Claiming Compensation from your Landlord in Scotland

7th Apr 2021

Claiming Compensation from your Landlord in Scotland

If a landlord’s negligence puts their tenants in harm or financial loss, tenants may be able to make a claim to seek legal repercussions and compensation.

According to Fire Scotland, between 2019 and 2020, they attended 24,472 fires. There were 27 casualties and 1,024 non-fatal casualties.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 requires all homes “must have satisfactory provision for detecting fires”. Properties with smoke alarms result in a fire being discovered within 5 minutes. Therefore, significantly reducing casualty numbers. Scottish Ministers dictate that at least one smoke alarm should be in the home.

One benefit to renting is that your landlord is responsible for the building’s maintenance. Issues with plumbing, heating, electricity, and gas usually fall under the Landlord’s responsibilities. Any appliances, fittings, or fixtures must be in a reasonable working condition. A Portable Appliance Tested (PAT) every five years according to the 2014 Housing Act. In addition, Landlords must have a valid Gas Safe Register Engineer approved safety certificate for each appliance in the property.

Tenancies that began on or after 31st January 2018 must adhere to a Letting Agent Code of Practice. This ensures “reasonable care” of the property you live in. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 sets out the criteria of The Repairing Standard which enforces the following:
  • That the property must be structurally sound, wind and water resistant
  • Pipes, tanks, boilers, cables, radiators, and toilets must be in proper working order
  • The property must have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • An annual gas safety check must be carried out by a registered engineer. A Landlord Gas Safety record will be signed if the property meets the safety standards. Both landlord and tenant must have a copy.
  • Tenants should be advised of any smoke and heat alarms expiry dates

The Code ensures that these repair responsibilities extend to the common parts of a building too. This includes stairs, lifts, and entryways. If the tenant notices any fire risks in the property and the landlord does not make the necessary amendments, you can contact the local council or Environmental Health Department. The Scottish Fire Rescue Service offer free fire safety visits and home risk assessments.

The landlord and tenant responsibilities will be emphasised in your lease.

The tenant’s belongings are not included in Landlord’s contents insurance. So, it is essential that tenants have their own insurance to keep their possessions safe in the event of a fire. It is important to check your insurance when you buy it, to avoid any surprises should the worst happen.

How can a landlord be liable for a fire?

-Faulty wiring

-overcrowding

-building code violations

-lack of/ defective smoke alarms and fire extinguishers

If, as a result of a failure to make repairs within a property a tenant suffers an injury or property loss then the landlord could be liable to pay damages to the tenant.  Therefore, it is  important to alert your landlord to any faults that are arise in your property and keep a written record of when the faults were made.

A landlord could be liable if a tenant requested repair work, and the issue was not rectified and thereafter the tenant suffered a loss such as injury or property loss as a result of the failure.

From 2nd October 2018, the Scottish Government stated that all letting agents, as defined by The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 must apply to join a register. You can request your landlord’s registration number to ensure they are registered under the scheme before you sign your agreement. Landlords or agents who are not yet registered could be fined £50,000 if found guilty. Those who have been deemed unfit to rent properties are struck off from the list.

What causes fires in the home?

-Electrical Equipment

-Cooking equipment

-Faulty Wiring

– Old/faulty appliances

-Faulty lighting

-Portable heaters

-Smoking and candles

Making a Claim:

If you have been affected by a negligent Landlord, contact Watermans Solicitors on 0131 555 7055.  Photos, details of complaints and any witness evidence are important in pursuing a claim.

If your claim is successful, Watermans will deal with the landlord and the insurers on your behalf. Additionally, in some cases we may be able to arrange for treatment for your injuries such as CBT or physiotherapy.