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Legal Matters

When it comes to residential letting, it’s a difficult to keep up with all of the legislative requirements.  Here you will find articles on, Current Legislation and any Scottish Government Consultations relating to the Private Renting Sector keeping you aware of your obligations.

Housing (Scotland) Act 2014

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 1 August 2014, however, the exact timetable for implementation is yet to be determined.

For full details of the legislation, please read the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 in full.

A summary of how the Act will impact private landlords:

  1. Introduces a first-tier tribunal to deal with disputes in the private rented sector
  2. Provides local authorities with new discretionary powers to tackle disrepair in the private rented sector
  3. Introduces a new regulatory framework for letting agents in Scotland
  4. Places new requirements on private sector landlords to:
  5. Ensure that the house has satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health
  6. Carry out electrical safety checks every 5 years (comes into force on 1 December 2015 see here for guidance)

 

Revised Statutory Guidance on Smoke Alarms

In September 2014 the Scottish Government published revised statutory guidance on smoke alarms in private lets.

The Domestic Technical Handbook states that there should be at least:

  • one functioning smoke alarm in the 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 landings,
  • one heat alarm in every kitchen, and
  • all alarms should be mains powered and interlinked.

 

To comply with the Repairing Standard, private landlords must have regard to the guidance issued by Scottish Ministers on the satisfactory provision for detecting and warning of fires. 

 

Carbon monoxide alarms

From 1 December 2015, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 will introduce changes in relation to the requirement for provision of carbon monoxide alarms in private rented housing.

 

The 2014 Act introduces an amendment to the Repairing Standard, which applies to all private rented housing. 

 

The Repairing Standard will be amended to include the additional requirement that “the house has satisfactory provision for giving warning if carbon monoxide is present in a concentration that is hazardous to health.”

 

The requirement for a CO gas detection system relates to all private rented properties where there is a fixed combustion appliance either in the property or in an inter-connected space.

 

Landlords should be aware that combustion appliances such as boilers, fires (including open fires), heaters and stoves fuelled by solid fuel, oil or gas all have the potential to cause CO poisoning.

 

 

Landlord’s duties under the Immigration Act 2014

Do you know what a private landlord’s duties under the Immigration Act 2014 are?

 

The Immigration Act 2014 makes it more difficult for illegal migrants to live in the UK and addresses the small minority of private landlords who knowingly target and exploit illegal migrants.

 

Landlords and letting agents will be required to carry out document checks to identify if a potential tenant has the right to reside in the UK, before they grant a tenancy. Landlords and letting agents will also be required to keep appropriate records during the tenancy.

 

The new rules came into effect in the West Midlands on 1st December 2014, before being rolled out, all over the UK in 2015.

 

This will not be a retrospective provision and will only apply to new tenancies being entered into from the date of implementation going forward.

 

Letting agents can be held liable for any contravention of the Act. The penalty for contravention of the Act is a maximum of £3,000.

 

The UK Government have published two codes of practice about how to carry out this check and how to avoid unlawful discrimination.

 

Call the Home Office telephone advice line on 0300 069 9799 for further advice and information, if required.

Landlord Registration Team
Tel: 01592 583397 Contact Landlord Registration Team online
By Post: Rothesay House Rothesay Place Glenrothes Fife KY7 5PQ

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