LAUNCHING this week, SEEP – Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme – is a new, interest free equity loan scheme. It is financed by a £10 million fund from the Scottish Government that will enable home owners on low incomes to borrow up to £40,000 to make energy efficiency improvements and essential repairs to their properties.
SEEP can be used either as a single equity loan or with other existing Scottish Government grants to fund more expensive measures such as solid wall insulation or a package of energy efficiency works. Loans are repaid either when the property is sold or ownership is transferred.
The scheme is initially piloting in Glasgow, Argyll and Bute and Perthshire.
Under One Roof
This week also sees the launch of UnderOneRoof.scot, a new and informative website aimed at the half million plus private flat owners in Scotland in addition to property managers, architects and surveyors, community organisations and advice workers.
Written by housing consultant Annie Flint and conservation architect John Gilbert (co-authors of The Tenement Handbook, published in 1994) and produced by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) as part of the Scottish Government’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Under One Roof is designed to help owners understand their rights and responsibilities.
It is also designed to arm owners with the information they need to understand quotations from trades providers and ensure they always receive good value for money.
Tenements form over a quarter of the housing stock in Scotland and while most are traditional sandstone residential blocks – contrary to popular misconception – houses that have been divided into flats, modern high-rise blocks, four-in-a-block and office blocks also fall within the definition.
And all of these are covered by the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004.
Many traditional tenements are old and in urgent need of repair and only when things go wrong do owners realise the complexity of sharing a close and living under the same roof as others. But why wait until then?
Commenting on the launch of UnderOneRoof.scot, Annie Flint says: "Owners of all ages of building have problems with working out what needs done to maintain their property values – how to deal with neighbours, what their rights and responsibilities are or what’s going wrong with their building.
"But owners of older stone tenements can have the additional challenge of arcane title deeds and stone buildings that weren’t designed to cope with weather conditions brought about by climate change.
"Everyone in the property industry – whether it be the Scottish Government, local councils, housing associations, private factors or conservation specialists – recognises that the problems owners have in carrying out common repairs are leading to a backlog of these repairs that could cost billions to deal with right across Scotland.
"That’s why they have all swung behind us at RIAS to make all the vital information owners need freely available on line."