Communal Housing Repairs

This information is intended for owners in tenement/flatted properties or any property that has communal areas in a building that has mixed ownership.

Communal repairs are usually in areas that people share such as common rooms or stairwells or for shared facilities such as doors and lifts. They can include: 

  • repairs to door entry system, 
  • lock repairs to communal doors,
  • glazing repairs to doors or stairway windows, 
  • roof and gutter repairs, 
  • external walls, and 
  • any other part of the property within the Title Deeds set out as being the property of two or more owners.

The cost for such repairs will be shared by everyone who owns a property in the building.

Responsibilities

Individual Responsibility

Anything serving only one flat, including the door from the stair, its windows and the inside of walls, floors and ceilings to the halfway point with the next property. You are solely responsible for all repairs and maintenance to your own flat.

Mutual Responsibility

Mutual property is anything used by two or more flats including the stairs, stair windows, chimneystacks, service cables, pipes etc. Repairs to mutual parts of the building should be paid for equally by all who use that part – unless your Deeds say otherwise.

Scheme (Common) Property

This is the most important part of the new law. It outlines all the parts of the building where maintenance is paid for by all owners. These include: the roof, the foundations, external walls and any other part of the property which the Title Deeds set out as being the property of two or more owners.

It is important to note that paying for roof repairs now becomes the responsibility of every owner in the building – unless your Deeds say otherwise.

Repair process

It is important that everyone in the building is aware of the process involved in undertaking a communal repair.

If Aberdeen City Council identify a repair which requires action, we will contact owners/occupiers in the affected building to seek permission to carry out the repair and advise you of the cost for which you are responsible. 

If you identify a repair in a communal area, we will pay the share of the cost for any council tenants located and responsible for their share of the work.

Urgent or emergency repairs

In the event tenants report an urgent or emergency repair, the Council will carry fix the issue, or at least make the area safe.  In an emergency we will respond within 4 hours. Any repair classified as urgent will be responded to within 24 hours. We will seek to notify owners/occupiers as soon as possible to inform you of the work carried out and any associated costs.

If an owner identifies an emergency repair and can evidence its urgency, then we will pay the share of costs for council tenants.

Arranging your own communal repair

As owners you have a right to arrange your own communal repairs. If you identify a communal repair(s) you may wish to discuss it with your neighbours and other residents in the building. You and your fellow owners could consider using an architect, property manager or surveyor when deciding which projects are the most urgent. 

If you are arranging your own communal repair and we own more than one property within the building, try to get at least 3 quotes to submit to communal repairs for review. We usually ask for 3 comparable quotes to ensure owners are getting best value.

Contact details

To discuss, or submit quotes for communal repairs please email communalrepairs@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Frequently asked questions

Title Deeds or Land Certificates define who owns a property and who is responsible for common building and external elements.  Generally, Title Deeds will set out:

  • What is held in common by owners in the block;
  • Your share of common repairs (1/6th, 1/8th etc.); and
  • Whether or not there is a property factor for the property and in some cases the name of the property factor where this was incorporated into the Title Deeds when the property was constructed.

In some cases, more specific information may be included e.g. how decisions must be made by owners; the percentage of owners required to approve any common works; obligations of shop owners, if any shops are part of the tenement; and whether or not the titles for this property are shared with an adjacent or even a completely separate tenement ("Shared Title").

Your conveyancing solicitor should have explained the nature of burdens and other liabilities associated with your property to you prior to your concluding Missives of Sale.  If you require further information or have any questions, you should take further legal advice.

Responsibility for arranging communal repairs can depend on several factors, including ownership of building, and priority of the repair.  
 

Unless your deeds say differently:

  • Each flat affected gets one vote and decisions are reached by majority
  • You must give 48 hours notice of a meeting – or speak to all the other owners individually
  • Tell owners about decisions as soon as practical
  • Majority decisions are binding on all existing owners and can be enforced by a single owner
  • Those who were not in favour, can appeal to the sheriff within 28 days
  • An owner who is due to pay 75% of costs can annul the decision within 21 days
     

Yes. Unless your Deed of Conditions say otherwise, and so long as proper procedures have been followed, you are liable to pay your share. If you do not pay, your co-owners can take legal action to recover your share of the costs. You can appeal to the Sheriff Court.
 

No. Each owner becomes responsible for their share of the bill once the final decision is made. Someone who has moved may be hard to trace, so owners can protect themselves by serving a notice in the Land Register or Register of Sasines at least 14 days before a sale takes place. Then they can choose whether to ask the previous owner or the new owner to pay. New owners can recover their costs from the seller.
 

In most cases, yes. If flats are all roughly the same size, then they should pay the same share. But if there is a big difference in size and the biggest flat is more than 50% larger than the smallest, then repair costs must be divided according to floor area. If you hire a professional property manager, fees should be divided equally among all flats, no matter what size.
 

You can insist that repairs are carried out if the support or shelter of your flat is being reduced. The same goes for alterations that would reduce natural light in any other part of the building. This applies to all flats regardless of the Deeds.
 

A lot of disagreements can be sorted out by a neutral mediator, such as a property manager. If there is a disagreement, then the Sheriff Court is the final decision maker on all aspects of the Tenements Act. For instance, if you don’t agree with a decision you have 28 days in which to appeal to the Sheriff Court. The Sheriff can overturn any decision he or she decides is not in the interests of all the owners or is unfairly prejudicial to one or more owners.
 

You can do it by post, fax or email – either to the owner or his or her agent (such as a solicitor). If you don’t know who the owner is, or if you cannot contact them, you can post the notice through their letterbox addressed to ‘The Owner.’
 

Act as soon as you hear that a neighbour wants to change their Deeds. You may only have a few weeks, or less, to challenge their proposed changes. Speak to your solicitor urgently.
 

Yes. The Tenemant (Scotland) Act 2004 act over-rides anything said in the Title Deeds about insurance. From now on every owner is obliged to carry enough building insurance to pay for full reinstatement of the flat and other parts of the building they are responsible for. Bear in mind that ‘full reinstatement’ will usually be different to the market value of your home. You are entitled to ask your neighbours for evidence that their insurance is fully paid up. Owners can set up a common policy and divide the costs as they wish.
 

Registers of Scotland https://www.ros.gov.uk/ will be able to tell you who owns a flat and where they were living when they bought the flat. They may also be able to tell you if they own other property. 
 

If someone is a joint owner of the stair then they must pay their share of all maintenance costs. These include cleaning, painting, gardening, routine work, repairs and ‘incidental improvements’ such as installing a new street door.
 

The other owners will have to cover that person’s share of management costs and repairs to start with. It may be possible to recover these costs later if the flat has a value or if there are any traceable assets – seek legal advice if large sums are involved. If one owner simply cannot pay their share, the other owners may decide to share the costs equally between them.
 

When a flat has more than one owner, either of them can be required to pay the full share of costs – even if they have separated. It will then be up to him or her to recover the other owner’s share.
 

Yes. Under the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003, you can apply to change conditions in your Title Deeds. You could use this new right to improve the rules for carrying out repairs. If most owners in your building are in favour of changing conditions, it may be possible to achieve improvements. You should ask your solicitor to advise you.

You should act quickly. If no-one challenges this breach of title conditions within five years, then that condition is removed, and you won’t be able to get that condition put back later. Speak to your solicitor about challenging the breach of conditions.
 

Aberdeen City Council will charge professional fees of 14% as part of carrying out the work. This is itemised in your invoice and these fees covers the work for scoping and arranging of works, overall management of the scheduled work, ensuring that the contractors have completed the work satisfactorily  and that health and safety regulations are met.


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