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GOOD LANDLORD GUIDE

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GOOD LANDLORD GUIDE Powered By Docstoc
					GOOD
LANDLORD
GUIDE




       Revised Edition - 2008
INTRODUCTION
This guide is intended to provide information on legislation and best practice
for landlords in the private rented sector. A similar but separate guide is
available for tenants which sets out their rights and responsibilities.

A guide of this kind cannot cover all aspects of letting residential property.
What it aims to do, however, is deal with some of the most important areas of
private renting which you need to be aware of. The Guide gives advice not
only on minimum legal standards which you must comply with, but also on
methods of good practice which Orkney Islands Council wishes to promote to
ensure that private rented housing is fit to live in, safe, secure and properly
managed. While we have tried to make the guide as comprehensive as
possible, there are a number of Council services which will also be able to
advise you on becoming a landlord, particularly in relation to your
responsibilities regarding the occupants and the standard of accommodation
you are providing. For further details on who to contact, see the Service
Directory at the back of the guide. This Directory provides a list of useful
contacts both within and outwith the Council.

The guide is divided into two sections: Tenancy Management and Property
Standards & Safety. The table of contents lists the matters dealt with in
each section. The information does NOT apply;
• to registered social landlords;
• to landlords living in the same house as the tenant;
• to private landlords who have tenancies started before 2 January 1989;

Remember, this is only a guide and not a definitive interpretation of all
housing legislation. The Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 sets out the law and
only the courts can say exactly how it is to be interpreted. If you are uncertain
about your own position, you should seek independent legal advice on letting
your property, through a solicitor.

Being a landlord/landlady should be made easier if you are clear from the
start as to what exactly you have to let, how you want to let it and you have
good information as to what is involved in letting out your property. This guide
has been produced to assist both existing and prospective landlords to
provide accommodation of a high standard within Orkney.

This guide has been prepared by Orkney Islands Council for guidance is
not to be taken as an authoritative document on law.
Whilst we have made every effort to ensure that all information contained in
this publication is correct* it is stressed that it is incumbent on any person
entering into a private lease agreement to satisfy themselves on the suitability
and safety of the premises. Orkney Islands Council can accept no liability in
this respect whatsoever.

      We are grateful to Fife Council Housing Service who
      originally wrote this Good Landlord Guide and allowed us
      to copy and adapt it to produce a version suitable for the
      Orkney Islands.             -1-
Contents                                                    Page

Part 1:TENANCY MANAGEMENT                                   4

GENERAL GUIDANCE                                            5
         Points to consider                                 5
         Before you begin                                   6
         Finding tenants                                    6
         Equal Opportunities                                6
         Houses in Multiple Occupation                      7
         Registration of Private Sector Landlords           7

TENANCY AGREEMENTS                                          8
         Assured Tenancies                                  9
         Short Assured Tenancies                            13

RENT, DEPOSITS & INVENTORIES                                15
          Rent                                              15
          Deposits                                          15
          Inventories                                       16
          Limits on charges for metered gas & electricity   16

ACCESS & AFFORDABILITY                                      16
          Tenants on Housing Benefit/Local Housing
          Allowance                                         16
          The Rent Registration Service                     18
          Who pays the Council Tax?                         18

REPAIRS                                                     19

CONSENTS AND INCOME TAX                                     22


Part 2:PROPERTY STANDARDS & SAFETY                          24

SAFETY                                                      25
            Introduction                                    25
            Gas Safety                                      25
            Electrical Safety                               26
            Safety of Furniture & Furnishings               29
            Fire Protection in shared houses/HMOs           31

FITNESS STANDARD                                            32
          General Repair                                    32
          Structural Stability                              32
          Freedom from dampness                       32
          Heating, Lighting & Ventilation                   33
          Amenities, room sizes & equipment
          provision (shared houses)                         35


                                 -2-
SECURITY & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES          37
          Security                       37
          Energy Efficiency              37
          Refuse Storage & Collection    38
          Gardens & Boundaries           38

GRANTS TO HELP IMPROVE PROPERTIES        38
         Improvement and Repair Grants   38
         Housing Enforcement             39
         Grants for Energy Efficiency    41
         Scottish Government Grants      41
         Heritage/Town Scheme Grants     42


Part 3: SERVICE DIRECTORY                43




                               -3-
            Part One

TENANCY MANAGEMENT


This Section Provides:

  • Information on how to prepare
    for becoming a landlord and
    landlord registration
  • Information guidance on the
    creation of a Tenancy (Assured or
    Short Assured) and on what to do
    if you wish to end the agreement
  • Information on rents, deposits and
    inventories
  • Information about housing benefit
    and council tax
  • Guidance on repairs and the
    Private Rented Housing Panel
  • Mortgage, Insurance Consents
    and Tax Liability




                 -4-
GENERAL GUIDANCE
Points to consider
Letting a property to another person creates a legal relationship between the
landlord and tenant. No matter how informal you may intend the arrangement
to be, it is bound by specific housing legislation, most notably the Housing
(Scotland) Act 1988. This legislation defines both your rights and
responsibilities and those of your tenant.

Before letting, you should be clear about the property you have to let, who you
want to let it to and how you want it to be let. For example, is your property:

• An empty house, or flat, independent to your own home?
• An investment bought specifically with the intention of letting it?

Do you want to let your property to:

• A single tenant or a group of people?

Do you:

• Intend to let part of the home you live in yourself, by either sharing with the
  tenant, or on a self-contained basis.

Whatever you decide, it is important that you are both aware of, and
understand your legal obligations as a landlord. The following section of the
guide explains your general management responsibilities and looks at
examples of good practice in letting your property.


TENANTS’ RIGHTS                                  LANDLORDS’ RIGHTS
Every tenant has the right…                      Every landlord has the right…
• to know the terms of the                       • to charge a market rent
  tenancy                                          (since Jan ’89)
• to know the name and                           • to agree the terms of the
  address of the landlord                          agreement before the
• to a written tenancy                             tenancy begins
  agreement that accurately                      • to receive rent when it is
  reflects conditions of the                       due
  tenancy                                        • to be advised of necessary
• to a decent standard of                          repairs
  repair                                         • to be given proper notice by
• to proper notice if the                          a tenant if they wish to
  landlord wants the tenant to                     leave.
  leave
• to ‘quiet enjoyment’ while
  staying in the property.




                                       -5-
Before you begin
Before renting out your property, make sure you have permission to do so
• From your lender if the property is mortgaged.
• From your house insurance company.
• From the local authority – all private landlords must be registered (see
  below)

You should also ensure that you have an Energy Performance Certificate
(EPC) for the property. You are required to have an EPC for all new
tenancies which commence on or after 4 January 2009 (see page 38 for
further details).

Finding Tenants
You can advertise directly in a local paper or in local shop windows.
Alternatively, you can employ the services of a letting agent.

You can also use “Orkney Lets” – the free property advertising service for
registered landlords operated by Orkney Islands Council. This service
advertises properties via the Orkney Islands Council website and the list of
available properties is also available in paper format from the Housing
Division. This may save you having to advertise the property as many
prospective tenants contact the Housing Division for details of local landlords.
Orkney Islands Council does not carry out any checks on prospective tenants
using this service and would strongly recommend that landlords carry out
reference checks and so forth as per their normal procedure.


Equal Opportunities
When interviewing or receiving enquiries from prospective tenants and in your
subsequent dealings with them, it is important that you do not discriminate
either directly or indirectly on the grounds of race, religion, disability, gender,
sexuality or age.

There are specific legal obligations under the Race Relations Act 1976 (as
amended) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 not to discriminate on
the grounds of race or disability. Anyone letting property (except rooms in
their own home) must not unreasonably discriminate against disabled people.

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) was established under the Race
Relations Act 1976, and has the power to carry out formal investigations into
the conduct of landlords - private and public - who it suspects are
discriminating racially.

The Code of Practice for Rented Housing, introduced in 1991, gives detailed
guidance on the operation of the Act in relation to housing. Although the Code
does not impose any legal obligations, it is admissible as evidence in court
proceedings and contains a section on the private rented sector.




                                       -6-
Examples of racial discrimination:
• A landlord withholds information about available accommodation of the
  type being sought by a particular racial group, but assists another one;
• A landlord refuses to let a property to, or accept as a lodger, someone
  from a particular racial group.

If you would like more information on the Code of Practice, the Race
Relations Act or the role of the Commission for Racial Equality contact the
Commission at 45 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PJ. Tel: 0131 226 5186

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
Houses of multiple occupation are essentially shared accommodation.

They are more readily recognised as:
• Shared flats or houses, occupied by a number of unrelated adults who live
   together as a household;
• Bed-sitters, which sometimes have a cooker, wash-hand basin or shower
   in each room;
• Lodging or boarding accommodation with the owner in residence where
   the lodger or boarder is not part of the owner’s household;
• Hotel, guest house or bed and breakfast accommodation which is used as
   a main residence.

To be classified as a licensable HMO the accommodation must be the only or
principal residence of 3 or more people who are not members, either of the
same family, or of one or other of two families. The licensing scheme was
introduced by the Civic Government (Scotland) act 1982 (Licensing of Houses
of Multiple Occupation) Order 2000. With effect from 1 October 2003 licenses
are required for all houses occupied by three or more persons, being
members of more than two families.
It is important to be aware of standards in relation to fire safety and amenities
if you are letting a HMO. See section two of this Guide. Further advice is
available from Environmental Health (see service directory).

Registration of landlords
All private landlords, unless they qualify for an exemption, are required to
register with the Local Authority from April 2006 onwards.

