Residential Tenancies - Repairing Standard, Evictions and Rent Reviews

Changes to the Repairing Standard (with which private landlords must comply) came into force on 1 March 2024, and will be followed shortly by the expiry of the cost of living eviction and rent cap protections on 31 March 2024.

The Repairing Standard

From 1 March 2024, a number of further requirements were added to the Repairing Standard including:

  • The let property should be free of lead pipes from the boundary stopcock to the kitchen tap. A water quality test must be carried out where this cannot be confirmed.
  • The let property must have a “fixed heating system” i.e. a permanent installation which is plumbed or hard wired and capable of maintaining a temperature of 21⁰C in at least one room and 18⁰C elsewhere, when the outside temperature is minus 1⁰C. It must be safe to use, in good condition and in reasonable working order. It is not acceptable to rely on plug-in or portable heaters other than on a temporary basis while repairs are being carried out (and such periods must be kept to a minimum).
  • Installations for the supply of electricity must include a “residual current device” i.e. a device to reduce the risk of electrocution and fire by breaking the circuit in the event of a fault.
  • The requirement for installations for gas and electricity supply to be in a reasonable state of repair and proper working order will be extended to installations which use any other type of fuel.
  • The let property must have safely accessible food storage and food preparation space.
  • There must be safe access to and use of common parts (e.g. common closes).
  • Common doors must be secure and fitted with satisfactory locks.

It is worth mentioning that these additional requirements also apply to short-term let accommodation as compliance with the Repairing Standard is a mandatory condition of a short-term licence.

These additional requirements are explained in more detail in the Repairing Standard statutory guidance, the current version of which can be found here.

Expiry of cost of living eviction and rent cap protections

The eviction ban – brought into force as a reaction to the cost of living crisis – is to be finally been lifted. The temporary cost of living eviction protections will no longer apply from 1 April 2024. As such, eviction orders paused under the cost of living eviction protections can be enforced from 1 April 2024.

The cost of living rent cap protections will also no longer apply from 1 April 2024 and the Scottish Government has set out proposals to transition away from the cap. Any transitionary measure would last for a maximum of one year (but may be extended for a further one year period subject to parliamentary approval) and would be subject to regular review.

The proposals to amend the rent adjudication process would apply so that where the tenant disputes the proposed rent with Rent Service Scotland or the First Tier Tribunal, decisions must be made on the lowest of three comparators:

  • Open market rent.
  • New rent proposed by the landlord.
  • A maximum “reasonable” increase for that tenancy as defined by a new taper calculation.

The proposed regulations have been laid before the Scottish Parliament, and subject to parliamentary approval, will come into force on 1 April 2024. Landlords should be aware that any notice for a rent increase above the current rent cap will be invalid if served before 1 April 2024.