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28 MAR 2018

MSPs and experts to tackle quality of tenements in Scotland

First meeting of Working Group on maintenance of Tenement Scheme Property.

The working group was formed following a Parliamentary debate on tenement maintenance that took place in January 2018. The motion that led to debate, lodged by SNP MSP Ben MacPherson, achieved cross-party support in advance of the debate and highlighted the growing concerns over current condition of tenement property.

In addition, the motion called for the Scottish Government to review and consider changes to current legislation, and the introduction of new initiatives and mechanisms for facilitating communal repairs by owners.

During the debate, the cross-party consensus that action is required to ensure the protection of Scotland’s historic and most common type of dwelling was cemented, but there was a divergence in approach within the chamber; and this is what the working group has been set up to untangle.

The overall objective of this group is consider all proposed solutions and deduce which approach will best urge, assist and compel owners of Tenement properties to maintain their Scheme Property.

Tenement Health Check

RICS has been integral to the on going debate following the publication of its Tenement Health Check policy proposal in December 2016. This policy is the product of a significant stakeholder engagement programme, involving various stakeholder groups and parliamentarians.

The main crux of the policy is to introduce five-yearly building condition surveys on all tenement property – starting with a voluntary scheme (rewarding best practice) then, over a period of time, making five yearly checks mandatory.

The ultimate aim is to urge, then compel, tenement property owners to protect their property for use by future generations.

"This Working Group brings together a range of experts, academics, industry professionals and MSPs from different political parties. Together we will bring forward focused and robust proposals to better enhance and enable the maintenance of tenement communal property. Repairing and maintaining roofs, stairways and other communal property is essential in order to improve and sustain a huge amount of Scotland’s housing stock. We need new emphasis and ideas to help keep our tenements in good condition, and I’m confident that this Working Group will bring forward considered solutions to make a meaningful difference," said Ben Macpherson MSP, convener of the new group.

To support the cross party working group, Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS) invited stakeholders to submit a synopsis of the issues and solutions they think require parliamentary attention. Six organisations submitted suggestions and Historic Environment Scotland have shared information on the Traditional Building Health Check, a project arising from a previous BEFS campaign on building maintenance, piloted in Stirling.