Landlords in Scotland are to be given new powers which will allow them to gain access to their properties to carry out essential maintenance work.
The new regulations have been introduced in Scotland following a long fought campaign by the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) to help landlords maintain properties.
The new regulations mean that landlords can apply to the Private Rented Housing Panel (PRHP), a tribunal system alternative to the courts, something which is not available to private landlords in England, to gain a right of entry.
It will enable landlords to gain access, inspect and carry out works in relation to the minimum repairing standards (Scotland), a similar system to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) standards used in England and Wales.
The procedure, which comes in to force from 1st December 2015, was granted by the Scottish Parliament under the Private Rented Housing Panel (Landlord Applications) (Scotland) Regulations 2015.
The requirement anticipates the problems encountered by landlords in England. This is when either repairs are needed when a tenant has not reported them, or when an tenant reports them, but either blocks entry or makes it difficult for the landlord to organise workmen’s appointment times and access.
This rather reflects the concerns of landlords in England with regard to the new retaliatory eviction law (Deregulation Act 2015) passed recently. Here, tenants requesting repairs (either legitimate ones or not) can delay legitimate evictions. So far no equivalent process to allow automatic entry for landlords exists in England, so it is anticipated that in future, determined tenants will prevent access in order to stymie landlords’ eviction claims.
John Blackwood, chief executive of SAL, told the Scottish Housing News:
“The Scottish Association of Landlords has been campaigning for this change for a number of years and we are delighted it has now been enacted. By putting in place a clear procedure where they can apply for a right of access to check a property meets the minimum repairing standards or to carry out any work required to meet the repairing standard, landlords will be able to ensure homes are in top condition.
“The overwhelming majority of tenants quickly inform landlords of any problems with a property and they are fixed in good time. However, in rare instances where problems arise, a tenant can refuse a landlord access even to fix a problem which has resulted in a property falling below legal standards. This inevitably leads to further deterioration of the property, not only causing additional costs for landlords but also delaying a home being rented to a new tenant whilst work is being carried out.
“These new measures put in place a clear procedure for a landlord to apply to the PRHP to gain access to the property so they can be properly maintained without compromising the tenant’s security of tenure.”
New Procedure to Help Landlords Maintain Properties – https://t.co/zKn6laV5xw
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) December 3, 2015