What involvement does Environmental Health have in housing?

Environmental Health carries out checks to ensure that members of the public have a minimum standard for living accommodation. This is particularly relevant for private renting. Houses have to be of a minimum standard and we use the following checklist to determine if accommodation falls Below Tolerable Standard (BTS).

For accommodation to be deemed suitable it must not fail any of the following requirements:

A house meets the tolerable standard if it:

  • is structurally stable;
  • is substantially free from rising or penetrating damp;
  • has satisfactory provision for natural and artificial lighting, for ventilation and for heating;
  • has satisfactory thermal insulation;
  • has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the house;
  • has a sink provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water within the house;
  • has a water closet or waterless closet available for the exclusive use of the occupants of the house and suitably located within the house;
  • has a fixed bath or shower and a wash-hand basin, each provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water and suitably located within the house;
  • has an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water;
  • 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 installation” 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
  • has satisfactory facilities for the cooking of food within the house; and
  • has satisfactory access to all external doors and outbuildings.

Environmental Health Officers also have a number of reporting responsibilities, including recommending Closing and Demolition Orders on sub-standard properties; and providing information for enquiries relating to property sales.

Repairing Standard

From 3rd September 2007 onwards, landlords in the private rented sector have a duty to ensure that a rented house meets a basic standard of repair called the “repairing standard”. If a rented house does not meet that standard, and the landlord refuses to carry out the necessary repairs, the tenant can apply to the Private Rented Housing Panel for a decision by a Private Rented Housing Committee on whether the landlord has failed to comply with that duty. The Committee can then order the landlord to carry out the necessary repairs. Various penalties apply if the landlord then does not do so.

What is the Repairing Standard?

The standard is fairly basic. A house meets the repairing standard if:
a) it is wind and watertight and in all other respects reasonably fit for human habitation,
b) the structure and exterior of the house (including drains, gutters and external pipes)
are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order,
c) the installations in the house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation, space heating and heating water are in a reasonable state of repair and in
proper working order,
d) any fixtures, fittings and appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order,
e) any furnishings provided by the landlord under the tenancy are capable of being used safely for the purpose for which they are designed, and
f) the house has satisfactory provision for detecting fires and for giving warning in the event of fire or suspected fire.

What must you do before applying to the Private Rented Housing Panel?

The tenant must notify the landlord that work requires to be done to comply with the duty to meet the repairing standard before he or she can make an application to the Private Rented Housing Panel. The tenant must also give you a reasonable period of time to carry out the work required. How much time is “reasonable” will depend on the nature of the work needing done, and all the circumstances of the case. For example, if the bedroom ceiling is leaking you would be expected to sort this very quickly, whereas an external drain which chokes from time to time would be a less urgent repair.

The Private Rented Housing Panel can be contacted at:

3rd Floor
140 West Campbell Street
G2 4TZ
Tel. 0141 572 1170
Fax 0141 572 1171

Website: www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/


The house I'm living in is in poor condition. What do I do?

Contact Environmental Health Division as an Officer will investigate and take the matter up with the owner. Such concerns might include penetrating dampness or condensation or simply the general standard of accommodation. If the conditions relate to the repairing standard then the above procedures can also be followed.

Caravans and caravan sites

To run a caravan and camping site you need a licence from South Ayrshire Council. Conditions may be attached to a licence and the applicant must be entitled to use the land as a caravan site.

Environmental Health keeps a list of all licensed caravan and camping sites.