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Press release

16 JAN 2019

Report calls for overhaul of tenement maintenance legislation in Scotland

A report published today is calling for regular inspection, ownership associations and sink funds to improve and protect tenement buildings across Scotland.

The report comes as the issue of tenement repair and maintenance has been rising up the Scottish parliamentary agenda. During a parliamentary debate in early 2018, SNP MSP Ben Macpherson called for the Scottish Government to review current legislation and mechanisms for facilitating communal repairs, and to consider any potential legislative changes and new initiatives that could help owners to better maintain their tenements. In May 2018, Graham Simpson MSP then secured a commitment from the Housing Minister to review existing legislation during a vote in the Scottish Parliament.

The interim report has been published by the Working Group on Maintenance of Tenement Scheme Property, which was established in March 2018, and comprises MSPs from all parliamentary parties and sector experts. Recommendations from the interim publication will provide the basis of a solutions report, published in summer 2019.

Recommendations cover three areas: tenement inspections, owners' associations and sinking funds, and how these aspects could operate and be implemented.

  • The Common Parts of all tenements should be inspected every five years and a report prepared that will be publicly available to existing or prospective owners and tenants, neighbours and policy makers.
  • Establishing compulsory owners' associations
  • Sinking Funds should be introduced on a compulsory basis, ensure regular affordable payments contribute to a growing fund to deal with future major expenditure.

Hew Edgar, RICS Interim Head of Policy, commented: "The Scottish Housing Condition Survey 2017 shows that nearly a fifth of all our housing is pre-1919 and 68% of those have disrepair to critical elements. It is imperative this is addressed to ensure a sustainable standard of Scotland's most common type of dwelling.

"Last year, the Scottish Parliament voted to review existing tenement maintenance legislation and consider the implementation of mandatory tenement health checks. Five yearly inspections will go some way to full filling this, supplementing the information provided in Home Reports. Undertaken, by qualified building professionals, the inspections would also include information on communal areas such as roofs and concealed parts."

RICS welcomes all recommendations within the interim report and we will continue to work with the group to ensure and implement robust solutions to help future proof Scotland's built environment."

RICS will host a Parliamentary reception this evening (Wednesday 16 January) to discuss findings of the report with MSPs and industry leaders across the built environment.

Graham Simpson MSP, Shadow Housing & Planning Minister, commented: "This interim report is a product of the hard work and determination of a dedicated working group, representing a cross sector of the public and industry. Tenement maintenance is in a critical state and the time to act is now. I look forward to hearing people's views on this interim report and its draft recommendations and improving our ideas into formulated policy ideas for the Scottish Government to consider."

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