Date lodged: 3 April 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to tackle the issue of damp homes in the (a) private and (b) owner-occupied sector.
Answered by: Kevin Stewart 18 April 2017
Under the statutory minimum tolerable standard for all housing including private lets and owner-occupied housing, homes must be substantially free from rising damp or penetrating damp.
Local authorities have a statutory duty to address any housing which falls below the tolerable standard. Section 85 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 requires local authorities to ensure that houses which do not meet the tolerable standard are closed, demolished or brought up to the tolerable standard within such period as is reasonable. Local authorities have powers to require owners (including those who rent out their properties to tenants) to carry out work needed to bring a house up to standard, and discretionary powers to provide advice and assistance to property owners where it is needed.
Private landlords also have a statutory duty to ensure that the homes they let are wind and watertight and in all other respects reasonably fit for human habitation. Private Sector tenants can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber), who have powers to enforce landlords’ duties. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 also provided further powers for local authorities to refer cases to the Tribunal on behalf of tenants.