Tenement Law Reform: Homeowners Associations
Our previous new stories explained how the Scottish Parliamentary Working Group on Tenement Maintenance was established in 2018 to consider difficulties experienced by homeowners of tenement properties in Scotland. The Working Group consisted of MSPs from various parties and other individuals and organisations with experience of property management and law in Scotland.
In 2019, the Working Group’s final report set out concerns about the condition of tenement buildings in Scotland and presented recommendations to the Scottish Parliament to support homeowners in Scotland in maintaining their buildings. The report also called for changes to legislation to deliver this aim.
The three main recommendations were;
- Regular inspections of all tenements, with reports publicly available to existing and prospective homeowners, tenants, and neighbours
- Establishing compulsory Owners Associations to provide effective decision-making processes
- Setting up Building Reserve Funds (also know as Maintenance or Sinking Funds), to be used for building maintenance
The Working Group acknowledged the context of this report, where items of critical disrepair can be found in up to 50% of Scotland’s housing stock, rising to 68% in pre-1919 traditional tenements, and where 24% of Scotland’s housing stock has items of Critical and Urgent disrepair. Whilst traditional tenements are a particular area of focus, the recommendations of the Working Group can support homeowners of all blocks of flats or apartments.
For many years, Hacking and Paterson Management Services have been calling for Scottish Government to recognise these issues and support significant housing improvements, to assist all homeowners in preserving their property, and we welcome the recognition these issues are now receiving.
In an encouraging sign that the Scottish Government is committed to progressing the report’s recommendations, Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, has invited the Scottish Law Commission to report on proposals to form compulsory Homeowners Associations.
This will include how these Associations would operate, the rights and responsibilities such Associations would have to arrange for regular inspections and how to establish a fund for their property’s maintenance, supporting the other recommendations of the Working Group.
The Scottish Law Commission has begun work to explore the issues which arise and will convene an expert advisory group to support this project. We await further details of how the Commission will engage with stakeholders and look forward to contributing to this process.
The Commission expect to launch a Discussion Paper in August 2023 to seek views on the questions or proposals which are raised, with a public consultation anticipated for Autumn/Winter 2023 and to work towards making recommendations and preparing a draft Bill through to 2026.
We intend closely following the developments in this area with interest and will keep you informed of what this means for our customers now, and in the future.
Putting this in practice for you
Many of our customers already have regular inspections of their properties carried out and operate Maintenance Funds, which help towards funding larger items of maintenance and repair that arise in the natural life of their buildings.
Similarly, whilst many of our customers work together with us through a Committee or Homeowner’s Group, if you are interested in setting this up for your property, your Property Team will be able to assist you with this.
If you would like to find out more about how Hacking and Paterson Management Services can help you with this and the proactive maintenance of your building, please contact us through the My H&P Portal or App, or give us a call on 0141 248 5693.