Bringing farmhouses up to repairing standard

By Catherine Smith, Land Agent.

The Repairing Standard, which has applied to other private rented housing since 2006, covers the legal and contractual obligations of private landlords in Scotland 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 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.

From March 2027 all farmhouses let as part of an agricultural tenancy must meet the repairing standard, which is currently as follows:

● the property must be wind and watertight 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.

● the property must have satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.

● The property must meet the tolerable standard.

There are further changes being made to the Repairing Standard, which will be effective from 1 March 2024. The standard from then is extending 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.

Published on 19th August 2019