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Building maintenance for the home you own

Be a responsible owner and follow these steps to maintain the condition and value of your home:

1. Find out what you are responsible for

If you live in a flat or some form of shared building, you will be jointly responsible for specific common repairs (e.g. roof, common close etc). If you own a detached property, you will probably be responsible for the maintenance of the whole building. Your exact responsibilities will be set out in your Title Deeds under The Occupiers Liability Act (Scotland) 1960, so check them out. In some cases, your Title Deeds may not mention common repairs. If this is the case, the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 will apply. The Act was introduced to make sure that the common parts of buildings are kept in good repair and it applies to any building that is divided into two or more flats on different floors. For more information on this, check out the "Organising Common Repairs" section.

2. If you live in a shared building

Talk to your fellow owners and agree who is responsible for what. Some of them make also have skills or contacts that you can use to bring the building back into shape. Find out more about managing common repairs in our "Organising Common Repairs" section.

3. Get your building checked regularly

Ideally you should get a building condition survey carried out every 5 years by an experienced professional (e.g. architect or surveyor) so you can properly plan and keep on top of repairs. However, it is a good idea to carry out regular inspections yourself too - read our "Checking Your Building" section to know what to look out for during your inspection.

4. Create a maintenance plan

This will help you to prioritise what needs to be done over a set period of time. It may be that you decide to carry out some 'patch up' repairs in the shorter term so you can save up to do bigger/more expensive repairs. Your plan should include a schedule of inspections and routine maintenance carried out on the building.

5. Sort out how you will pay for repairs

It is a good idea to put money aside for regularly to cover your maintenance obligations so you are not left short in the event of unforeseen repair. If you live in a shared building, it is a good practice to create a 'maintenance account' (often call the stair account) for repairs and maintenance costs. This would be a common bank account in which all owners contribute a regular payment to cover common maintenance obligations. More information on this can be found in our "Organising Common Repairs" section.

6. Keep a list of reliable works contractors

Building up a list of proven contractors can help you be satisfied that the work you instruct (and money for it) is in safe hands. Furthermore, once you've got an established working relationship, you will be more comfortable to ask their advice.

7. Plan for future repairs and maintenance

All parts of buildings decay over time, so it is best to plan for future repairs and maintenance and not be caught out by emergency repairs, which could be far more expensive.

The following tables outline how often you should be doing certain types of maintenance, and how long different building elements can be expected to last:

Building Element Maintenance
Building Element MaintenanceHow often required?
Gutter cleaning  Annually 
Slated/tiled roof - inspection and any required repair Annually 
Flat roof inspection Annually 
Render coatings (e.g. cement/rough cast) inspection and required repair Annually 
Chimneys - inspection and any required repair Annually 
TV aerials and fixings - inspection and any required repair Annually 
Building Element Maintenance
Building Element MaintenanceLifespan
External paintwork e.g. walls, gutters, downpipes etc 3-5 years 
Mastic/seal around windows 6-10 years 
Close painting 10 years 
Re-pointing mortar between stone/brick walls 10-15 years 
Render coatings on walls or chimneys Replace after 10-20 years 
Plastic gutters and pipes Replace between 15-20 years 
Flat roof coverings Repair after 10 years, replace after 20-30 years 
Roof tiles Repair after 20 years, replace after 40 years 
Lead roof coverings or flashings Repair after 30 years, replace after 50 years 
Slates Re-fix every 30 years, replace after 90 years 
Cast iron gutters and down pipes Replace after 35-90 years 
Sandstone walls and chimneys Expect some repair after 50 years 
Cast iron or steel railings Replace after 55-90 years 
External woodwork Replace after 55-90 years 

For more information contact the Housing Policy and Strategy Team: Tel: 0300 123 0900