Below Tolerable Standard (BTS)

If your property is Below Tolerable Standard (BTS), your house is classed as being unfit for human habitation. You may be able to get additional help to bring the property up to standard. Your flat may also be subject to enforcement action, such as closing orders.

A flat may be termed Below Tolerable Standard if it fails certain standards. The parts of the standard that relate to common repairs are:

1. Structural stability

There should be no recent or fresh movement which might indicate a risk of either partial or total collapse. There should also be no rot or timber infestation that could have a similar impact on the building.

2. Is substantially free from rising or penetrating damp

The guidance is that any dampness should affect less than 10% of the overall wall space or ceiling area in any one room (not including the kitchen, store, utility, bathroom etc).

3. Has satisfactory access to all external doors and outbuildings

Access is defined as being suitable for the average person to be able to access external doors and outbuildings safely. ALL access routes should be:

  • unobstructed (this does not include moveable objects such as bicycles)
  • safe underfoot
  • with safe railings and banisters (no large gaps)
  • adequately lit
  • have no excessive wear on stairs

4. Has an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water

To be effective, the system must be able to cope with the volume of water to be disposed of. This does not apply to a temporary blockage or minor disrepair which might be defined as a 'nuisance'.

5. Has satisfactory thermal insulation

This is taken as meaning having some loft insulation.

6. Has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water available within the house

This can cover lead pipes if Scottish Water has added no chemicals to the water supply. There should be no problems with the roof tank.

7. The following criteria apply to the inside of flats:

  • has satisfactory provision for natural and artificial lighting, for ventilation, and for heating
  • has a sink provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water within the house
  • has a water closet or waterless closet available for the exclusive use of the occupants of the house and suitably located within the house
  • has a fixed bath or shower and a wash-hand basin, each provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water and suitably located within the house
  • in the case of a house having a supply of electricity, complies with the relevant requirements in relation to the electrical installations for the purposes of that supply
  • has satisfactory facilities for the cooking of food within the house

Further guidance

Scottish Government Tolerable Standard