You can register online at www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk (a 10%
discount applies to online registrations) or you can contact the Housing
Division at Orkney Islands Council and complete a paper application.

In order to register you must provide the Local Authority with the following
information:

•   Your name, address and date of birth
•   The addresses of any properties you let
•   The name and address of any agent you use
•   A contact address


                                      -7-
•   Information on any unspent convictions relating to fraud, dishonesty,
    discrimination, violence or drugs
•   A signed declaration that you comply with all relevant laws when letting
    properties

The public can search for approved registrations online, although they will not
be able to view all of your information. The public search function will only
allow access to landlords’ names, the name of any agent that they use, the
contact address specified in their application and the properties that they rent
out. This information will not be available in a list, either the landlord’s name
and address or the property address must be known before information can
be viewed. In addition to this, the landlord’s home address can be accessed
by contacting the local authority. However this information will only be given
where it is deemed to be appropriate, for example where the person requires
to serve a notice on the landlord.

The main exemptions from registration are as follows:

•   Resident Landlords
•   Agricultural Tenancies
•   Holiday Lets (please note that winter lets are NOT exempt)
•   Life Rents
•   Lets to immediate family members

If you believe you may be entitled to an exemption, please contact the
Housing Division to discuss this. Please note that exemption from registration
does not mean exemption from other legal requirements.

For further information on registration please contact the Housing Division or
visit www.betterrentingscotland.com.


You should ensure that you apply to be registered before taking
steps to rent out a property. It is a criminal offence to rent out, or
offer to rent out, a property without being registered.




TENANCY AGREEMENTS
Introduction
The Housing (Scotland) Act 1988, which came into force on 2 January 1989,
saw the introduction of assured and short assured tenancies. They are now
the most common type of agreement used by private landlords.

Whether assured or short assured, the tenancy is an agreement between the
landlord and the tenant whereby in return for rent the tenant can live in the
property as his or her home. It is not possible here to set out every detail of


                                      -8-
assured tenancies but we have tried to cover the most common concerns.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 sets out the law and only the courts can say
exactly how it is to be interpreted. The agreement must be a written
document setting out the terms of the tenancy.

A model Short Assured Tenancy Agreement is available online at
www.orkney.gov.uk or by contacting the Housing Division.

This can be quite a confusing area of lease law. It is important, therefore, that
you ensure the tenancy agreement is clear, concise and includes all the
relevant details. This will help prevent any misunderstandings between you
and the tenant later on. One copy should be given to the tenant at no charge.
The rent and conditions of the tenancy should be agreed between you and the
tenant and the agreement should include the following

• Name of landlord and the address of the property being let
• The length of the tenancy
• The length of notice required to end the tenancy
• The rent, and when and how it is to be paid and how any rent increases are
  to be calculated
• The amount of deposit paid by the tenant (if applicable)
• Who is responsible for decoration and external maintenance and repairs
• Any condition or restriction on the use of the property

Whatever terms are agreed, there will always be repairing obligations upon
the landlord to maintain:

• The structure and exterior of the property.
• Sanitary installations.
• Water, gas and electricity supplies.

If the property falls under the Repairing Standard obligation (which the
majority of private lets do) then you must inform your tenant of this prior to the
tenancy starting. A standard letter is available from the Private Rented
Housing Panel website: www.prhpscotland.gov.uk. Further information on
the Repairing Standard is available on page 19.

It is in the interests of the landlord to ensure that prospective tenants
understand the terms and conditions they are signing up for.

When creating a tenancy, take care to ensure that it is of the correct type to
suit your future intentions for the property. All assured tenants have security
of tenure (protection from eviction) but the details depend on whether the
tenancy is an assured or a short assured tenancy.

Assured Tenancies
Assured Tenancies affect houses (or part of a house – such as a self-
contained room) which are let as separate dwellings to individuals, either as
tenants or joint tenants and, if;


                                       -9-
•   it is the tenant’s, or one of the joint tenants’, main house
•   the tenancy does not fall into one of the excluded categories of tenancies

Some of the excluded categories are:

•   Tenancies started before 2 January, 1989.
•   Lettings to students by educational institutions.
•   Resident landlords.
•   A letting for a holiday.


Termination of an Assured Tenancy
A tenant with an assured tenancy has security of tenure even when the
contractual assured tenancy has come to an end. The tenancy then becomes
a statutory assured tenancy and the right to remain can only be brought to an
end by a court order.
Contractual vs. Statutory
An assured tenancy offered at the beginning of the tenancy will be a
contractual assured tenancy, setting out the terms and conditions on which
the letting is made. A statutory assured tenancy begins when the contractual
tenancy is brought to an end by the landlord serving a valid notice to quit on
the tenant. If the tenant continues to stay on in the property after being served
a notice to quit, the tenancy automatically becomes a statutory assured
tenancy, in that the tenant’s right to remain in possession of the house
derives from statute and not from contract.


If the landlord wants to gain possession of an assured tenancy there are 3
things that must be done:

1. A Notice to Quit must be served on the tenant.
2. The landlord must serve on the tenant a notice of proceedings, which
   informs the tenant that proceedings are being taken to gain possession.
   This Notice is called an AT6 and it is the type of notice that must be used if
   it is an assured tenancy. The notice should include the grounds under
   which possession is sought and say why the landlord believes the ground
   or grounds apply.
3. A court order from the sheriff court must be obtained.

A Notice to Quit must be in writing. It has the effect of bringing the contractual
tenancy to an end but the tenant may stay in occupation until the landlord
obtains an order for possession. It must be at least 28, 31 or 40 days
depending on the length of the tenancy. For example a six or 12 month
tenancy requires a minimum of 40 days notice, or a longer period if stated in
the tenancy agreement. If a landlord issues a Notice to Quit but does not
seek to gain possession of the house, the contractual assured tenancy will be




                                       - 10 -
replaced by a statutory assured tenancy. The landlord may then propose new
terms for the tenancy, for example, a rent adjustment.

Sample notices are available from www.orkney.gov.uk or by contacting the
Housing Division.

Note that you must raise court proceedings within 6 months of the date the
AT6 Notice takes effect, otherwise it will not be valid.

A Notice to Quit must either be sent by recorded delivery or delivered by a
Sheriff Officer. If it is sent by regular post or hand-delivered by the landlord or
the landlords agent this may invalidate the notice. If the tenant does not sign
for the notice when it is delivered then the notice may not be deemed to have
been served.

There are 17 ‘grounds’ for possession set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act
1988. Some of the grounds require a notice to be served before the start of
the tenancy. If the notice has not been served the ground may not apply. A lot
will depend on what you, as the landlord, did before the tenancy began.
Grounds 1 to 8 are mandatory: if they are established, the Sheriff must grant
an order for possession. Grounds 9 to 17 are discretionary and as such, an
order for possession can only be granted if the Sheriff believes it is
reasonable to do so.

Summary of Grounds for Possession
Listed below are the mandatory grounds where the Sheriff Court must award
possession:

1. The house was occupied as the landlord’s principal home at any time
   before the tenancy started, or the house is required as the landlord’s (or
   the landlord’s spouses) principal home (as long as the landlord did not buy
   or otherwise acquire the house for value).*
2. The house is subject to a mortgage and the lender, for example a bank or
   building society, is entitled to sell the house because of the landlord’s
   failure to keep to the conditions of the loan.*
3. The house (or room) was let as an off-season holiday let of not more than
   8 months.*
4. The house (or room) was let to a student(s) for a period of no more than
   12 months and was let by a specified educational institution during the
   previous 12 months.*
5. The house is needed for a minister or full-time lay missionary and is
   normally held for this purpose.*
6. The house is going to be demolished or substantial reconstruction is to be
   carried out.
7. The tenant has died and the tenancy is passed on to another person and
   the landlord starts proceedings not later than 12 months after the former
   tenant’s death.
8. There is at least 3 months rent in arrears at the time of serving the Notice
   of Proceedings and at the date of the court hearing.



                                       - 11 -
*Note: In the case of the first five mandatory grounds for recovery of
possession, a landlord must have given the tenant written notice before the
beginning of the tenancy that possession might be recovered under that
ground. However, in the case of grounds 1 and 2 the Sheriff may judge it to
be reasonable to dispense with this requirement. It is advisable to always
inform your tenants in writing of ground 2 if you do have a mortgage on the
property. Similarly, if you have lived in the property in the past then it would
be advisable to inform your tenant that you may use ground 1 for
repossession, as this will cover you for all future eventualities.

If one of the following discretionary grounds is established the Sheriff may
grant the landlord possession, but only if he believes it is reasonable to do so:

9. The landlord has offered suitable alternative accommodation.
10. Where the tenant has given notice to quit, which has expired, but has not
    yet moved.
11. There is persistent delay in paying the rent, whether or not there are
    actually any arrears outstanding when possession proceedings start.
12. Where some rent is unpaid at the start of court proceedings and at the
    time of serving of the Notice of Proceedings (even if there has been no
    persistent delay in paying rent).
13. Where there is a breach of the tenancy agreement (other than those
    relating to rent payment).
14. Where the tenant has allowed or caused damage to the house or common
    parts of the building
15. Where the tenant or members of the tenant’s household are causing a
    nuisance or annoyance to neighbours or has been convicted of immoral or
    illegal use of the house.
16. Where the tenant has damaged the furniture or allowed it to become
    damaged.
17. Where the house was let as to the tenant because s/he was employed by
    the landlord and the tenant is no longer employed by the landlord.

If possession is sought under grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 17, the landlord must
give 2 months’ notice. For any other ground 2 weeks notice is required.
These notice periods only apply to the AT6, please note that the notice to quit
must still give a minimum of either 28, 31 or 40 days notice depending on the
length of the tenancy and on any notice period stated in the tenancy
agreement.

