Tenant protection has been a high profile cause for the Scottish Executive. There are now a range of statutory standards. Landlords have to register themselves, but Cairn’s core initial and ongoing service will ensure standards are met.
All private landlords must apply for registration to the local authority covering the area where their property is located. The local authority must be satisfied that each landlord is a fit and proper person to let property. The system will make sure that all landlords are accountable for minimum standards. It will allow tenant and neighbours to identify and contact landlords of private rented property.
All letting agents must also be registered in a similar way and for similar reasons. If a Landlord appoints an agent, the local authority must be told. Simply provide the agent’s registration number. Cairn’s are as follows:
The Repairing Standard
Each property must meet a minimum physical standard throughout the whole period of any lease. Primarily the property must be wind and watertight and in all other respects fit for individuals to live in. It must be connected to mains water and electricity and fixtures (internal and external), fittings and furnishings must be in a reasonable state of repair. Fire safety standards also apply. Chapter 4 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 gives full information.
Implementing the Standard
If tenants feel their landlord has failed to respond to requests for a repair, they can contact the Private Rented Housing Committee. The tenant must have given the landlord notice that the repair is needed and a reasonable time to carry out the repair, which can vary depending on the nature of the repair. If the landlord fails to carry out the work, the Committee can order the landlord to do it.
For more information, try www.prhpscotland.gov.uk
Overseas Landlord Tax Exemption
If you are living outside the UK, you must apply for tax exemption on the rental income from property in the UK. Cairn are legally obliged to deduct tax from the rental income until an exemption certificate has been received. Certificates are personal and not property related, so each owner or joint owner of the property must have a separate certificate.
If you are completing an NRL1 form the Cairn details you need are:
Address: 34 Gibson Street, Glasgow G12 8NX
HMO (Houses in Mulitple Occupancy) Licence
See our specialist section on HMO properties. The Landlord and each property must each have an HMO licence, and a more detailed set of standards apply. HMO properties are larger properties let to three or more families or unconnected persons. Cairn’s service and recognised expertise ensure this more complex investment remains highly profitable.
The Scottish Executive’s own information page gives the statutory standards. Scottish Executive: A Guide for Landlords
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2004 requires adequate provision for the detection of fire. A mains powered interlinked smoke detector system must be fitted in every 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 landing, one heat alarm in every kitchen and all alarms must be interlinked. It must comply with BS5839 Part 6. All our properties are non smoking. The detectors must be checked for safety at least once a year. Tenants should undertake a regular testing program and Cairn’s service includes giving advice and ongoing fire safety training to tenants.
Electrical Appliances and Equipment
Under the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Plugs & Sockets etc (Safety) Regulations 1994 and related regulations, electrical installations and equipment must be safe. These must be checked once per year (PAT testing) by a qualified electrician. This is part of Cairn’s Property Management Programme
An annual inspection of all gas appliances and systems must be carried out by a GAS SAFE Engineer. Fire safety considerations are part of this inspection.
Furniture and Furnishings
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 as amended provide that specified items supplied in the letting of residential property must meet minimum fire resistant standards. The regulations apply to all upholstered furniture including beds and headboards and other soft furnishings including bedding. Cairn can advise on specific items. Antiques and other older items made prior to 1950 are excluded. Cairn can work with clients on a risk assessment if necessary. Items bought from a reputable supplier since March 1990 are likely to comply. In practice, items which comply are likely to have a suitable permanent label attached. If you are in any doubt, please contact the manufacturer.
The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994 require that gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in a safe condition so as to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poising. It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure that ALL gas appliances and gas installation pipe work owned by them are checked for safety at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. In addition accurate records of the safety inspections and any work carried out must be kept. The current safety record must be available for any tenant prior to taking occupation of the property as part of the Tenant Information Pack. www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Energy Performance Certificate
From January 2012, landlords must have a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) available to the tenant and the agent whilst a property is being marketed for rent. Each EPC is current for 10 years.
The Health and Safety Executive has issued new Legionnaires’ disease guidelines, which will apply to hot water systems in private residential properties. Responsibility will lie with landlords. For more information, please look at http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires
Tenant Information Pack
Landlords must give each tenant an information pack in a specific form prescribed by Private Renting Housing (Scotland) Act 2011. It must also include the lease documentation, the Gas Safety Certificate and Short Assured Tenancy notice.
Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 brought into practice guidelines laid down in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 to ensure deposits are held, administered and returned fairly. All landlords must now put rent deposits into a recognised third party trust scheme. Cairn uses Safedeposits Scotland.