Changes to the Repairing Standard
The government announced in 2017 that following a consultation in the spring of 2017 it would be making changes to the Repairing Standard. This is the standard of repair that all properties in the private rented sector must adhere to. The government has now laid draft legislation before parliament to introduce the following changes:
From 1 March 2019
Repairing Standard amended to:
- Include a requirement that the property meets the more basic Tolerable Standard. All properties in Scotland have been required to meet the Tolerable Standard since 1987. Incorporating it in the Repairing Standard ensures that any work required to comply can be raised in an application by a tenant to the First-tier Tribunal;
- Make it clear that a flat in a tenement does not fail the Repairing Standard if work 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;
- Exclude tenancies of less than 31 days where the property is occupied for the purpose of a holiday.
We have been advised that existing statutory guidance for landlords will also be amended from 1 March 2019 to allow landlords to install either long life battery or mains powered smoke/heat alarms from that date. We expect the amended statutory guidance to stipulate that battery smoke alarms must conform to BS EN 14604 and battery heat alarms to BS 5446-2. From 1 February 2021 the current standards for provision of smoke/heat alarms, and for carbon monoxide alarms, in private rented housing will be included in the Tolerable Standard and will therefore apply to all tenures.
From 1 March 2024
Repairing Standard extended to:
- Include a requirement for safely accessible food storage and food preparation space;
- Specify that there must be a fixed heating system;
- Specify that where the house is a flat in a tenement, the tenant is able to safely access and use any common parts of the tenement, such as common closes;
- Specify that where the house is a flat in a tenement, common doors must be secure and fitted with satisfactory locks, including a requirement 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;
- Specify that electrical installations must include a residual current device (a device to reduce the risk of electrocution and fire by breaking the circuit in the event of a fault);
- Extend the existing duty to ensure that gas and electrical installations are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order, to any other type of fuel;
- Specify that the house should be free of lead pipes from the boundary stopcock to the kitchen tap, and that if this cannot be confirmed, a water quality test must be carried out.
Statutory guidance will be issued for each of the above requirements to provide further detail on what landlords are expected to do.
From 28 March 2027
Repairing Standard extended to homes let within agricultural tenancies.
SAL will work with the government officials tasked with introducing statutory guidance for each of the above requirements to ensure that it is clear, comprehensive and published as far in advance of the above dates as possible. We will advise members as soon as there are any further developments in introducing the above changes.