You must take advice before using these grounds to ensure that everything
has been done to the satisfaction of the Sheriff Court.

Spotting the problems early on – rent arrears
If your tenant starts to get into arrears, try to discuss it with him or her.
Consider the following:

• Have your tenant’s circumstances changed?
• Should your tenant be claiming Housing Benefit?
• Have you given them the information and documentation (contract, rent
  book or receipts) that the Housing Benefit & Council Tax Section need to
  assess the claim?
• Should you advise your tenant to seek -
                                     - 12 debt advice from the Citizens Advice
  Bureau? This may help them to work out an affordable repayment plan and
  keep up with their current rent.
Don’t wait for the situation to get any worse. If you are sure your tenant can
afford to pay but is simply refusing to do so, you can serve formal notice. Just
serving the notice may be enough to persuade the tenant to start paying
properly; but if it doesn’t then you can apply to the sheriff court. You will have
to prove that the tenant is in arrears, and that it is reasonable to grant
possession to you. If the sheriff court agrees with you, your tenant will be
given a little more time and be asked to pay what he or she owes.


Short Assured Tenancies
A short assured tenancy is a special type of assured tenancy. It is granted for
a fixed term of not less than 6 months. Importantly, at the end of the agreed
time of the tenancy the landlord can apply for repossession of the property.
This is now the most common type of agreement used by private landlords as
it should allow for recovery of possession more easily (if the correct
procedures are followed). A short assured tenancy also gives special rights to
the tenant to apply to a rent assessment committee for a rent determination.

To create this type of tenancy, the following conditions must apply:

• The agreement must be for a fixed term period of a minimum of six months.
• Before the tenancy begins you must give the tenant a special notice, called
  an AT5. This notice informs the prospective tenant that the tenancy is a
  Short Assured Tenancy. It is worthwhile to either serve the AT5 recorded
  delivery or ask the tenant to sign it when they have read and understood it,
  as you may need proof later on. The AT5 must be served before the
  tenancy agreement is signed and before the tenant moves into the
  property.

A sample Short Assured Tenancy Agreement and Form AT5 are available at
www.orkney.gov.uk or by contacting the Housing Division.

Be Warned: If either of these conditions are not satisfied, then an
Assured Tenancy will probably be created and you will lose your right
to recover possession automatically after the fixed term.



You must also remember to notify your tenant of your obligations under the
Repairing Standard. A standard letter is available online at
www.prhpscotland.gov.uk. See the Repairs section on page19 for further
information.

Ending a Short Assured Tenancy
A tenant with a short assured tenancy has security of tenure only during the
agreed period of let. The tenant can be evicted during this time only if they
break any of the tenancy conditions. At the end of the agreed period the
landlord can apply for repossession. However, the tenant can stay on until
the court grants the landlord an order for possession.



                                      - 13 -
When a short-assured tenancy comes to an end, there are 3 options:

• Renew the tenancy for a fixed term (by agreement, this can be for less than
  6 months).
• Recover possession (a reason does not have to be given if the tenancy has
  validly come to an end).
• Allow the tenant to remain in occupation on a statutory tenancy.

When the fixed term tenancy comes to an end, you must give the tenant at
least two months notice in writing if you wish to end the tenancy. This can be
served during the tenancy, to coincide with the end of the tenancy. If the
tenant refuses to leave at the end of that date, the landlord still has to go to
court to evict.

If, during the term of the tenancy, the tenant is in breach of any terms of the
tenancy, possession can be sought using the same grounds as for an assured
tenancy.

To gain possession at the end of a short assured tenancy, the court must be
satisfied that:

•   It has come to the end of its set period.
•   What is called ‘tacit relocation’ is not operating – if the proper notices have
    not been served in time, then the short assured tenancy will continue on
    the same terms and conditions as the original tenancy. This means that a
    6 month tenancy will renew for another six months – unless the tenancy
    agreement specifically states otherwise.
•   There is no further contractual tenancy existing.
•   The landlord has given notice that they require possession of the house –
    by serving a Notice to Quit, a Section 33 Notice and a notice stating that
    they require possession (an AT6 can be used for this).

The Notice to Quit requires to be served at least 28, 31 or 40 days before the
end of the tenancy, depending on the length of the tenancy. The Notice
telling the tenant the landlord needs possession (AT6) must be given at least
2 months before possession is required. The Section 33 Notice must also
give at least two months notice. If these Notices are served correctly, a
tenant with a short assured tenancy will have little defence against possession
procedures. Do remember, however, a tenant only has to move out if a court
order has been obtained.

Sample notices are available from www.orkney.gov.uk or by contacting the
Housing Division.

If in any doubt over which type of tenancy to create always consult a solicitor
offering housing advice for detailed legal advice. Remember - if you fail to
adopt the correct legal procedure in bringing a tenancy to an end and as a
RENTS, DEPOSITS AND INVENTORIES
result any tenant is forced to leave against his or her will, then you may be
committing a criminal offence under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984 or
harassment under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.
                                       - 14 -
Rent:
How Much Rent Should You Charge?
There is no restriction on the rent you negotiate with your tenants at the
beginning of the tenancy, however, it should be on terms which are fair and
reasonable. There are few restrictions on the rent a landlord can charge, but
you should consider the market and what the rent covers before proposing
any rent figure.

When deciding on this figure, consider the quality of the accommodation, its
size, the services or furniture included and the property’s location. Basically,
the rent will depend on what the tenant is prepared or is able to pay, and on
what you are prepared to accept. The amount of rent to be paid should be
stated in the tenancy agreement.

Can Rents be Increased?
The rent can be increased if the tenancy agreement allows for a rent review or
if the landlord serves a notice of increase in the prescribed form. By law the
rent can be re-negotiated annually if the agreement allows. The Housing
(Scotland) Act 1988 sets out the procedure the landlord must follow for rent
increases if the parties cannot agree the amount. As long as the tenancy
agreement makes provision for a rent increase, then you are legally entitled to
that rent increase. However, if the tenancy agreement is not clear on this,
then it will be necessary to serve a notice to quit prior to increasing the rent by
serving a standard notice (Form AT2). There can be only one increase per
year.

If you are unsure about how to increase the rent you should consult a private
solicitor or advice centre or enquire at the offices of the Private Rented
Housing Panel. Advice is also available from the Housing Division.

Collection of Rent
If the rent is paid weekly, you are obliged by law to provide a rent book. This
should contain your name and address and the main terms of the tenancy. It
is in your interests and that of your tenants, to ensure that the rent book is
accurately kept, as it is both a receipt and a rent book. Rent books can be
purchased from most large stationary firms and are available from local
stationary catalogues.

If the rent is paid fortnightly or monthly you should also provide a written
receipt, as this can help avoid any disputes later on. Rent should be collected
regularly at an agreed reasonable time if not by post.

Deposits
It is accepted practice to ask tenants for a deposit to cover any damage or
unpaid bills. Neither the Benefits Agency nor Housing Benefit office can help
with this payment. Orkney Islands Council operates a Rent Deposit Scheme
that enables prospective tenants to apply to the Housing Division for
assistance with a rent deposit. If the application is successful Orkney Islands


                                       - 15 -
Council will pay the rent deposit directly to the landlord and the tenant will
then repay the Council in instalments. Using the Rent Deposit Scheme will
not affect your rights to retain part of the deposit to cover damage/rent
arrears. However the landlord is required to inform Orkney Islands Council if
they raise proceedings against the tenant or if the tenant gives notice on the
tenancy. The amount of deposit you ask for will depend upon what you think
needs to be covered. It is a statutory requirement (Rent (Scotland) Act 1984
s.90) that the deposit should not exceed 2 months rent. Always provide a
receipt for any deposit received, and clearly state what it covers.

Many tenants find it difficult to find a lump sum to use as a deposit, so you
may want to consider asking for it in several instalments. Remember - the
deposit is the tenants’ money which you are holding on trust. The money
should be returned in full at the end of the tenancy if there are no losses or
damage to cover. Normal wear and tear of the property should not be
deducted from any deposit paid.

Please note that it is against the law to require or to receive any premium or
‘key money’ as a condition of granting, renewing, continuing or assigning an
assured or short assured tenancy.

Inventories
You are strongly advised to make a list of all equipment and furniture and to
take details of the property condition when the tenants first move in. This
should be checked and agreed between you and the tenant and a copy
should be given to the tenant. Any existing damage should be clearly noted.
Photographs of valuable items may prove to be useful. A well drawn up
inventory can help avoid disputes, particularly those involving the return of
deposits, later on.

Limits on charges for electricity
You should be aware that if your tenant pays for electricity by using a meter
supplied by you, there is a limit to how much can be charged for this. You
should not charge your tenant more than the highest prices laid down.
Details of the price limits should be available from the Office of Gas and
Electricity Markets (OFGEM) whose telephone number is in the service
directory.




ACCESS & AFFORDABILITY
Tenants on Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance)
A tenant on low income or claiming benefits may be entitled to housing benefit
to help them cover the cost of their rent. Housing benefit is a government
benefit but is administered and paid out by the council. A new system of
calculating the eligible rent for Housing Benefit was introduced in April 2008 –
Local Housing Allowance. Tenants who have had continuous entitlement



                                     - 16 -
since before April 2008 will still be in receipt of Housing Benefit under the old
rules but all new claims will be processed under Local Housing Allowance.

The information below relates to new claimants whose claims are being
processed under Local Housing Allowance (LHA). If you have a query about
a claim made before April 2008 please contact the Benefits Section for
information.

