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Using the tenement management scheme

If you own your home and your title deeds are unclear, use the tenement management scheme to make decisions with your neighbours about communal areas.

What the tenement management scheme is

This is legislation that tells you:

  • what areas and parts everyone must maintain

  • how to come to an agreement

  • how costs should be shared

You do not have to live in a tenement. You can use the scheme when the following all apply:

  • you live in a building of two or more flats

  • there are flats on different floors

  • the flats are individually owned or meant to be individually owned

Read the tenement management scheme on

Before using the tenement management scheme

Check your title deeds. These are legal documents that say:

  • what parts of the building you own

  • what communal areas you're responsible for

  • who else is responsible for repairs and maintenance

If there’s a mortgage on your home, your lender will have your title deeds. Ask them for a copy if you need it. You can also check title deeds on the Land Register for a small fee.

If your title deeds are unclear, or if there's conflicting information, use the tenement management scheme.

If you bought your home through Right to Buy

The council or housing association may be responsible for communal areas. They can also be the property factor.

It should say who's responsible in your title deeds. If not, ask the council or your housing association.

How to make decisions using the tenement management scheme

Step 1: set up a neighbour meeting

Give everyone at least 48 hours' notice of the meeting.

Discuss what repairs are needed and arrange a vote.

If you cannot set up a meeting, you can vote by email.

Step 2: vote

Decisions are made through majority voting. A proposal must get over 50 percent of the votes to win. Each flat has one vote.

If the repair issue is in a common area only accessed by some flats, such as stairs, lifts or landings, only those flats can vote.

If the decision is about common parts, such as the roof or external walls, every flat can vote.

If any flat does not vote, you cannot start the work for 28 days. This is so they can appeal the decision.

Step 3: arrange the repair work

Once a decision is made, you can agree:

  • which flat will arrange the repair work

  • who will do the work

  • how payment will be arranged

If you need to do emergency repairs

In certain circumstances, you can do repairs without a vote or the agreement of your neighbours.

This is when emergency repairs are needed:

  • to protect the building's structure

  • for health and safety reasons, like burst pipes or a gas leak

Once the work is done, work out who else should pay for the repairs and tell them what they owe.

If you disagree with a decision

Speak to your neighbours and explain why. You might be able to come to an agreement.

If you have to pay more than 75 percent of repair costs and the decision was made without you, you can cancel the work. Write to all other owners within 21 days and tell them you do not want the work to go ahead.

A solicitor can write to your neighbours on your behalf or help you challenge a decision in court.

You usually have to apply to court within 28 days from the date the decision was made.

Find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland website

Last updated: 29 June 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England