Report calls for tenement recommendations to be put on statutory footing

Kevin Stewart

Regular building inspections, the establishment of compulsory owners’ associations and building reserve funds should be written into legislation to protect the future of Scotland’s tenement buildings, a new report argues.

The report has been published by the Working Group on Maintenance of Tenement Scheme Property, which was established in March 2018 and comprises sector experts and MSPs from all parliamentary parties.

In January 2019, the group published its interim recommendations report and then formally discussed stakeholder and public responses to the report, which were received via consultation.

Recommendations cover three areas: building inspections, owners’ associations and building reserve funds, and how these aspects could function and be implemented.

The “scheme property” of all tenements should be inspected every five years with a report prepared that will be publicly available to existing or prospective owners and tenants, neighbours and policy makers.

Establishing compulsory owners’ associations are an essential element of tenement maintenance by providing leadership, effective decision-making processes and the ability for groups to enter into contracts.

Building Reserve Fund (BRF) should be set up, with funds used for maintenance – as defined in Schedule 1 of the 2004 Act – including repairs and replacement, the installation of insulation, cleaning, gardening, painting and other routine works, the day to day running of a tenement and the reinstatement of a part (but not most) of the tenement.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “This report brings together views from across the Scottish Parliament and housing stakeholders, and its recommendations merit serious and careful consideration.

“We welcome that it acknowledges the important action we have already taken to improve the condition of Scottish tenements and recognises the challenges that must be met to ensure that our housing stock can continue to provide safe and sustainable homes for the future.”

Shadow housing and planning minister Graham Simpson said: “The final report from the Working Group on Tenement Maintenance is the result of hard work and dedication to this matter. We set out, knowing there is a ticking timebomb on building maintenance across the country.

“We have produced a timely report with some challenging recommendations, but government can be assured that there is cross-party and cross-sector support for what we are suggesting.

“This report is not the end of the road though and we hope the Scottish government will take up our final recommendations and put in place practices to help keep tenements safe, energy efficient and well maintained.”

Hew Edgar, RICS interim head of policy, commented: “The recommendations are interlinked, and while each recommendation has its own benefits, the required transformative change to improve the fabric of Scotland’s tenement property can only arise through the implementation of all three.”

“RICS welcomes all recommendations within the report and we will continue to work with the Working Group, Government and interested parties to help implement these robust solutions to help future proof Scotland’s historic residential property.”

Tags: tenements

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