The amount of benefit payable under Local Housing Allowance is not usually
based on the property in which the tenant lives. It is based on:

   •   Who lives with the tenant
   •   Which area the property is in
   •   How much money the tenant has coming in
   •   What savings the tenant has

Other factors may affect the level of benefit. These can include:

   •   How much the rent is
   •   Whether anyone living with the tenant is expected to contribute to their
       rent

Some tenants may have their rent paid in full but others may receive only part
of their rent.

Local Housing Allowance works by setting a rate for different sizes of
properties in a set area. Orkney sits entirely within one area so the rates are
the same regardless of where in Orkney the property is situated. The rates
are calculated by the Rent Officer and will be reassessed on a monthly basis.

Local Housing Allowance rates for different property sizes are published each
month on the website – www.orkney.gov.uk – and in leaflets available from
the Council offices. Please remember that these rates are based on the size
of property the tenant needs and not the size of property they are renting. For
example a couple with one child would be entitled to the rate for a 2 bedroom
property, regardless of whether they are actually living in a 3 bedroom
property.

As a landlord you will want to know that the tenant can meet the rent liability.
A tenant may or may not inform you that they are claiming housing benefit. If
a tenant does inform you that they are claiming housing benefit in order to
meet the rent then it is in your interest to provide any information that is
requested to help process the claim. Do remember that housing benefit is
primarily an arrangement between the council and the tenant not the council
and landlord. This means that there are restrictions on what the benefit
section can tell you about the tenant’s claim.

The rules on how much housing benefit a tenant is entitled to can be
complicated and you should seek further information from the Benefits
Section if required. See the service directory for their contact number.


                                      - 17 -
Direct Payments
Under Local Housing Allowance, the local authority cannot usually pay the
benefit directly to the landlord, even if the tenant requests this. However, if
the local authority is satisfied that the tenant would have difficulty in paying
their rent, direct payments can be arranged.

If your tenant has rent arrears, or you have reason to believe they would have
difficulty in paying the rent, you should contact the Benefits section regarding
direct payments.

Appeals
If the tenant disagrees with a decision made in relation to their claim they
have the write to challenge this decision. If a landlord is unhappy with a
decision about direct payments they also have the right to challenge this. If
you want to know more about how to challenge a decision please contact the
Housing Benefit Section.

Fair Rent System
The fair rent system was introduced in 1965 and incorporated in successive
Rent Acts until the introduction of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988.

After 2 January 1989, lettings can only be regulated tenancies when:

• An existing regulated tenant is moving to a house owned by the same
  landlord; or
• The tenancy passes to the spouse following the death of the original
  regulated tenant or
• The regulated tenant is moved to suitable alternative accommodation and
  the Sheriff orders that this accommodation must be let on a regulated
  tenancy

These are not particularly common now.

Who Pays the Council Tax?
This will depend on the type of accommodation and on your agreement with
the tenant:

Self - Contained Accommodation
Where the accommodation is self-contained, the tenant is liable. For periods
when no one is living in the accommodation, for example, in between lets, you
are liable even though you are not resident. Discounts and exemptions from
Council Tax are available depending on the circumstances. For more
information contact the Council Tax section (see Service Directory)


Houses in Multiple Occupation




                                     - 18 -
If the accommodation consists of bedsits or rooms and is classified as a
House in Multiple Occupation, then you are liable for paying the tax. It is
important to let your tenants know if you have included this cost in the rent.




REPAIRS
Landlord responsibilities
As landlord, you have a responsibility to maintain certain standards within the
property. The Tenancy Agreement should set out who is responsible for what
repairs. Under the Repairing Standard legislation, the landlord must ensure
that:

• The house in wind and water tight and reasonably fit for human habitation
• The structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and
  external pipes, are in reasonable repair and working order – this includes
  repairs to common parts of the building such as stairways, hallways shared
  with other tenants etc
• The installations in the house for the supply of water, gas and electricity
  and for sanitation, space heating and heating water are in reasonable
  repair and proper working order
• Any fixtures, fitting and appliances provided under the tenancy are in
  reasonable repair and proper working order
• Any furnishings provided under the tenancy are capable of being used
  safely for the purpose for which they are designed
• There is satisfactory provision for detecting and giving warning of fires*

The landlord has a duty to ensure that the property meets the repairing
standard at the start of the tenancy and at all times during it. The landlord (or
their agent) must carry out an inspection of the property prior to a tenant
moving in. If any repairs cannot be carried out before the tenant moves in,
the landlord must provide the tenant with written details of the work to be
carried out and when it will be done.

The tenant is responsible for notifying the landlord of any required repairs
during the tenancy – the Repairing Standard duty only applies where the
landlord is aware the work is required. Work must be carried out within a
reasonable time – the length of time will depend on the nature and urgency of
the work.

There are now regulations in place which require all landlords to carry out
annual checks on gas installations and electrical appliances (these are
explained further in Section 2 of the guide).

• Guidance on satisfactory fire detection states that there must be at least
  one functioning smoke alarm in the property – for larger properties at least
  one per floor although more may be required depending on the layout.
  Please note that if multiple alarms are installed, they must be interlinked.


                                      - 19 -
  Any new smoke alarms installed after 3 September 2007 must be mains-
  wired, existing battery operated alarms may remain but if they need
  replaced it must be with mains-wired alarms. It is recommended that
  tenancy agreements contain a clause requiring the tenant to test alarms on
  a weekly basis and change the batteries at least once a year. Further
  information is available online at www.prhpscotland.gov.uk or from the
  Housing Division.

Private Rented Housing Panel
The Private Rented Housing Panel (prhp) is the body responsible for dealing
with any breaches of the Repairing Standard. If a tenant believes the property
does not meet the standard they can report this to the prhp. However the
tenant must have reported the issue to the landlord in the first instance and
allowed him adequate time to carry out the necessary work.

If the prhp accepts the case it will be referred to a Committee for
consideration. The prhp may delay referring the case if there is a good
chance that the dispute could be resolved, for example through mediation. If
the Committee decides that the landlord has failed to comply with the
Repairing Standard it can make an enforcement order requiring the landlord
to carry out the work. Failure to comply with an enforcement order is an
offence. Where a landlord fails to comply the Committee can impose a rent
relief order – this would reduce the rent payable on the property by up to 90%
until such time as the work has been completed. The local authority may
carry out work that has not been completed and recover its costs from the
landlord.

Further information is available from the prhp at www.prhpscotland.gov.uk or
by contacting their offices (see Service Directory). Leaflets are also available
from Orkney Islands Council and various local agencies.

Access for repairs
The landlord is entitled to enter the property to carry repairs that have been
reported. You must give the tenant at least 24 hours written notice of your
intention to enter the property, unless it is an emergency, when you will be
entitled to immediate access. Also, in certain circumstances, you, or an agent
acting on your behalf, can enter the property to inspect its condition and state
of repair, provided you have given the tenant 24 hours written notice.
Otherwise, you will only be able to gain access with a court order.
Remember: If you enter the property more than necessary without forward
notice this may be considered as harassment by the tenant who is within their
rights to seek legal redress.

In some cases, you have the right to ask the tenant to move out of the
property in order to carry out necessary repair work. In these instances, you
should offer the tenant alternative accommodation. If the tenant is unwilling to
move, however, you can apply to the court to repossess the property.




                                     - 20 -
Tenants should be given emergency contact telephone numbers to report any
essential repairs. Advice should be given to your tenants on how to turn off
water, gas and electric services i.e. the position of meters and stop cocks.

The Tenant’s Responsibilities
The tenant’s responsibilities for repairs should be set out in the tenancy
agreement. Although they should not be responsible for general wear and
tear, they must make sure the fittings, fixtures, furniture (where supplied) and
other contents are not damaged because of their misuse or negligence.

You should also advise your tenant to inform you promptly of any necessary
repair work.

The following table is an example of who might be responsible for repairs.
This could be changed by mutual agreement which should be made clear in
the tenancy agreement. Please note that although some items are the
tenants responsibility – ie the toilet seat – the landlord is responsible for
ensuring these items are in a good state of repair at the start of the tenancy.

BATHROOM                       WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?            COMMENTS
                               Tenant         Landlord
Bath
Shower Unit
Toilet Seat
Toilet Pan
Wash Basin

CENTRAL HEATING

Chimney & Flue

Chimney Sweeping
Coal Bunker
Electric storage system
Electric warm-air system
Fireplace tiles
Oil-fired system (radiators)
Oil-fired warm-air
Solid-fuel system

PLUMBING

Blocked sink, wash basin
bath or toilet
Domestic cold-water
Downpipes
(rain and soil)
Drains
Gutters


                                      - 21 -
PLUMBING                   WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?               COMMENTS
(cont)                     Tenant         Landlord

Hot-water supply
Sink plugs/chains
Washing machine
Fittings                                                     unless landlord
                                                             supplied them

ELECTRICAL

Electric Fire                                                unless landlord
                                                             supplied it
Light Fittings
Plugs                                                        It depends on
                                                             who supplied
                                                             the equipment
Smoke detectors
Sockets
Stair lighting
Switches
Wiring & Circuits


STRUCTURE

Ceilings
Damp-proof course
Floors
Outside woodwork
Roughcast plastering
Walls
Stairs (inside)
Steps

As the landlord you must ensure that you have adequate insurance for the
building but the tenant is responsible for insuring his/her own possessions.
You will usually be responsible for outside decoration to the property and for
the decoration inside. However, you may agree with your tenant that they can
undertake decoration work. It is useful to make these arrangements clear in
the tenancy agreement.


Consents and Income Tax
Before you let your property, you must get the consent of your mortgage
lender and insurance company.

