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A short guide to maintaining gutters

Why is it important to maintain gutters? 

Cleaning your gutters is a key way to maintain your property’s value as it can prevent damage caused by damp. Due to climate change, rainfall in Scotland has increased significantly over the last 70 years and gutters need to be maintained to cope with this change.  

If a gutter is blocked by plants, leaves, or bird guano, it can leak and cause damp problems within the walls of a tenement building. Untreated damp can cause decorative or structural damage to your building, so it is important to act quickly. 

What to look out for 

Keep a regular eye on the gutters of your building and look out for damp and stains underneath the gutter. These can be first signs of leaks and overflows. If you can see plants growing out of your gutter, even if they are small, this likely means the gutter is blocked and water is overflowing.

Depending on the type of gutter, also look out for fixings that have come away from the building, rust on gutters made of cast iron, and corrosion problems at the joints between gutter lengths. 

Gutter maintenance 

If you live in an area with lots of trees and birds, it is recommended to clean your gutters once a year, otherwise it’s good to do so every two years. There are various gutter types that require different care and attention. Find out more about how to maintain different types of gutters.  

Consider fitting a leaf guard if you live in an area with lots of trees.

If you live in an area with lots of trees, consider fitting a leaf guard over the outlet to the downpipe to help prevent blockages in the pipe, but make sure to keep the leaf guard itself clean. 

If you are replacing your gutters, increase their size so they can cope with more rain and add an undercloak to protect against rainstorms. An undercloak is a strip of material that is installed at the roof verge, where the edge of the roof meets the end wall of a building. 

When it comes to cleaning the gutters on a tenement building, one option is to use a vacuum gutter cleaning system. These systems use a high-powered industrial vacuum machine connected to a set of carbon fibre poles and sucks materials from the gutter. A camera can be attached to the pole end, so the operator can see what is happening. Check out this article for more information about vacuum gutter cleaning systems. You can either purchase a cleaning system yourself or search online for a vacuum gutter cleaning firm near you.  

Who pays? 

As always, check your title deeds before going ahead with gutter repairs to see if they state who is responsible for them. If your title deeds don’t say anything on the matter, you will need to follow the guidance in the Tenements Act.  

Gutter repairs are almost always considered common repairs, which means all owners in a tenement building are responsible for their maintenance. Replacing gutters so that they are better able to cope with climate change is an incidental improvement. Therefore, it is considered as maintenance and only requires a simple majority to go ahead. 

Further information 

For more technical information, check out this Historic Scotland Inform Guide on damp causes and solutions, and this Q&A from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings on rainwater disposal

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In March 2023, the Scottish Government announced a series of updates to the existing Repairing Standard that will be enforceable from 1st March 2024. As part of these updates, private landlords must

A short guide to maintaining gutters

Cleaning your gutters is a key way to maintain your property’s value as it can prevent damage caused by damp. Due to climate change, rainfall in Scotland has increased significantly over the last 70 years and gutters need to be maintained to cope with this change.

Response to Cladding Bill Consultation

The Scottish Government has published a consultation to their proposed Cladding Bill, which seeks to address a number of issues related owners manging the issue of cladding in certain buildings in Scotland.

What is retrofit?

Retrofit refers to the strategic improvement of existing buildings, so that they are better able to meet modern energy efficiency standards. It can involve installing a new low to zero-emissions heating system in a building or simply adding double glazing, with the common aim of decreasing energy consumption and reducing carbon emission outputs from homes. 

Repairing Standard update: lead in water testing

In March 2023, the Scottish Government announced a series of updates to the existing Repairing Standard that will be enforceable from 1st March 2024. As part of these updates, private landlords must

A short guide to maintaining gutters

Cleaning your gutters is a key way to maintain your property’s value as it can prevent damage caused by damp. Due to climate change, rainfall in Scotland has increased significantly over the last 70 years and gutters need to be maintained to cope with this change.

Help and information

If you live in any kind of building containing flats, you have rights and responsibilities, along with your co-owners, to maintain and manage your building.
But, every building is different, so get professional help for anything more than a simple problem. 

Working with your neighbours will make sure you always deal with problems fairly and help maintain harmony in your building.

Repairs are inevitable and need to be tackled quickly before more damage is caused.

Follow these steps to ensure the repairs process goes smoothly and all owners pay their share.

Not satisfied with your flat? Check out what you can and can’t do to your flat to alter and improve it before deciding to sell and move on.