Edinburgh Council to progress tenement flat buy back offer to allow for repairs

A new initiative which will see the City of Edinburgh Council buy tenement flats from owners and rent them back to ensure essential repairs are carried out are to be progressed.

Under the proposals, the local authority would offer to purchase the former council properties, with their owners’ consent, and rent the same home back to them as a Scottish Secure Tenancy.

Edinburgh Council to progress tenement flat buy back offer to allow for repairs

The move would allow residents to remain in their current home while improvement work takes place.

More than half of the council’s 19,000 homes are in mixed tenure blocks where the council shares responsibility for the repair and maintenance of common areas with home-owners and private landlords.

A report to the council’s housing and economy committee stated: “Progressing mixed tenure repairs can be particularly challenging due to the difficulties in achieving majority agreement on repairs or on the scope of improvement works to be progressed. Even with agreement, repairs can often be delayed or cannot be progressed due to issues around paying for the work.”

Housing and economy convener, Cllr Kate Campbell, told the Edinburgh Evening News: “The mixed tenure strategy is one of the biggest challenges for us, but also one of the most important things we have to get right.

“We have an obligation to our own tenants to make sure their homes are in the best possible condition, but we also want to help owners, especially those on low incomes, to be able to engage with us and work together to keep stairs across the city in the good condition.”

The move comes after a Scottish Parliament working group on tenement maintenance published its interim report which recommended regular inspection, ownership associations and sinking funds to improve and protect tenement buildings across Scotland.

The recommendations from the Working Group on Maintenance of Tenement Scheme Property will provide the basis of a solutions report, published in summer 2019.

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