Mortgage
Where the property to be let is the subject of a Building Society or Bank loan,
the consent of the Lender should be requested before the property is let. It is


                                     - 22 -
quite common under normal circumstances for such consent to be given, and
generally lenders are sympathetic to an owners requirements. It is possible,
however, that a slightly increased rate of interest may be charged during the
period of tenancy, and in some cases a small administration charge may be
levied at the time consent to let is given. Particular attention should be given
to ensuring that no disclaimer can be made owing to provisions in loan
documents governing failure to disclose lease agreements. (Several mortgage
lenders now offer 'Buy to Let' mortgage packages aimed specifically at clients
who intend to purchase and subsequently rent out property).

Insurance
Insurance of the buildings, and those furniture and fittings which belong to the
owner should be insured by the owner. The tenant should then insure any
items that they bring into the premises. It is advisable to inform your insurers
of your intentions; otherwise you may find that you are not fully covered by
your existing policy. It is possible that your insurance policy may be changed
as a result of the property being let, or being unoccupied for a period of time,
and therefore Landlords are advised to check the details carefully with their
insurer. Again, particular attention should be given to ensure that no
disclaimer can be made owing to provisions in documents governing failure to
disclose lease agreements.

Income Tax
Under self-assessment, the taxpayer is required to calculate his own tax
liability and submit figures to the Inland Revenue. The following publications
are available from Inland Revenue, Wick Office which give detailed
information regarding tax liability on income from let property. (see Service
Directory)

IR87 Letting and Your Home
IR150 Taxation of Rents - A guide to property income
IR140 Non-resident Landlords, their Agents and Tenants

It is advisable to seek advice from a tax advisor regarding any potential
liability incurred from rental income

Tax Reductions
From 6 April 2004, landlords have been able to deduct the cost of installing
energy saving measures when calculating the taxable profit of their property
business. This is done through the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance
(LESA) which is available to landlords who pay income tax and who let
residential property. To find out if you are eligible for LESA contact Her
Majesty’s Revenue and Customs at www.hmrc.gov.uk or check the
information notes on the Landlord and Property pages of your main self-
assessment tax return.




                                     - 23 -
            Part Two

PROPERTY STANDARDS
     & SAFETY


This Section Provides:

  • Guidance on gas safety
  • Guidance on electrical safety
  • Information on Furniture &
    Furnishings Safety Regulations
  • Guidance on Fire Protection in
    Shared Houses
  • Information on the fitness
    standard of the property
  • Advice on provision of amenities
    and room sizes
  • Advice on general matters such as
    security & pest control
  • Information on grants




                 - 24 -
SAFETY
Introduction
Before letting a property, you need to ensure that it is clean, dry, safe and in a
habitable condition. The electricity supply, the plumbing and the central
heating should all be checked for safety, and the kitchen should be of a
reasonable standard with safe facilities for storing and preparing food.

Landlords and Tenants often express concern regarding safety matters. If in
any doubt, you should refer to the list of agencies and contacts in the attached
service directory.

Remember: failure to observe safety regulations can lead to prosecution and
to a substantial claim for damages by the injured party.

Gas Safety
Every year about 30 people in the UK die from carbon monoxide (CO)
poisoning caused by gas appliances which have not been correctly installed
or maintained. People who sleep in a room containing an open-flued gas
appliance which is left burning at night are most at risk. Although mains gas
is not available in Orkney there are many properties which use Calor Gas
appliances. The regulations quoted below apply to Calor Gas appliances as
well as mains gas systems.

As a landlord you have a legal duty to ensure that your premises and
appliances are safe. Appliances which burn any fossil fuel such as gas, coal
or oil, can produce carbon monoxide if they have not been fitted properly or
serviced regularly. The law makes it clear that landlords who let
accommodation through letting agents are equally liable.

The Legislation
  Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and regulations made there
  under
  Gas Safety (Installation & Use) 1994, regulation 35
  Gas Cooking appliances (Safety) Regulations (incl. second hand
  appliances)
  EEC Gas Appliances Directive
  - particularly concerned the introduction of balanced flues

REMEMBER: If using gas fires and the flue becomes blocked, the waste
products are not escaping. This waste contaminates the air intake and is
being reburnt and expelled into the room. What are the danger signs to look
out for?
• staining, soot or discolouration around a gas fire or around the top of a
   water heater;
• a yellow or orange flame in a gas appliance;
• for the tenant, onset of symptoms such as tiredness, headache, nausea,
   giddiness, pains in the chest and stomach (these can often be mistaken for
   symptoms of a cold or influenza).


                                      - 25 -
What the Law says:
The Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1994 apply to all rented
property containing gas appliances. The main requirements of these
regulations with respect to rented properties are as follows:

• Owners of rented property are now required to have all gas appliances
  checked for safety once a year
• Only contractors registered with CORGI (Confederation of Registered
  Gas Installers) are allowed to carry out these checks or to carry out any
  servicing, repair or replacement work
• You must keep records of these checks and produce them if asked to do so
• You must provide your tenants with a copy of the test record
• Installers must inform you and your tenants if any appliance is found to be
  unsafe. You will be asked for your agreement to disconnect the appliance
• You have a continuing duty to ensure that no actions are taken or works
  carried out which would affect the safe operation of any gas appliance
• As from 30 January 1996 it is illegal to fit an open flued gas fire in any room
  used for sleeping purposes. Appliances of the room sealed type (also
  known as balanced flue) or ones which have an automatic cut off device if
  there is a build up of carbon monoxide fumes will however be allowed.
• From 1 June 2008 all new flueless gas appliances installed in multi-dwelling
  buildings must incorporate a flame supervision device (FSD). A FSD will
  cut off the gas supply if it detects the flame is extinguished. This only
  applies to multi-dwelling buildings and new appliances.

Upon completion of any safety check, ask your contractor to provide a
Landlords Gas Safety Record. Your contractor should be familiar with this
form if he/she is CORGI registered.

Further Advice
You should take care that any contractors doing work on your property, for
example on the chimneys, do not affect the ventilation system to any gas
appliance
Reliable electronic carbon monoxide detectors are now available complying
with British Standard 7860, however, like most agencies, the Council believes
that the safest approach is through regular testing and servicing of gas
appliances rather than relying solely on such devices. Installing carbon
monoxide detectors is not an alternative under the Gas Safety (Installation
and Use) Regulations.

Electrical Safety
Relevant Legislation
• The Consumer Protection act 1987.
• The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.
Summary of Requirements:
• Electrical equipment which Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1989.
                                      into the
• The Low Voltage Electrical came marking supply chain before I January
  1997 which does not bear CE*                 can be used provided that it
• The Plugs & Sockets etc. (Safety)1989 regulations (the 1989 regulations
  satisfies the requirements of the Regulations 1994.
  provide that only electrical equipment which does not jeopardise the safety
  of people, domestic animals and property may be placed on the market).

                                      - 26 -
• Any equipment which came into the supply chain after I January 1997 has
  to comply with the 1994 regulations. For second-hand equipment and
  those contained in let accommodation the CE mark is not required on the
  appliance.
• CE mark is a European mark which allows free circulation throughout the
  EEA and is a visible declaration by the manufacturer or his authorised
  representative that the electrical equipment satisfies all the provisions of
  the 1994 regulations.

Safety of electrical equipment
Electrical equipment in furnished privately rented housing which is hired as
part of the tenancy agreement is now subject to the Electrical Equipment
(Safety) Regulations 1994. These regulations require that electrical equipment
must be safe to use and would apply, for example to bedside lamps,
televisions, vacuum cleaners. refrigerators. portable electric fires, etc.

Buying new equipment which conforms to British Standards or other
approved Safety Standards is clearly the best way to ensure safety. All new
electrical appliances will bear the 'CE' mark to show compliance with
regulations. Your supplier should be able to provide further details.

If you choose to buy second hand or your existing appliances are old it would
be advisable to have these thoroughly checked by a competent electrician to
certify that they are safe. Whilst there is no mandatory requirement for
appliances to undergo regular safety testing, it is important that in the case of
a complaint or accident that you can show that all reasonable steps were
taken to ensure that equipment was safe.

Our advice to all landlords is to ensure that a satisfactory test programme is
set up for all electrical equipment in properties. These checks can be both
visual and full electrical checks. The frequency and type of check will depend
on the type of appliance and how often it is used by the tenant. A qualified
electrical engineer should be able to give advice as to the frequency of full
electrical tests. We would advise that visual inspections are carried out with
an inventory check at the start of each tenancy and at least at six monthly
intervals. (Remember: this is only a guideline).

It is important to record that all checks including visual checks have been
carried out -perhaps a checklist of points could be produced on which each
appliance can be listed and ticks placed against each checkpoint. This record
should be dated and signed. An electrical engineer carrying out a full
electrical test should supply a written report but it would be as well to check
this will be done. Appliances can be identified with their serial numbers.
Such a record system will be well worth it in the event of an accident
occurring and will go some way towards providing a defence in regard to any
offence. Any relevant written instructions/warnings on safe use should be
passed on to the tenant. It would also be advisable to check any
requirements imposed by the insurance company who insures the let
properly.
You should carry out a number of basic safety checks yourself for instance:



                                      - 27 -
• Ensure that cables and flexes are not damaged
• Ensure plugs are wired with correct colour coding.                More modern
  appliances will have brown (live) blue (neutral) and, if earthed, yellow/green
  coloured insulation covering.
• Ensure that plugs have insulated terminal inserts.
• Check the wattage of light bulbs is not too high for the fitting.
• Make sure that fuses in plugs are of the correct rating.
• Look for an approved safety mark on the appliance e.g. British Standard
  Kite mark.

