relevant local authorities should be consulted.Where this is the case, responsibility will lie with the landlord to obtain the relevant consent prior to instruction.

Further guidance is available on the Private Rented Housing Panel website www.prhpscotland.gov.uk

Gas Safety Certificate

A Landlords Gas Safety Certificate must be obtained in respect of a property, which is fitted with any form of gas appliance or gas heating system. This must be renewed on an annual basis.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

In order to alert occupants to the presence of levels of carbon monoxide which may be harmful to people, a detection system should be installed in all dwellings where:

  • a new or replacement fixed combustion appliance (excluding an appliance used solely for cooking) is installed in the dwelling; or
  • a new or replacement fixed combustion appliance is installed in an inter-connected space, for example, an integral garage.

We advise that Carbon Monoxide detectors are cited in any room where any gas appliance is cited.

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

Landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the supply of electricity and all electrical fixtures, fittings and appliances within their property are safe. Recent changes to legislation will make testing within private rented properties mandatory and in this regard, revised guidance was issued under Sections 13(4A) and 19B(4) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 which imposes a duty on private landlords to ensure that properties meet the further requirements of the repairing standard.

In short, all rental properties will require to have a current Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or in the case of new builds and properties subject of full rewiring, an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC).

When the Duty Applies and Transitional Rules

  • Any tenant under a new tenancy commencing on or after 1 December 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR before the tenancy commences.
  • Any tenant under an existing tenancy at 30 November 2015 must be provided with a copy of an EICR by 1 December 2016 unless their tenancy ends before that date.
  • An EICR completed on or after 1 January 2012 completed by a competent person is acceptable, whether or not it in includes a description and location for appliances inspected
  • However, to be acceptable all EICRs completed on or after 1 December 2015 must have a PAT record attached to it that shows their description and location and a certificate for any remedial work that has been done.

An electrical safety inspection must be carried out:

  • Before a tenancy starts, and
  • During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date of the previous inspection.

The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts. The electrical safety inspection must be recorded in an EICR and a PAT report. EICRs may be appropriate more frequently. The date for retesting appliances is usually set during the PAT test and will usually be more frequent. The minimum standard to comply with the legislation is that inspections must be carried out at least every 5 years, but this does not preclude more frequent testing where appropriate.

For further information regarding these requirements and landlords’ obligations in respect of the repairing standard, please visit the Private Rented Housing Panel website www.prhpscotland.gov.uk

Legionella Risk Assessment

As a residential landlord, recent changes in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) has imposed further duties on same in respect of the risks associated from legionella bacteria.

Those responsible for the water system(s) in their premises, have a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to legionella in those premises is properly assessed and controlled.

It should be reasonably expected that tenants should play their part in the control of Legionella and to that end, we will provide same with an advice sheet advising of control measures and precautions that can be put in place to ensure the risk is kept to a minimum.

Whilst it is the legal responsibility of you as landlord, to take precautions to prevent Legionella being present, we can assist where requested in the initial and ongoing risk assessments in respect of your property.

For further information please visit the Health & Safety Executive website at www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires

Furniture and Furnishings

Furnishings and upholstered furniture supplied by landlords must meet fire resistance requirements. These set levels of fire resistance to domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products which contain upholstery. The relevant regulations are contained in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 as amended by Regulations made in 1989 and 1993. These Regulations are made under consumer protection legislation under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA 87).

Tenant Information Pack

All landlords in Scotland are required, by law, to provide new tenants with a Tenant Information Pack by the start of the tenancy. The pack must include information about the property’s condition, the tenancy agreement and the rights and responsibilities of both tenant and landlord. They must contain important documents including the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), gas safety certificate, the inventory and the landlord’s registration, amongst other information.

Tenant Deposit

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations were introduced in Scotland on 7th March 2011. To comply with the Regulations, any landlord or letting agent in receipt of a tenancy deposit must:

  • Transfer the deposit to a government approved scheme within 30 working days of the tenancy start date;
  • Provide all tenants on the tenancy agreement with particular key information, including confirmation of which scheme holds the deposit and when all or part of the deposit may be retained at the end of the tenancy.
  • Premier Property Management presently utilize Safe Deposits Scotland in respect of all deposits. Further information can be found at www.safedepositsscotland.com