How to tell if a building is unsafe to live in

Tenement law in Scotland is being challenged by a group of local residents and a landlord after a building collapse in Glasgow’s Glasgow Tenement House. 

It has been a week since the collapse of a five-storey building at the site, which houses a number of private homes and the Glasgow City Centre. 

The group of residents have called for a re-evaluation of the city’s building codes and to review the legal definition of ‘safe’. 

In an open letter to Glasgow City Council, the group said they were “deeply disappointed” at the collapse and that they were working on ways to protect the lives of the residents. 

They also want Glasgow City Hall to be required to enforce the code and make sure that those who have breached the code face a fine. 

Glasgow City Council declined to comment. 

Tenement law expert Neil Clarke told BBC Scotland that it was possible that the collapse was caused by structural problems, but said there was no evidence that the structure was unsafe. 

“It was not just an accident, there was an imminent danger that the building was going to collapse.”

In many ways the Glasgow Tenements code is an attempt to stop the sort of buildings that are currently causing the biggest problems, where people are living in dangerous conditions, that are not safe.

“He said that the local authority needed to “work together” with the owners of the building to “make sure the building is built in a safe manner”.

The Glasgow Tenancies Association said that they “condemn any irresponsible behaviour” and that the group had no “official position on the code”. 

They said that there was “no evidence” that the safety of the structures had been compromised. 

Mr Clarke said: “We are looking into all of the evidence that we have.

We are doing the best we can.” 

In April this year, a Glasgow Tenants Association meeting saw a proposal for the creation of a ‘Tenancy Safety Advisory Committee’ to review safety standards for private housing in the city. 

In October last year, the Glasgow Corporation issued a warning that the city was facing a “dangerous situation” because of “an increase in unauthorised short-term rental activity”. 

A spokesman for the council said: “We have taken the safety advice from the Glasgow Property Owners Association which is in line with the Glasgow Housing and Construction Association.”

However, we are aware that some of the comments in the Glasgow report have not been backed up by evidence.” 

 Read more: In a bid to protect people from “dangerously unstable buildings”, the Glasgow Group of Tenants are appealing for the Glasgow Council to “consider more stringent building codes” (www.glasgowtenants.org.uk) (Reporting by David Beattie; editing by John Larkin)