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New Private Water Regime To Provide Quality Assurance For Tenants

A hidden' population of off-mains water users, the majority of whom are in rural areas, are in line for better regulated supplies following the introduction of new rules.

The Water Intended for Human Consumption (Private Supplies) (Scotland) regulations 2017, partly replacing the existing Private Water Supplies (Scotland) regulations 2006, offer protection from the adverse health effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption.

The law, which came into force in October, is aimed at protecting the health of housing tenants by ensuring water meets appropriate quality standards. The main difference is that domestic rented premises need to be included in an annual testing regime.

Land agents and property managers at Galbraith are liaising with clients who have let properties served by private water supplies in order to provide the relevant local authority with the information they require to keep a register of the private water supply systems in their area.

While there are penalties for non-compliance, local authorities charged with enforcing the regulations are taking a consultative rather than a punitive approach, according to Rachel Myles, an Associate at the Galbraith Cupar office: 

Awareness of the rules is limited and to date, uptake to register private supplies with the relevant local authority has been slow, however the rules are important for landlords and tenants alike and we are working with them to ensure compliance.

For those with domestic rented premises in Scotland served by private water supplies, what do the 2017 regulations mean in practice?

  • The addresses of qualifying properties should be provided to the local authority so that properties can be added to the Private Water Supplies register before January 1, 2019, although there is a transitional period until January 2022 for the local authority to improve on the information held on the register;
  • Supplies will be tested by the local authority annually and a risk assessment carried out. Each initial assessment must be completed before 1 January 2022 and these must be updated at least every five years;
  • Undertake steps set out in a remediation Notice or Enforcement Notice should either be issued following a supply test. Should upgrade works be required to the supply, the relevant person may be eligible to apply for a private water supply improvement grant through the local authority;
  • There is a fee per supply per year, set by the local authority.

Galbraith land agents and property managers are liaising with local authorities to provide information for the relevant local authority register and can assist with arranging access for supply tests. If you have any queries in relation to the 2017 regulations or if we can assist with registering your private water supply, please contact your nearest Galbraith office.