Compulsory owners’ associations, building inspections every five years and a national reserve fund for repairs could become part of the legal regime for Scotland's tenements in a few years' time.
The measures are flagged up in the Scottish Government's response, published today, to the Final Report of the Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance, issued in June this year, which contained similar proposals.
However ministers warn that due to the significant legislative changes needed to make the recommendations mandatory, they would need to carefully consider advice from the Scottish Law Commission, which already has a full programme of work, the report’s aspiration for an Act of Parliament in 2025 "is ambitious, and may not be achievable".
The response comments: "The report’s recommendations involve a fundamental change to property rights for owners in tenements, so we need to ensure that what we put in place works. Further research is necessary to determine how elements of the recommendations can be made to work in practice."
In the meantime, measures to support "voluntary and incremental" change will be taken forward, such as supporting the establishment of owners associations. Ministers will also:
- commission research to determine the proportion, geography, and tenure mix of relevant buildings, and how this may affect the viability and establishment of owners’ associations;
- develop a form for a tenement condition report and a framework for its completion, along with proposals for these to be available on a publicly accessible online platform;
- include tenement condition as part of ongoing considerations on improvements to home reports;
- convene a forum of finance professionals to advise on a building reserve fund, initially available on a voluntary basis, and commission research on how to set a level of expected contribution for a building reserve fund; and
- consider what an affordable, viable compulsory factoring service might look like.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart commented:
"These measures reinforce our commitment to support tenement owners and protect such an important part of our national heritage.
"Whilst tenements continue to provide good quality, safe, sustainable and affordable homes, this programme of support will help to ensure they are protected and preserved.
"Homeowners and landlords in tenements need to fully accept their shared responsibilities for the upkeep of their property to ensure all those living in tenements have good quality homes."