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Glasgow City Council

Housing Failing the Tolerable Standard

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  • Phone 0141 287 8590

What is it?

There are a number of specific powers which local authorities can exercise to remedy a specific problem in tenement properties arising from different Acts of Parliament. Read the guide on what constitutes a failure of the Tolerable Standard and learn about to the specific interventions which local authorities can impose on owners and the relevant links to the legislation and associated guidance.

Who is it for?

This advice is for all owner occupiers and owner landlords of tenement buildings.

Current statutory powers and interventions in private housing

Tolerable Standard Failure and specific related powers under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

Guidance for local authorities was last issued in 2009

Any  house will fail the tolerable standard if it:

  • is not structurally stable;
  • is not substantially free from rising or penetrating damp;
  • does not have satisfactory provision for natural and artificial lighting, for ventilation and for heating;
  • does not have satisfactory thermal insulation;
  • does not have an adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the house;
  • does not have  a sink provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water within the house;
  • does not have a water closet or waterless closet available for the exclusive use of the occupants of the house and suitably located within the house;
  • does not have 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;
  • does not have an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water;
  • does not have satisfactory facilities for the cooking of food within the house; and
  • does not have satisfactory access to all external doors and outbuildings.
  • in the case of a house having a supply of electricity, it must comply 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

Sanctions available to local authorities

Sanctions are available to local authorities in respect of any property found to be below the tolerable standard (BTS) include closing and demolishing  some or all of the properties, or requiring the owners to bring the property back up to the Tolerable Standard.

There are a range of powers specific to particular failures or decisions following investigation.

The table below provides direct links to the legal clauses which permit local authority enforcement in respect of BTS failure:



Act of Parliament web links

Property unlawfully occupied and due
for demolition.

Closing Order in preparation for demolition issued.

Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 Section 114.

Property in a condition such that repair is not an
option (e.g. there is significant subsidence).

Demolition Notice and a Demolition Order to effect
the clearance of the property and land upon which
it sits issued.

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 Section 33 (Demolition Notice).

Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 Section 115 (Demolition Order).

Dangerous Building (e.g. due to structural damage,
serious fire or flood, subsidence).

Notice issued and advice given to owners that work
may be carried out to secure the building and prevent
entry on the grounds of public safety.

Building (Scotland) Act 2003 Sections 29 and 30.

Urgent repair works required.

Works Notice.

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 Section 30.

Obligations of owners following the failure to
respond to a Works Notice or breach of
the Repairing Standard
Maintenance Orders and Maintenance Plans

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 Sections 43 and 44


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