You and your neighbours

Our neighbours are responsible for…

  • Maintaining any part of the property – including the common parts- that provide support and shelter.
  • Paying their share of any common maintenance where proper procedures have been followed.
  • Paying their share of repair costs, even if they sell their house, as long as the decision has been made.
  • Making good any damage to neighbours’ flats where access has been required to allow repairs.
  • Carrying building insurance to full re-instatement value.

You have the right to…

  • Arrange essential repairs and recover the costs from other owners.
  • Refuse to pay for non-essential repairs you have not been informed of.
  • Appeal repair decisions you did not agree to at the Sheriff Court within 28 days of being informed of decisions.
  • Get access to a neighbour’s house to carry out essential repairs.
  • Ask other owners for proof of insurance.

Owners decide, normally by majority vote:

  • what needs to be done
  • to organise surveys
  • to appoint contractors to carry out work
  • to appoint property managers
  • to arrange common insurance
  • to run a maintenance account.

Owners association

  • If you form an owners’ association to work together with other owners you will:
  • Help manage the tenement better to the increased satisfaction of you all.
  • Help reduce misunderstandings between neighbours.
  • Find it easier to get common repairs done.
  • Find it easier to persuade other owners to save for repairs using a maintenance account.
  • If you hope to get a grant from the Council for common tenement repairs, you will need to have an owners association in place.

How to start an owners’ association

  • Work with two or three willing neighbours to pick a date for a meeting.
  • Invite all your neighbours – give plenty of notice.
  • Agree your priorities for action.
  • Ask the Council for their guidance on owners associations and adapt the model rules to suit your own needs.
  • Spread the tasks around so you don’t get overly dependent on one person.

You don’t need all the owners to agree to get going.


A common interest in maintaining the property binds together owners in different personal and financial situations.

Private landlords

  • Benefit as much as other owners from a property in good repair.
  • Can have rents arrested if they default on common repairs.
  • Can be located through the Council’s Register of Landlords.
  • If a common repair problem is affecting tenants, then the Private Rented Housing Panel may be able to act

Commercial owners

Title Deeds often say that commercial owners must pay a higher share of repair costs. Sometime, to get repairs going, you can agree on a repair-by-repair basis to share costs more equally. But if one owner sells, you can’t force the new owner to abide by this agreement. 

Joint owners

If a flat is owned by more than one owner, any one of the owners can be made to pay for repairs. That owner in turn will need to get other joint owners to reimburse them.

Untraceable owners

The Registers of Scotland can help you find copy deeds for properties which will tell you who the last
registered (and therefore legally responsible) owner is. A fee applies of £16 (possibly more if special services are required).

The Registers of Scotland 0845 607 0164

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