Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 – Changes in Legislation
I attended a seminar run by LAS yesterday afternoon about the changes in legislation with regard to Health and Safety and how it affects landlords. I have to say that they are a great help in clarifying the main points of current and new legislation which can be pretty confusing for the layman to fully grasp!
For those of you not aware of the changes, they are:
Smoke Alarms/Fire Detectors: From September 2014, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 states that all rented properties must have a mains connected smoke alarm on each level of the property within the main traffic area i.e. halls plus a smoke alarm in the main living area and a heat detector in the kitchen and all must be interlinked. This is undoubtedly going to be a bit of a nightmare for some properties as there may need to be unattractive trunking fitted to ensure the alarms are properly interlinked although there is the option of Bluetooth alarms which are acceptable (note that radio controlled alarms don’t comply). For those properties with lounge/kitchen open plan there will be no requirement for a smoke alarm in that room, just a heat detector. Good news for the tenants – no smoke alarm going off when they’ve burnt the toast!
Carbon Monoxide Detectors: You must have carbon monoxide detectors located wherever required by law. The main areas are at the gas boiler, any gas fire, oil boiler, wood burning stove or open coal fire. It is not necessary to have one located at a gas cooker as it is not expected that a gas cooker would be on for long periods at a time. You should also have a detector placed in any bedroom or living room that this bypassed by a flue. The detector can be hard wired or long life battery operated.
Electrical Safety Regulations: The new regulations coming into force from 1st December 2015 via the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 have introduced new requirements. From 1st December 2015 it will become a legal requirement to have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in place for any new tenancy entered into on or after this date. Note that this includes current tenants signing a new lease. From 1st December 2016, this will extend to cover all tenancies. From 1st December 2015, the EICR must also include a PAT report (i.e. a Portable Appliance Test check).
Legionella Risk Assessments: It is a current requirement that all properties have a ‘competent person’ carry out a risk assessment for legionella. The ‘competent person’ must have the skills and experience to carry out the risk assessment, implement control measures and carry out regular reviews. Properties with combi boilers are probably of low risk, however it is important that in order for a landlord to protect themselves, I suggest that they have a professional carry out the first assessment – if the property is deemed to be low risk, it should be possible for the landlord or their agent to carry out the reviews going forward. It is a good idea to include information at the point of check in to new tenants advising them of the potential risk and how to protect themselves. Properties that are vacant should be visited on a regular basis with toilets being flushed and taps run to prevent water sitting in the pipes for any length of time which could potentially cause problems.
Further information on all of the above can be found on the following links: