Housing standards

Find out about the Tolerable Standard, Repair Standard, Houses in Multiple Occupation and empty homes.

Environmental Health enforce the provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, dealing with housing defects and the tolerable standard, primarily in private houses.

For housing enquiries please contact your Housing Officer.

Visit the Housing Services webpage

Read about drinking water standards.

In order for a house to be fit for habitation, it must meet a minimum requirements criteria.

A house satisfies the Tolerable Standard if it:

  • is structurally stable
  • free from rising or penetrating damp
  • has natural and artificial lighting provision, for ventilation and heating
  • has a piped supply of water
  • has a sink with hot and cold water
  • has a water closet or "waterless closet" in certain circumstances
  • has an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water
  • has cooking facilities
  • has access to all external doors and outbuildings
  • has thermal insulation
  • has a safe to use electrical installation.

The Scottish Government plan to introduce new additions to the Tolerable Standard. This includes equipment installed for detecting, and for giving warning of:

  • fire or suspected fire
  • carbon monoxide present in a concentration that's hazardous to health.

When a house doesn't meet the requirements, we'll attempt to reach an informal solution with the owner(s) to fix the issues.

If we can't find an informal solution in a timely manner, we may be duty-bound to take formal action. This means a work notice might be issued, requiring specified works to be carried out, or in extreme cases a closing or demolition order to prevent a sub-standard property being lived in.

Landlords in the private rented sector also have a duty to ensure that a rented house meets a basic standard of repair called the Repairing Standard. 

If a tenant believes their home fails to satisfy the Repairing Standard and their landlord is unwilling to carry out the required repairs, they can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber).

A private rented housing committee will then decide if the landlord has failed to comply with their duty. The committee may require that the landlord makes necessary repairs or they may receive a penalty.

A house satisfies the Repairing Standard if:

  • it's wind, watertight and fit to be lived in
  • its structure and exterior, including drains, gutters and external pipes, are in a good state of repair and working
  • water, gas and electricity supply installations are in a good state of repair and in proper working order 
  • fixtures, fittings and appliances provided under the tenancy are in a good state of repair and in proper working order
  • furnishings provided under the tenancy can be used safely for the purpose for which they're designed
  • it has satisfactory provision for detecting fires and giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire.

Before applying to the First-tier Tribunal, you must be able to show you've notified your landlord that works to meet the standard are required, and have allowed a reasonable period of time for a response. The timeframe will vary with the nature of the works required.

Contact the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)

3rd Floor 140 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 4TZ

Phone: 0141 572 1170

Website: First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (opens new window)

There can be problems when residents or homeowners share a common part of the property which falls into disrepair i.e. windows in the stairwell of a flatted building, a shared roof or shared drains/gutters.

Often repairs aren't carried out as owners or neighbours don't agree their responsibilities or how to share the costs.

If you're struggling to organise common repairs, visit the Shelter Scotland website (opens new window) .

If the repair is causing damage to your home through dampness or wind damage, we may be able to help liaise with the other owners.

Our Private sector housing team provide additional support services to homeowners, landlords and tenants but don't manage factoring services.

For more information, visit our Private sector housing webpage.

Before a visa can be granted, immigration control may need a housing inspection report. We'll arrange to inspect the home to ensure it meets the legal minimum standard and won't be overcrowded.

How to apply

To apply for an immigration inspection,  for an application form.

Read about Housing in Multiple Occupation licences.

Any privately owned home that has been empty for 6 months or more is considered an empty home.

Long-term empty homes can fall into disrepair, attract crime and anti-social behaviour. Empty homes are a wasted resource that could be used to help meet housing need.

Bringing empty homes back into use can increase housing supply, improve community safety and contribute to regeneration.

It's the owner's responsibility to look after their property, but there are significant benefits to owners and local communities by bringing empty homes back into use:

  • cost benefits to the owner if they rent or sell
  • condition of a property won't deteriorate as quickly
  • the outlook of a neighbourhood can improve, reflecting on local house prices
  • local economy benefits
  • social, education and transport amenities are utilised, minimising the risk of losing services, particularly in rural areas
  • the property will provide accommodation for someone in housing need.

If you've concerns about the standard of the property you live in, Environmental Health may be able to investigate and get in touch with the owner of the property.



Last modified on 5 May 2022