A new Scottish government loan scheme to help social landlords meet improved housing safety standards is already making a difference, according to ministers.
Registered social landlords such as housing associations can apply for an interest free loan to help with the costs of meeting the new standards in their properties.
There have been 23 applications to the Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detector Loan Scheme since it launched in June, and ministers say the loans will bring more than 19,000 homes up to the new standard.
Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “We want to improve fire safety in homes across Scotland and we are clear that one death from residential fires is one too many. It is important social landlords take action to meet our improved safety standards. Our loan scheme means they can start this important work right now and spread the cost. Everyone deserves the same high level of protection whether they own or rent from a private or social landlord.”
Orkney Housing Association was the first to apply and work has already started on their 545 homes.
Anne Fletcher, director of finance & asset management at Orkney Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to be the first registered social landlord to receive this loan funding to upgrade our existing smoke alarm systems to meet the new standards in 545 homes to ensure the safety of our tenants in our properties. Work has now begun and we aim to have all our properties fully compliant with the new fire safety regulation by December 2020. By obtaining access to these funds it enables this vital work to be done whilst maintaining affordable rents.”
The Scottish government recently extended standards that currently apply to private rented property and new-builds, and the new safety standards will come into force on 1 February 2021.
It means smoke alarms fitted in the living room or lounge, as well as circulation spaces such as hallways and landings must be fitted in every home in Scotland.
The improved standards also mean kitchens must have a heat alarm and a carbon monoxide installed where there are appliances such as boilers.
The Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detection Loan Scheme for registered social landlords helps cover the cost of buying and installing smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms to meet new fire and smoke alarm standards.
Applications for the loan scheme are open until 30 November 2019.