Property Compliance in the Private Rented Sector
Scotland’s regulation of the rental sector is probably the most restrictive in the UK.
December 2017 saw the end of fixed term tenancy contracts, the transfer of housing cases from Sherriff Courts to Tribunals and increased letting agent regulation. The Scottish Government has also been active in regulatory changes around energy efficiency, safety and living conditions.
So much regulation in fact that a number of self-managing landlords now use Key-lets to take the burden of compliance away.
How do these changes affect Landlords?
The increased awareness by tenants of landlords’ responsibilities, fuelled by press coverage and advice from local authorities, tenant organisations and charities, has increased the willingness of tenants to raise complaints.
The tenant’s 28-day notice option to leave at any time encourages shorter tenancies as tenants seek out well maintained properties. Indeed, poor maintenance is the number one response from viewers when we ask, ‘why are you moving home?’.
The rental market also shows an increase in tenants raising Tribunal actions against landlords – especially under the Repairing Standards regulations. The Tribunal services are free for tenants to use.
A quick flick through of published cases on the Tribunals website will soon highlight how often landlords are claimed against. The link to the site is:
How to avoid Compliance Complaints
Firstly, you need to be aware of what property compliance is required in Scotland.
The certificates and inspections are:
1. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
2. Landlord Gas safety Certificate (or CP12)
3. Working Carbon Monoxide detectors
4. An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or Electrical Safety Certificate (ESC)
5. A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) certificate
6. Smoke and heat alarms that are interlinked and conform to the latest revisions.
7. Legionella Test Certificate
8. Furniture checked to meet the Fire and Furnishings Regulations.
Failure to meet compliance obligations can carry fines, as well as affect your status as a ‘fit and proper landlord’ with the Landlord Registration authorities.
Landlords have a requirement to ensure any compliance work is carried out by competent workmen who do not put your tenants at risk. Some certification, such as gas and some electrical work, require trades registered with defined trade organisations to comply with the regulations.
Always check the credentials of any trade working on a property with the relevant trade organisation.
It is not uncommon to find trades using logos and registration numbers that are bogus or out of date. EICR’s for example, have to be carried out by members of specific trade bodies – SELECT or NICEIC. Any certificate where the electrician is not registered at the time of the certificate makes it void and puts the landlord at risk of a fine and the tenants at risk of electrocution.
We have a number of helpful videos on our Key-Lets TV YouTube channel at:
Evidence, Evidence, Evidence.
You will require evidence should a tenant ever take you to the Tribunal. Not only do you to supply valid certificates, but can be asked to show what competency checks were carried out.
Anything maintenance related and raised under the Repairing Standards regulations places the Landlord under intense scrutiny by the Tribunal.
You may also be required to provide to the Tribunal any email and text records to show how a complaint or repair was handled. Unfortunately, in these cases the Landlord is in the dock, not the tenant.
Key-Lets use both online maintenance reporting and our management software to track and record any maintenance issue. The evidence is there should it ever be required.
We are always keen to help landlords and answer any questions you might have. So, let’s talk.
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