Scottish landlords are being alerted to prepare for a series of stringent safety measures that are set to redefine property standards. The new regulations, effective from 1st March, are part of an update to the Repairing Standard, the baseline for repair requirements in privately rented homes.
The revised rules encompass various aspects of property upkeep, including enhancements to kitchen facilities, heating systems, access provisions, fire doors, residual current devices, and fuel installations. Notably, the regulations introduce mandatory requirements for safely accessible food storage and preparation areas, as well as the installation of fixed heating systems. In the context of tenement flats, the focus is on ensuring safe access and usability of common areas like closes. However, these flats will not be deemed non-compliant with the Repairing Standard if necessary work is obstructed by the refusal of consent from a majority of owners.
Among the key changes, landlords will need to ensure that common doors are not only secure but are also equipped with satisfactory locks. These locks must allow users to exit without a key in case of a fire, thereby not hindering escape routes. Additionally, any installations related to various types of fuel must be in good repair and working order.
A significant safety enhancement is the requirement for the installation of a residual current device (RCD). This device is crucial for reducing risks of electrocution and fire by automatically interrupting the circuit if a fault is detected. Landlords are also advised to inform tenants about the necessity of regularly testing the RCD by using the integrated test button at specified intervals.
Bob Cairney, director of technical services at the trade body Select, stressed the importance of compliance, especially in relation to electrical safety. He advised, “Landlords may now need to take some action where a situation is identified in an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), and the electrical contractor responsible for the periodic inspection and testing should be able to provide appropriate advice on how best to comply.”
As the deadline approaches, landlords across Scotland are being urged to familiarize themselves with these changes and take the necessary steps to ensure their properties meet the new standards.