Good Practice Advice
The electrical wiring circuits, switches and sockets in your house must be in a
safe condition, good working order and adequate for the needs of your
tenants.
In a shared house, it is likely that there will be more intensive use of electrical
equipment with each tenant perhaps having use of their own hi-fi, computer;
television, bedside lamp, and even a kettle or toaster:
You can make sure that the safety and well being of your tenants is not
compromised through a defective or inadequate electrical wiring installation
by having regular inspections carried out by a competent electrician.
It is strongly recommended that the electrician you employ is approved by the
Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland (SELECT), The address is
included in the Service Directory.

Electrical wiring of more than 15 years old will most likely need to be
inspected every year: More recent wiring may require less frequent
inspection. Your electrician's report will give a recommended re-inspection
interval of between 2 and I O years. It is in any case good practice to have an
annual electrical safety check in shared houses due to their intensive use.
For existing installations, the type of report you should be asking your
electrician to produce is known as a 'Periodic Inspection Report for an
Electrical Installation', Any defects or deficiencies identified in the report
which could be potentially dangerous must be attended to without delay.
Please note that the property will not meet the tolerable standard unless the
electrical installation is adequate and safe to use.

Indications of a sub standard electrical installation
• Insufficient number of sockets leading to the use of multiple adaptors with
    the consequent risk of overloading the circuit.
• Sockets in bathrooms or near sinks or sources of water.
• Wall mounted light switches in bathrooms. Should be pull cord only.
• Taped joints or loose wiring.
• Charring around sockets or sparking light switches.
• Frequent fusing of power or lighting circuits.
• Lack of earthing to water pipes, sinks or wash hand basins.
If your property has any of the above features you should suspect there are
problems and call an electrician as soon as possible.




                                       - 28 -
Safety of Furniture & Furnishings
Relevant legislation:
• The Consumer Protection Act 1987.
• The Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
• The General Product Safety Regulations 1994.


It is your responsibility as supplier or agent of holiday or let accommodation
to ensure that all upholstered furniture complies with the Furniture &
Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. These regulations set new
levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and
other products containing upholstery. Many domestic fires start with soft
furnishings catching fire and many deaths are attributed to the highly
poisonous fumes that are given off by the man-made foams and coverings.
The new regulations aim to improve the fire safety of materials used in the
manufacturing of furniture by introducing two new standards of fire
resistance. These standards include 2 tests:
• the match test and
• the cigarette test.

From 1 March 1993:
• All furniture and furnishings included in accommodation which is made
  available for let for the first time after this date, must meet all the fire
  resistance requirements.
• Furniture, whether new or second hand and, which is in addition to, or in
  replacement of; existing furniture in accommodation let prior to this date
  must comply with all the fire resistance requirements.
• All upholstered furniture and furnishings included in rented accommodation
  must
  comply with all the fire resistance requirements.

From 1 January 1997:

• All upholstered furniture and furnishings included in rented accommodation
  must comply with all the fire resistance requirements.
Where lettings are continued to the same tenant no further supply is
considered to have taken place for the purpose of the regulations. Therefore,
furniture supplied to a tenant in respect of an agreement which commenced
before I January 1997, can continue to be supplied until the tenant leaves or
a new agreement is put in place, provided the property was first let prior to
March 1993.
The Regulations apply to:
• Beds, headboards of beds and mattresses
• Sofa-beds, futons and other convertibles
• Nursery furniture
• Garden furniture which is suitable for use in the dwelling.
• Scatter cushions and seat pads
• Pillows



                                      - 29 -
• Loose and stretch covers for furniture.

The regulations DO NOT apply to:
• Furniture made before 1950
• Bed-clothes including duvets.
• Loose covers for mattresses .Pillowcases.
• Curtains.
• Carpets.
• Sleeping bags.


What to look for
Each item of furniture or furnishings will have a label attached to it stating
compliance with the regulations. All new furniture must carry a display label at
the point of sale. Furniture which has no permanent label should be assumed
not to comply.




Look for statements that:

• Foams and fillings pass the test
• Upholstery (covers and fillings) is cigarette resistant
• Covers are match resistant
Certain articles do not require all the above information to be given. For
example, loose covers, pillows, cushions and seat pads will have a label with
a caution, the name and postal code of the first UK supplier and a description
of filling or covering materials.
Specifications for labelling mattresses and bed-bases are contained in BS
7177:1989. The label to look for is as follows:

                      Complies with
                      BS177: 1989
                      For low Hazard
                      e.g. Domestic
                      Dwellings

You should also be aware of other items that come within the General
Product (Safety) Regulations 1994, and which have implications for furnished
accommodation. For example:

• Furniture incorporating glass, should comply with BS7449:1991 (covers the
  use of glass in all furniture including cabinets, shelving systems and wall
  hangings, such as free standing mirrors) or BS 7376:1990 (which covers
  tables and trolleys).
• Lampshades which should state the maximum wattage of the bulb which
  can be used safely.



                                       - 30 -
There are other; miscellaneous items within let accommodation, that are
covered by different legislation. For more information on this and any of the
above you can contact the Council's Trading Standards Service (see Service
Directory).

Fire Protection in Shared Houses/HMOs
A house occupied by a group of unrelated individuals is more likely to be
involved in a fire accident at some time compared with a more traditional
single family type of occupancy:

The reasons for this could be:
• The differing lifestyles and habits of occupants.
• The lack of an identifiable head of household responsible for overall safety
  matters in the house.
• The more intensive use of electrical equipment and cooking facilities-
• In many cases the relative inexperience of young people perhaps living
  away from their family home for the first time.

To give the occupants an increased chance of escape and survival in the
event of a fire it is essential that a fire safety measures appropriate to the
type of house are installed. It is a legal requirement that specific fire safety
risk assessments are carried out on HMOs. Details of the required measures
are available from www.infoscotland.com/firelaw.

Fire Safety Measures
Fire safety has changed in recent years with the introduction of the Fire
(Scotland) Act 2005 and Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. This
legislation places responsibility on duty holders within relevant premises. For
further information on this legislation and fire safety measures applicable to
relevant premises please refer to the Sector Specific Guidance documents
which are available at www.infoscotland.com/firelaw. For further advice and
information, you can contact Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Check or simply to discuss your queries.
For contact details see the Service Directory.




Fitness Standard
General Repair
As a landlord you are obliged to keep the property wind and watertight and in
good tenantable condition (see Section Five on Repairs). In addition. you
have a general responsibility to keep in good repair and working order:


                                      - 31 -
•   Basins, sinks, toilets, baths.
•   Water and gas pipes and electrical wiring.
•   The structure and exterior of the property.
•   including drains and external pipes.
•   Installations for water heating and space heating.

In general, the house must comply with the following main requirements:

All parts of the house should be in a reasonable state of repair and good
working order. It is strongly recommended that you employ the services of a
qualified surveyor to carry out a full inspection and produce a report on the
overall condition of a house before letting it in the first instance.

Emergency repairs such as burst water pipes, leaking roofs, faulty electricity
installation, failed central heating or hot water boilers should be attended to
within 24 hours wherever possible. Tenants should be left with an
emergency contact telephone number to report any essential repairs as
appropriate. Advice should also be given to your tenants on how to turn off
water; gas and electric services i.e. position of meters and stop cocks etc.

Structural Stability
The house should be free from any progressive structural movement likely to
lead to collapse or failure of any major part of the building. In particular look
out for:
• Leaning chimney stacks and pots.
• Sagging roofs.
• Bulging brickwork to the main external walls.
• Settlement cracks above windows and doorways.
• Distorted window and door openings
• Sloping floors.
Again, it is advisable to call in a qualified surveyor prior to letting if you are
unsure of the overall condition of your property.

Freedom from Dampness
The house should be substantially free from rising and penetrating dampness.
In particular look out for:
• Rising dampness to ground floor walls (indicated by a damp tide mark
   usually about 18 inches above floor level).
• Rising dampness to ground floor floors. Old quarry tile floors and poorly
  constructed solid concrete floors with no damp-proof membrane are
  particularly susceptible.
• Penetrating dampness to walls and ceilings due to leaking roofs and
  gutters, perished external brickwork and mortar joints,
• leaking hot or cold supply pipes.




                                       - 32 -
Excessive condensation can lead to mould growth particularly on the walls
and ceilings of kitchens and bathrooms. Bedroom walls behind cupboards and
wardrobes and beneath windows are also highly susceptible.


Heating, Lighting & Ventilation
Heating
For many tenants, it is the efficiency of the heating system which has the
most significant impact on their overall perception and enjoyment of the
house. All habitable rooms should be provided with a fixed heating appliance
capable of heating the room to a temperature of 18 C when the outside
temperature is -I C.

The type of heating provided should be efficient, safely designed and
economical to run. It is in your interests in the long term.

Individual gas or electric fires are still widely used, however; they are not
always the best method of heating in terms of cost and efficiency and are also
in need of constant maintenance to ensure safety.

Whole house systems of heating (i.e. oil central heating or electric storage
heaters operated through an economy tariff) are to be encouraged wherever
possible.

Energy Efficiency
In conjunction with an efficient heating system it is also important to have
good thermal insulation.
In particular you should:
• Ensure roof spaces have a minimum of 100mm polyurethane or 160mm
  fibreglass insulation.
• Consider replacing old draughty ill fitting windows and doors.
• Draught proof external doors and windows (but not to rooms containing an
  open-flue gas appliance).
• Ensure that all water pipes likely to be exposed to frost (e.g. In the roof
  space) are properly insulated or take other appropriate steps to prevent
  burst pipes during the winter, particularly when the house is unoccupied.
  Make sure your tenants know where the stop tap is in the event of a burst
  pipe.
• Ensure that the hot water tank is fitted with a good quality insulation jacket.
Energy Performance Certificates
You must provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for all tenancies
which commence on or after 4 January 2009. EPC’s can only be issued by a
contractor who is a member of one of the protocol organisations. Details of
such         contractors       are        available        online        at
http://www.sbsa.gov.uk/european_issues/epcprotocols.htm.

