Until recently, if you lived in a tenement flat in Edinburgh (built before 1980) all common stair lighting repairs and maintenance was the responsibility of Edinburgh Council. Unfortunately this free service came to an end on 1st July 2016 for blocks of flats where every flat in the block is privately owned.
Since this date, all repairs and maintenance of tenement communal stair lighting has become the joint responsibility of every landlord and owner in the block. In addition, due to the health and safety risks and hazards associated with poorly or unlit stairways these property owners now have a legal duty of care to ensure that all common stair lighting is in good working order at all times.
To comply with this legal responsibility, arrangements must be put in place to deal with common issues such as:
- Speedy replacement of faulty or broken lights
- Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) every 5 years to comply with legislation
- Replacement of old light fittings when required
- Minor wiring repairs
- Maintenance of stair lighting timers
- Replacement and maintenance of emergency lighting
Coordinating communal repairs, especially urgent ones, can be difficult when agreement is needed from all property owners in a block. The two most common ways of managing this responsibility is by:
- Employing a Factor (Property Manager)
A factor is traditionally responsible for managing all communal building repairs and maintenance. They organise any repair work that needs doing, including obtaining quotations and hiring contractors. However, historically factors have not been a popular choice for Edinburgh tenement owners. All owners have to agree to contribute monthly management fees and these have often been seen as overly expensive with excessive charges for reminder letters and late payment of fees etc.
- Employing a local Electrical Contractor
Property owners in the block set up a self factoring agreement between themselves. They jointly decide on a local accredited electrical contractor who is to be used for all communal lighting repairs and maintenance. Payment for any work carried out is then split between the owners in the tenement. Alternatively an annual agreement is set up with the contractor and all the property owners pay a set monthly fee.
Whichever method is chosen it is essential that the good maintenance of stairwell lighting is taken seriously by tenement property owners. If they choose to ignore repairs and someone is then injured from falling in a stairwell because it is badly lit, they could find themselves embroiled in a highly stressful legal row.
If you are looking for an accredited electrician in Edinburgh, please get in touch to discuss how we can help.
By Steven Wright, Capital City Electrical