Renfrewshire Council

Private homeowners responsibilities for common areas of your building

What common areas are, who is responsible for common area repairs, property that is jointly owned with the council, advice on repairs and maintenance for flat owners.

All homeowners are responsible for repairs and maintenance to their property. 

However, if you live in a flat, tenement or apartment block, you will also be responsible for helping to maintain and repair common areas of your building.

What common areas are

When you buy a flat you take on rights and responsibilities for the common structure of the whole building. 

These common parts are jointly owned with other owners in the building and may include:

  • foundations and outside walls
  • chimneys, stacks and vents
  • the close and staircase
  • bin stores and back courts
  • the roof
  • gutters, downpipes and drainage system
  • door entry system
  • common paths

Who is responsible for common area repairs

If common areas of your building need to be repaired, every owner must pay a share of any common charges for works and services.

Your title deeds normally tell you about your rights and responsibilities for your own property and for your shared responsibility for the whole building. They may also detail your proportional share of common costs and your obligations to manage and maintain the building jointly with the other owners. If all of the flats in a building do not have the same conditions set out in their deeds, you should get advice from a solicitor or refer to legislation under the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004.

You may decide that the easiest way to handle maintenance and repairs is to hire a property manager or factor to take care of it for you. However, you may decide to self-manage the building, meaning that you and your co-owners would carry out any management work directly.

Property that is jointly owned with the council

Because of the high level of right-to-buy sales in Renfrewshire, around 80% of the council's flatted housing is now in buildings which are jointly owned with private homeowners. Co-operation and participation from all owners is therefore essential in securing common repairs and improvements in these buildings.

The council will not carry out repairs or improvements without consulting other owners within the building first. However, the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 allows us to carry out common repairs if a majority of owners agree to the work. We will also intervene where emergency common repairs are required, particularly where a repair directly affects a council-owned property. Other more general repairs that are reported by owners or tenants in a block will be assessed and prioritised. Please note that some jobs may have to be deferred due to budget restrictions.

You can download our leaflet, Common Repairs and Property Management, which explains how the council can help where it jointly owns property in a building.

Regrettably, grants for common repairs works are generally no longer available from the council. However, owners may receive grant assistance as part of Council led major investment works carried out in mixed tenure block properties.

Advice on repairs and maintenance for flat owners

The Under One Roof website provides a range of very useful information for people living in or managing works to common properties. It contains:

  • articles on flat owners' legal responsibilities towards their co-owners
  • technical information to enable owners to identify repair problems
  • technical information to enable owners to understand quotations from builders
  • drawings and photographs to help owners identify the various parts that make up their building
  • sample letters for use when corresponding with their neighbours
  • advice on dealing with owners who refuse to participate in repairs

For more information on organising common repairs, contact Owner Services.