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PE01444: Mutual repairs incentive scheme

Housing Planning

Petitioner: Florance Kennedy


Date Lodged: 01 November 2012

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to provide incentives for mutual repairs on tenement properties and to make representations to the UK Government regarding the VAT in order to encourage tenement property owners to undertake repairs and preserve the traditional housing stock of Scotland's inner cities for generations to come.


Petition History:


11 December 2012: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, the Federation of Master Builders, Historic Scotland and the UK Government. Link to Official Report 11 December 2012 (518KB pdf)

19 February 2013: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 19 February 2013 (374KB pdf)

30 April 2013: The Committee agreed to close the petition under Rule 15.7 on the grounds that grant schemes and discretionary assistance are available to home owners; a pilot Traditional Building Health Check scheme is being developed; the Sustainable Housing Strategy will be published in the first half of 2013, and the Scottish Government will continue to press for a change in the VAT rate. Link to Official Report 30 April 2013 (484KB pdf)

Written Submissions:

I think  incentives are required to encourage tenement property owners to undertake repairs in an organised and timely fashion. At the moment, only councils are exempt from VAT on such repairs and they are overwhelmed by the size of the problem while housing associations, owners and factors get no encouragement to act. There are no grants available. Something needs to be done before our inner cities crumble beyond repair. If you agree, please add your name to the petition.

This is an important issue long overdue for sorting out

Bridget Harris

9:07 on 02 Oct 2012

Considering the ongoing council statutary notice repairs scandal with estimates for work done to tenament flats doubling in price, i would suggest that VAT is reduced or zero so that owners can oversee their own repairs.

Bruce Paul

21:21 on 04 Sep 2012

in addition the issue of acceptaing responsibility needs to be understood by home owners. too many ignore and obviously it is usually the parties most affected organise the work ie top floor flats. mixed use blocks need serious discussion as we use a historic % calculation based on rateable values set 20 odd years ago. many residential owners have a 1 or 2% liability totally unrealistic to their area liability or current notional rateable value should residential properties be revalued now. whilst you may moan that it will add additional costs to home owners it is no different to current position with home owners ignoring their responsibility but you often have the case of a retailer rejecting repairs becaue they can have up to 80% liability so again no incentive to get work done. clearly not a vote winner but that is the reality of mixed buildings and needs like other areas looked into.

chris paterson

14:26 on 23 Aug 2012

A few years ago, a statutory notice was served on the tenement block in Edinburgh East of someone close to me. The owners had been unable to secure the commitment of one owner who rented out his flat. He used a very common British surname, that clearly was not his own, and he instructed his tenants not to reveal his true name and address to the other residents and flat owners. Despite this obstruction, they managed to track him down and attempted to persuade him to look after his property and his own interests, He refused, the notice was served and the owners found themselves facing a bill of £14,000 each. Because one of the owners, who let his property out, was well-connected, he managed to persuade the relevant person in the council department involved to give the owners a short period to organise the repairs themselves. The unhelpful owner was suddenly just as keen as everyone else to see what could be done to avoid paying £14,000 and probably have a rotten job done. Agreements were soon reached, a clerk of works was appointed to oversee and check the calibre of the work (just as well as he unearthed a few major faults at the end and had them rectified) and the job was done to a decent standard at a cost of £4,000 per flat, plus a small sum to the council to cover admin costs. The point of this is to illustrate the sort of problems owners can experience when just one of their number will not co-operate, and the fact that any job organised by the council is pretty much guaranteed to invole some sort of kick-back at our expense. How else can a difference of £10,000 per flat be explained? Our wee country is far more corrupt than most would like to think. Finally, there is clearly a need for money to be found from the public purse to help maintain our magnificent Victorian and Georgian buildings, which are responsible for the stunning good looks of our capital city. We cannot afford, in any sense, to let them crumble.

Marcello Mega

21:15 on 22 Aug 2012

Malcolm's point on 20 August, and Robin Taylor's earlier are valid. However, they do not address the fact that some owners do not fulfil their responsibilities and this causes immense problems which responsible owners cannot rectify. I think incentives are a fair swop for being able to walk down the street safe from deadly falls of masonry, and they would also benefit the tenants of some landlords who don't always look after their properties properly.

Florance Kennedy

12:59 on 20 Aug 2012

"No encouragement to organise repairs themselves"? Is the fact that a substantial portion of your net worth is invested in the building not incentive enough? Why should you expect a subsidy from those of us who pay taxes but do not own property?


10:55 on 20 Aug 2012

This is a very timely request, particularly in an era when councils have been found to be lacking with regard to the legality of the 'statutory' work they endorse, which is often to the financial benefit of the contractors they use...


12:27 on 19 Aug 2012

Support from the Council to help tenement property owners share their contact details - in particular where a large number of flats are rented - would be useful in encouraging owners to be more proactive in maintaining properties. Schemes such as the Edinburgh Stair Partnership should definitely be encouraged.


14:11 on 18 Aug 2012

Precautions will have to be taken to ensure people and the government are not ripped-off. This happened in a big way when a scheme of this sort was grossly abused by builders, architects and many others with shoddy workmanship to boot. The scheme took place approximately 20 years ago and the costs were that the grant was 90% to 10% for the owners. Despite this the cost of the 10% to owners often ran into thousands and a lot of the work done then has not lasted. We should beware of giving further power to people employed by the councils and it may be that the watchdogs for the scheme would be [PROFANITY:employed] by the Scottish Government, but this too would have its dangers. Jim

James Suddon

22:03 on 17 Aug 2012

Schemes such as the Edinburgh Stair Partnership should be set up and made *compulsory* so that ongoing repairs are carried out in a timely fashion and flat owners aren't suddenly faced with huge repair bills.


12:00 on 14 Aug 2012

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