On 3 September 2007, the 'Repairing Standard' came into force in Scotland as the particular standard to which a landlord must keep property which is let for human habitation. The standard is set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, as amended over the years and aims to improve the standard of houses rented to tenants in the private rented sector in Scotland.

As a core requirement of meeting the Repairing Standard, a property must meet the 'Tolerable Standard'. This is the minimum quality standard which applies to all houses in Scotland (whether rented or not), introduced earlier by the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987. Any house which falls below this is considered unacceptable for people to live in.

The Tolerable Standard is focused mainly on the building itself and includes criteria such as: structural stability, satisfactory provision for lighting, ventilation and heating, an adequate piped supply of water, and satisfactory facilities for cooking food.

On top of the Tolerable Standard, the Repairing Standard imposes additional requirements such as: maintaining the structure and exterior of the building in a reasonable condition; keeping installations for services, and any fixtures, fittings or appliances provided, in a reasonable state of repair; and ensuring that suitable fire safety devices and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted.


If a tenant believes the Repairing Standard is not being met, they can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) ('FTT') to have the matter determined. Where deemed appropriate, the FTT will enforce repairs by issuing a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order ('RSEO') and it is a criminal offence if a landlord fails to carry out repairs required under an RSEO without reasonable excuse. Failure to comply with an RSEO can also lead to the local authority carrying out required work and recovering costs from the landlord. In addition, an unmet RSEO can result in the FTT issuing a Rent Relief Order, restricting the rent payable until the RSEO has been complied with.

An exception applies to flats in tenements – these properties will not fail to meet the Repairing Standard if work required cannot be carried out to common parts because other owners within the tenement refuse consent.


To comply with the Repairing Standard, private landlords are under a duty to have regard to related guidance issued by the Scottish Government. Updated statutory guidance applies from 1 March 2024 and this aims to help landlords determine whether they are meeting the standard.

In addition to landlords in the private rented sector, the Repairing Standard also applies to properties occupied by employees (whether leased or not) and to licensed short term holiday lets. Short term holiday lets were previously excluded from the requirements of the Repairing Standard, but compliance is now a mandatory condition for licenced properties.

The statutory guidance is therefore also for use by employers providing tied accommodation and by short term let hosts/operators.

New elements of the Repairing Standard were introduced on 1 March 2024:

  • water pipes and storage tanks - from the boundary stopcock to the kitchen tap - must be free of lead (and where this cannot be confirmed, water supplies must be tested to check for the presence of lead);
  • electrical installations must be protected by a residual current device (circuit breaker);
  • properties must have a fixed space heating system (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 -1⁰C);
  • in addition to gas and electricity apparatus, installations for other fuels must be kept safe, in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order (and these systems will therefore also need regular checks);
  • a satisfactory food storage area and food preparation space must be provided and kept safe/accessible;
  • any common parts serving a property must be kept safe and accessible; and
  • where a property is in a tenement, common doors must be secure and fitted with satisfactory emergency exit locks and a secure entry system.

Looking ahead, from 28 March 2027 the Repairing Standard will also apply to houses within agricultural, crofting or small landholding tenancies.

This area of the law is often subject to change and taking legal advice is recommended. To check the up-to-date position, or for further information or advice, please get in touch with your usual Brodies contact.


Ros James