The EPC should:


                                       - 33 -
    •   Display an indication of current carbon dioxide emissions;
    •   Provide an indication of potential emissions on an annual basis and
        also the potential energy use of the building; and
    •   Record a list of cost effective improvements

You are required to affix the EPC to the building in such a way that it is
protected from weather and easily accessible. A suitable location may be
within the meter cupboard. The EPC will last for 10 years although it would
be good practice to update the EPC if major works have been carried out on
the property in the intervening period.

Lighting
All habitable rooms should have adequate natural lighting to enable domestic
activities to be undertaken safely. A clear glazed window equivalent in size to
one fifteenth of the room floor area will normally be adequate.

All staircases, landings, kitchens, bathrooms and toilets should be provided
with a window wherever practicable.

Adequate electric lighting must also be provided to all accessible parts of the
house. In particular

• Light switches should be suitably positioned so that they can be operated
  directly upon entering any room, hallway or landing.
• There should be two way switches to enable operation at both the top and
  bottom of any staircase.


Ventilation
All habitable rooms should be ventilated directly to the open air by an opening
window equivalent in size to at least one thirtieth of the room floor area.

Kitchens. bathrooms and toilets should wherever possible also be provided
with openable windows. Where this is not possible there should be adequate
mechanical ventilation.

The use of automatic humidistat extractor fans is strongly recommended in all
kitchens and bathrooms even where an adequate window is provided. This
type of fan will remove moist air from the building before it condenses on
walls and ceilings and so helps prevent the occurrence of unsightly and
potentially harmful mould growth.
All rooms containing an open flue gas heating appliance and all kitchens.
bathrooms. and toilets should be provided with suitable and sufficient
permanent ventilation by means of an air brick or equivalent.

Shared House/HMO - Amenities, Room Sizes and
Equipment Provision


                                     - 34 -
Bathrooms & Toilets
The property must be provided with all of the following sanitary fittings for the
exclusive use of the occupants of the house

• One water closet accessible from within the house and preferably in a
  separate room from the bathroom for every FIVE people sharing.
• One fixed bath or shower with piped supply of hot and cold water for every
  SIX people sharing.
• One wash hand basin with piped supplies of hot and cold water for every
  SIX people sharing.

Where possible, each bedroom shall be provided with a wash hand basin.
Where a bedroom cannot be provided with a wash hand basin, then such
facilities shall be provided on the same floor; in the ratio of - not less than I
wash hand basin for three occupants.
It is recommended that:

• Baths be a minimum size of I 700 mm x 760 mm.
• Showers to be either of the over-bath type or separate with a minimum tray
  size of 800 mm x 800 mm.
• Any room containing a water closet should also have its own wash hand
  basin.
• All baths, showers and wash hand basins to have a constant supply of hot
  and cold water and trapped waste pipes.
• Bathrooms should be of an adequate size to enable persons to get changed
  and dried without difficulty.
• There should be obscured glazing to windows and internally operated locks
  for privacy.
• Shared bathrooms and toilets should not be entered directly from individual
  bedrooms.
• Floor coverings in bathrooms should be non- slip, easily cleaned and
  waterproof.
• Baths and wash hand basins should have adequate impervious splash
  back. The impervious splash back should be full height if there is a shower
  over the bath.
• Cold water supplies to wash hand basins must be of drinking water
  standard directly from the mains (i.e. not from a storage tank).

Kitchens
A kitchen in a shared house will be intensively used. There should always be
adequate space to enable several people, (but not necessarily the whole
group) to use the kitchen safely at the same time.
A minimum size of 8 square metres (85 square feet) is recommended for
every five people (or part of five) sharing. In particular, for every 6 people it is
required that there should be:



                                        - 35 -
• A sink and drainer with a constant supply of hot and cold water. The cold
  water supply must be of drinking water standard and directly from the
  mains. Wall surfaces adjacent to the sink should be impervious to moisture.
• A full size gas or electric cooker, with oven, grill and four ring burners, with
  a clear activity space the width of the cooker and at least 1000mm long in
  front of the cooker.
• Adequate easily cleaned work surfaces for food preparation (minimum
  1500 mm x 500 mm) with adjacent wall surfaces tiled as necessary.
• A large upright refrigerator or two standard size refrigerators to enable each
  person to have an entire shelf (minimum height 200 mm per shelf).
• A minimum of three double switched 13 amp power sockets suitably
  positioned to enable the safe use of domestic appliances without the need
  for trailing flexes and cables.
• Adequate dry food storage cupboards for each person sharing. The storage
  cupboard beneath a sink is not suitable.
• Adequate storage cupboards for kitchen utensils, crockery, cutlery etc.

Bedrooms (Including Bed/Study Rooms)
Bedrooms in shared houses will often also serve as studies in which persons
may spend prolonged periods.
A single person bedroom must be a minimum of 6.5 sq. metres. However; it is
strongly recommended that such bedrooms should be a minimum of IO sq.
metres, particularly if there is no communal lounge or dining room available.

If cooking facilities are to be provided in the bedroom. an extra 3 sq. metres
should be provided. Double bedrooms should be a minimum of IO.5 sq.
metres or I5 sq. metres if there is no communal living room. Access to
individual bedrooms should not be through another bedroom or directly from
the front or rear entrance doors.

Communal Rooms
Most shared houses will have a communal room where the group of
residents meet to eat meals, watch television and generally socialise. Whilst
there is no actual requirement to provide a communal room, it has become
an expected feature.
Where provided, communal rooms should be of the following minimum sizes:


Living Room
Used by 3 – 6 persons - 11 square metres
Used by 7 – 10 persons – 16.5 square metres
Used by 11 – 15 persons – 19.5 square metres




                                      - 36 -
Security and Environmental Issues
Security
Shared houses are particularly at risk of burglary. It is therefore important to
fit suitable security locks to all opening windows on the ground floor and
accessible windows on upper floors.

Entrance doors at the front and rear should have good quality locks and it is
advisable to strengthen the door frames around the lock keep sections. Locks
to entrance doors should open from the inside without using a key in order to
ensure rapid escape event of a fire.

Locks should be located in a position on the door which cannot be reached
by breaking a pane of glass in or near the door.

Properties to which the access is dark and secluded should be fitted with
automatic security lighting wherever possible.

Energy Efficiency
Improving the energy efficiency of your property is beneficial for several
reasons. It could:

• Increase the value or the property.
• Result in lower maintenance and repair costs.
• Reduce running costs for tenants thus making the rent more affordable.
The Orkney Energy Advice Centre gives independent and impartial advice
to all householders in Orkney on:

•   Heating systems
•   Insulating your home
•   Grants to save energy
•   Cutting fuel bills
•   Reducing CO2 emissions
•   Energy audits
•   Low energy lighting
•   Use and energy efficiency of appliances and any fuel related issue.

You may wish to encourage your tenants to be aware of some of the issues
as it could save them money on fuel bills and tenants are likely to stay longer
in a warm comfortable home with low running costs. Several grants are
available to assist with the thermal insulation and energy efficiency of property
which can be applied for by the tenant with the permission of the landlord. If
you would like further information on any of the above please contact the
Orkney Energy Advice Centre (see Service Directory).

Refuse Storage & Collection


                                      - 37 -
Refuse containers should be provided in sufficient numbers, both internally
and externally to meet the needs of the occupants. Refuse containers located
externally should be sited on a hardstanding surface with suitable access.

The Council will make special collections for bulky items such as old
furniture, refrigerators, mattresses etc. Contact Orkney Islands Council
Waste Disposal Section for details about special uplifts (see Service
Directory).

Gardens & Boundaries
Overgrown gardens with accumulations of rubbish and dilapidated fences or
walls have a detrimental effect on a neighbourhood, leading to depressed
property values and are a great cause of concern to local residents. Try to
ensure that gardens are kept reasonably tidy particularly during the summer
months and that any damaged fencing is repaired or renewed without delay.

Common access ways to the rear or side of a house should also be kept clear
of obstructions such as overgrown hedges, leaning fences or accumulations
of refuse.



Grants to Help Improve Properties
Introduction
The private rented sector in Orkney represents approximately 12% of the
total housing stock, with a wide range of standards in the quality of
construction and maintenance. Given the cost of necessary improvements
there is a real need to identify and secure additional funding sources in order
to adequately address the problems and potential of this tenure.

Improvement and Repair Grants
The most traditional way of helping owners to improve and repair properties
has been through the use of Improvement and Repair Grants under housing
legislation. Almost all grants are awarded at the discretion of local councils.
The one exception is when standard amenities are required for the first time
or for disabled requirements. The work undertaken is focused on sub-
standard housing.

At the time of printing, Scottish local authorities are operating a scheme of
housing grants which was contained in the Housing (Scotland) Acts 1987 and
2001 and earlier legislation. Major amendments to the system are expected
under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, although no effective date has yet
been specified. The Scheme of Assistance for Housing Purposes to be
introduced under the 2006 Act will replace the existing scheme and the
information below will be updated in due course.


Relevant Legislation:
Improvement Order - Section 88 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987
Repairs Notice -Section 108 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987
                                    - 38 -
Repairs Notice -Section 87 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982
Abatement Notice -Section 80 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
A booklet “Housing Grants – An applicant’s guide to improvement and
repair grants for private housing”, published by the Scottish Government,
is available which explains the current policy and grants which may be
available.

