Revisions to the Repairing Standard Rules in Scotland

Updates to the Repairing Standard rules in Scotland bring forth a new directive regarding lead assessment in private rental properties.

Revisions to the Repairing Standard

Effective from March 1st, 2024, adjustments to the Repairing Standard mandate landlords to ensure that the water supply in their privately rented dwellings is devoid of lead. Consequently, landlords will now face additional obligations for testing.

Lead Assessment in Privately Leased Accommodations – Guidelines

The Scottish Association of Landlords offers the following advice on assessment:

  1. Scottish Water suggests that properties constructed before 1970 may potentially harbour lead pipework. In cases where landlords are uncertain about the presence of lead pipes or are aware of associated risks, tenants must be notified. Subsequently, water samples should be collected for laboratory analysis as the sole method for accurately determining the presence of lead in the water.
  2. According to guidance from the Scottish Government, water testing should encompass all outlets where water is consumed between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap. Typically, this would entail testing the kitchen tap. Other outlets such as baths, basins, and utility rooms would necessitate testing only if positioned between the boundary stopcock and the kitchen tap.
  3. Should the test reveal a lead content equal to or exceeding 10 micrograms per litre, it indicates the presence of lead in the plumbing. Immediate notification to tenants is mandatory. Short-term precautionary measures for tenants may include refraining from consuming water that has been stagnant in pipes for extended periods and flushing out a washing-up bowl of water before use for drinking or cooking.
  4. For properties linked to the public water supply, Scottish Water will conduct an investigation and replace any lead sections in its portion of the service pipe, free of charge.
  5. Landlords are accountable for identifying and replacing any lead pipes in segments of pipework not under the jurisdiction of Scottish Water. Subsequently, water should be re-tested to ensure the lead content falls below 10 micrograms per litre.

In certain instances, local authorities may provide modest financial assistance through their housing improvement assistance scheme to aid homeowners with pipe replacement expenses. However, funding is limited, and availability varies among authorities.

In buildings with shared ownership, portions of the water supply may be co-owned. Landlords are not obligated to undertake work on co-owned pipework if they cannot obtain the necessary rights or consent. Legislation mandates landlords to pursue reasonable measures to obtain rights or consent, but they are not deemed at fault if these cannot be secured.

What Comes Next?

For properties in our portfolio erected before 1970, Home Sales and Lettings will procure the requisite sample and arrange testing through an accredited laboratory. Anticipated costs are approximately £55 + VAT per property. Test results will be communicated to both the landlord and tenant.

Landlords who suspect the presence of potential lead water pipes on their property are encouraged to promptly contact us.

Should you have enquiries regarding this or any other legislation impacting the private rental sector, please reach out to us. Our team of property specialists is readily available to provide guidance. Visit us at 251 Portobello High Street, Edinburgh, EH15 2AW – Call 0131 258 2708 or email

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