Under One Roof: informing Scotland’s tenement owners on maintenance and retrofit

In this BEFS blog, Anny Bush, Communications and Engagement Officer for Under One Roof shares more about their charitable work with tenement owners at their recent events.

Under One Roof is Scotland’s only charity committed to providing free and impartial information on repairs, maintenance, and retrofit for tenement flat owner-occupiers, landlords, and housing professionals in Scotland.

Recently, the Under One Roof team have been on the road delivering free events for tenement owners in collaboration with local authorities across Scotland.

“Thanks for a really useful event, I definitely learned things from it, it was well-run and engaging.”

In Scotland, there are around 895,000 properties legally defined as tenements. A tenement is any building or property that has been divided horizontally. Around a third of tenement flats were built prior to 1919, another third between 1919-1982, and the final third after 1982. Many tenement flats are in a state of critical disrepair, particularly those built before 1919.

Our work exists to change this and transform the repair culture from one that is reactive to proactive. We strive to make maintaining and managing tenement flats easier for owners by providing them with the knowledge and information needed to care for their building and work with their co-owners effectively.

The Under One Roof website hosts a wealth of information, with over 200 articles that cover a wide range of topics related to tenement maintenance and management, such as how to organise common repairs and share repair costs with your co-owners. Additionally, there are technical articles which include useful diagrams and information on tenement architectural features and how best to care for them.

Our website also has an enquiry service which enables owner-occupiers, landlords, housing professionals, or local authority staff to receive tailored answers to specific queries. Alongside the website and enquiry service, we provide free, informative online or in-person events for tenement owners, as well as bespoke training packages for local authority staff and factoring companies.

Our recent in-person events with various local authorities aim to inform tenement owners of their responsibilities and the key things to look out for when owning a flat. Presentations cover a variety of topics, such as organising common repairs, the importance of title deeds and building insurance, retrofit, and the challenges of making tenements energy efficient. Additionally, we discuss the steps being taken to address these challenges and upcoming legislative changes affecting tenement owners. After the presentations, there is the opportunity for attendees to receive specific information to their tenement-related questions during a Q&A and breakout session.

“Very useful, well-presented and balanced presentations. Highly recommended.”

So far, we have held events in six local authorities: East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, West Lothian, Perth & Kinross, North Lanarkshire, and North Ayrshire. There have been as many as 60 owner-occupiers, landlords, and housing professionals in attendance at these events, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with attendees noting that the presentations are engaging and informative.

The events have varied in structure with some involving presentations from Under One Roof’s tenement experts only, whilst others have included other presenters. For example, the event in Edinburgh involved speakers from the City of Edinburgh Council Shared Repairs team, the Novoville app, Trusted Traders, Home Energy Scotland, and the Local Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategy team. These speakers provided additional information to tenement owners on how to go about maintaining and managing their property and energy efficiency and retrofit.

“Jacqueline was an excellent presenter, and the information was very useful presented in an accessible, informative manner. A thoroughly professional event in a great central location.”

We have several events with local authorities lined up in the coming months , including Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, as well as additional training events for local authority staff scheduled. Check out our Eventbrite page for upcoming events and subscribe to our newsletter via our website to receive updates of events and other tenement-related news and information.

Our events can be tailored to the needs of each local authority, depending on the issues they face. If you would like to work with us to organise an online or in-person session focused on tenement management, maintenance and/or retrofit, free of charge, get into touch with Under One Roof’s Education and Training Officer at jacqueline@underoneroof.scot.