The Council's grant policy can change from time to time depending on the
money available. For further advice on the Council's present grants policy or
any query regarding improvement or repairs grants please contact the
Customer Services Advisors at Orkney Islands Council. (details in
Service Directory).

Applying for a grant
You can apply to the Council for an application form. You will be told what
information is needed. There are provisions in place to allow landlords to
apply for grants. The completed form should be returned to the Council,
along with appropriate documents.

The Council will consider your application and whether it is approved or
refused, you will receive written notification of any decision made. If you
apply for a grant you must not start any work until a decision has been
made on your application.

Housing Enforcement
Clearly, as part of any overall housing policy, it is necessary to take
enforcement action to deal with unsatisfactory housing. In the private sector it
is not uncommon to find unacceptable conditions that need to be investigated
and at the outset it is our policy to try to negotiate to bring about improvement.
However; if this fails it is sometimes necessary to serve legal notices to
ensure that the necessary repair work or improvements is done. In summary,
our approach is to:

• Negotiate to improve substandard housing conditions without enforcement
  action.
• Use statutory enforcement powers where unsatisfactory conditions exist
  that detrimentally affect the health of the occupants.
• Explore methods of encouraging owner occupiers to maintain and improve
  the property.
• Work with landlords to help improve private rented accommodation.



                                      - 39 -
• Develop a targeted approach to solving unfitness through the incentive of
  repair and other associated grants.

The Private Rented Housing Panel also have enforcement powers in relation
to private sector properties that do not meet the Repairing Standard. See the
Repairs section for further details.

A house meets the tolerable standard if it:
A. is structurally stable;
B. is substantially free from rising or penetrating damp;
C. has satisfactory provision for natural and artificial lighting, for ventilation
   and for heating;
D. has satisfactory thermal insulation;
E. has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the
   house;
F. has a sink provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water
   within the house;
G. has a water closet or waterless closet available for the exclusive use of the
   occupants of the house and suitably located within the house;
H. Has a fixed bath or shower and a wash hand basin each provided with a
   satisfactory hot and cold water supply suitably located within the house;
I. has an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface
   water;
J. in the case of a house having a supply of electricity, complies with the
   relevant requirements in relation to the electrical installations for the
   purposes of that supply;
               •   “the electrical installations” is the electrical wiring and
                   associated components and fittings, but excludes equipment
                   and appliances;
               •   “the relevant requirements” are that the electrical installation
                   is adequate and safe to use
K. has satisfactory facilities for the cooking of food within the house;
L. has satisfactory access to all external doors and outbuildings.

Care and Repair
Care and Repair is a home improvement agency managed by Orkney Islands
Property Developments Ltd. Assistance is available to elderly, disabled and
low income groups who are homeowners or private tenants. They are given
assistance and advice on a wide variety of improvements, repairs and grant
aided works. For further details contact Care and Repair. (See Service
Directory).



                                        - 40 -
Scottish Government Grants for Energy Efficiency
There are several grants available to help make your property more energy
efficient and consequently comfortable for the tenant. The grants can be
applied for by the tenant with the permission, and hopefully the
encouragement, of the landlord.

The Warm Deal for Scotland
If the tenant qualifies for the full grant you can receive up to £500 of energy
efficiency work including:
• Cavity wall insulation
• Loft insulation
• Draught proofing
• Hot and cold tank jackets and pipe insulation
• Energy advice and up to four Energy Efficient Lightbulbs
For further information on these grants contact Keep Orkney Warm. (See
service directory).
In addition to the insulation grants there are grants available to assist you to
replace old heating systems with new more energy efficient versions.
• Install a central heating system if the tenant is over 60 years of age or
  replace a non operational system.
• Install a new electric storage heating system.
Information on these grants and others which may be available from time to
time is available from Orkney Energy Advice Centre, (see service
directory).

Rural Empty Properties Grant
It has the specific purpose of providing financial assistance to bring existing
empty properties in rural areas back into residential use for rent to local
people. Grant assistance is generally only available for existing property that
is uninhabitable on account of its condition. The eligibility criteria for applicants
to the scheme are stated below:
• Existing private landlords, private companies or owners intending to set up
   in business as a private landlord can apply.
• Applicants must be financially viable and have the necessary skills,
   experience and capacity to manage the project either directly or indirectly
   through a management agent.
• Applicants must have sufficient resources to undertake the project.
• Applicants must have the legal capacity to enter into a contract with the
   Scottish Government.
A property may be eligible for Rural Empty Properties Grant where:
• It is designated as residential but uninhabitable due to its condition.
• It is a Below Tolerable Standard inhabited dwelling which forms part of a
  group of eligible empty properties nearby.


                                        - 41 -
• In exceptional circumstances a non- residential property for conversion to
  residential property which meets housing need, represents good value for
  money and forms part of a wider redevelopment project.
As well as this. any proposed project must fit in with the Orkney Empty
Homes Strategy agreed between the Scottish Government and its partners
which determines priority areas for investment. Properties must be made
available at affordable rents for local people and let on either an assured or
short assured tenancy agreement.
For further information contact the Scottish Government or their Orkney
agents, Orkney Islands Property Developments Ltd.(see Service
Directory).

Heritage/Town Scheme Grants
Any residential properties located in Conservation Areas or those that are
listed for their historical/architectural merit may qualify for Orkney Islands
Council heritage or town scheme grants. These grants are designed to
encourage the use of traditional materials, fenestrations and finishes for
external repairs and enhancement works. For further information contact the
Planning (Development Control) section of Orkney Islands Council. (See
service directory)




                                     - 42 -
Part 3: Service Directory
The following services can be contacted at the School Place Offices

•     Housing (see page 45 for details)             Orkney Islands Council
•     Environmental Health                          School Place
•     Council Tax                                   KIRKWALL
                                                    Orkney
•     Housing Benefit
                                                    KW15 1NY
•     Planning (Development Control)
•     Building Standards                            Telephone          01856 873535
•     Legal Clerks’ Office, Legal Services
•     Trading Standards
•     Waste Disposal

Other Useful Addresses
Orkney Housing Association Ltd.                   Orkney Islands Property Developments Ltd.
39A Victoria Street                               15 Victoria Street
KIRKWALL                                          KIRKWALL
KW15 1DN                                          KW15 1DN

Telephone           01856 875253                  Telephone        01856 876310



    Orkney Care & Repair                           Citizens Advice Bureau
    15 Victoria Street                             Anchor Buildings
    KIRKWALL                                       6 Bridge Street
    KW15 1DN                                       KIRKWALL

    Telephone        01856 873369                  Telephone           01856 875266
    Fax              01856 875657




    Private Rented Housing Panel                  Keep Orkney Warm
    3rd Floor                                     15 Victoria Street
    140 West Campbell Street                      KIRKWALL
    GLASGOW                                       KW15 1DN
    G2 4TZ
                                                  Telephone        01856 870536
    Telephone        0141 572 1170
    Fax              0141 572 1171



    Orkney Energy Advice Centre                   HM Inspector of Taxes
    26 Bridge Street                              Wick Tax Office
    KIRKWALL                                      Government Buildings
    KW15 1HR                                      Girnigoe Street
                                                  WICK
    Telephone        01856 870534                 KW1 4HN
    Freephone        0800 512012
                                                  Telephone        01955 607100




                                         - 43 -
Oil Firing Technical Association for the                  Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue
Petroleum Industry (OFTEC)                                Service
Foxwood House                                             Great Western Road
Dobbs Lane                                                Kirkwall
Kesgrave
Ipswich                                                   Telephone        01856 875428
IP5 2QQ                                                   OR               08000 12 13 12
Telephone         0845 65 85 080
Fax               0845 65 85 181




OFGEM 0141 331 2678                                   CORGI HELPLINE 0800 915 0480
       Fax 0141 331 2777




Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland (SELECT)
Bush House
Bush Estate
Midlothian
EH26 0SB

Telephone         0131 445 5577




                                             - 44 -
Advice & Information Section
The Advice & Information Section of the Housing Division provides advice
covering all types of tenure.

We can provide assistance to landlords in the following ways:

   •   Orkney Lets - free on-line property advertising service available to
       registered landlords
   •   Sample tenancy documents, including:
           o Model Short Assured Tenancy
           o Form AT5
           o Prior Notification of Grounds 1-5
           o Form AT6
           o Section 33 Notice
           o Notice to Quit
       All free to download from our website
   •   Advice on how to create and end a tenancy
   •   Advice & assistance with dealing with anti-social behaviour
   •   Advice & information on Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and
       other rent related information
   •   Advice on how to increase the rent of an existing tenancy
   •   Advice on the minimum property conditions required – for example the
       Repairing Standard and the Tolerable Standard
   •   Information and advice pages for landlords available online
   •   Landlords’ Forum set up to provide a platform for local landlords to
       raise issues
   •   Lets Update - newsletter updating local landlords on tenancy issues
   •   Training events organised to assist landlords with tenancy issues
   •   Advice & assistance with Private Sector Landlord Registration
   •   Referrals to other departments and agencies where necessary

If you would like any advice or information on housing matters please do not
hesitate to contact us.

Advice & Information Section, Housing Division, Orkney Islands Council,
School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY. Tel – 01856 873535

Email – housingadvice@orkney.gov.uk
Website – www.orkney.gov.uk




                                     - 45 -
   To advertise your vacant
properties free of charge on the
Council website, please contact
  the Advice & Information
            Section.

              - 46 -

				
DOCUMENT INFO