News In Focus
Private landlords to face new standard
Private sector tenants are to be given extra protection over the standard of rented properties, it was announced today.
A new repairing standard, which extends existing legal requirements, will set the benchmark for what tenants can expect; and tenants who cannot agree with their landlord about whether or not the standard is being met will be able to take their case to a private rented housing panel (PRHP).
This new organisation will in most instances try to resolve issues by mutual agreement or mediation, but it will have the power to back this up with an enforcement order if necessary, with penalties if the landlord fails to comply.
One requirement under the repairing standard will be that, for the first time, all private rented properties will have to be fitted with smoke alarms.
Confidence in the sector
Announcing the reforms, Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell said they were aimed at making sure the minority of "rogue landlords" met their responsibilities.
"It's designed to give tenants peace of mind, by ensuring all private rented properties reach a certain standard. This is a vital step in giving people confidence in the private rented sector. And that's good for landlords too, as more people will see private renting as an attractive option."
The moves have been welcomed by Citizens Advice Scotland, the National Union of Students, the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA), the Scottish Association of Landlords - and Shelter Scotland, whose director Archie Stoddart said:
"Shelter Scotland wholly welcomes the new PRHP. Private tenants will no longer have to put up with inadequate standards of housing as the PRHP will have the right to ensure that decent levels of repair are met."