History of Glasgow tenements


Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and of course, tenement buildings.


These historic structures shaped the city’s landscape, offering a glimpse into the past and providing homes to more than 70% of the population.  However, traditional tenements come with challenges and maintenance requirements.


Here, we’ll explore the history of Glasgow’s tenement buildings, the common issues they face, and the role of Taylor & Martin in modernising tenements to meet new net-zero targets.



A Glimpse into Glasgow’s tenement history


Glasgow’s love affair with tenement buildings began in the early 19th century as the city’s population rapidly expanded during the Industrial Revolution. The increasing demand for affordable housing led to the construction of multi-story, sandstone-clad dwellings, characterised by their distinctive architectural features such as communal entrances, shared gardens, and intricate stone facades.


Tenements soon became the backbone of Glasgow’s urban fabric, housing thousands of residents.


Glasgow and factoring go hand in hand


Indeed, the city of Glasgow is said to be the birthplace of the property factoring industry due to the declining standards of the Glasgow housing stock.


As the council was increasingly unable to assist with the upkeep of the city’s residential buildings, factors stepped in to ensure safe and livable housing standards were achievable for more Glaswegians than ever before.


These days, factors do so much more than ensure buildings are safe and squalor-free. We work to make life simple for our homeowners, by helping to manage regular upkeep and foresee regular maintenance, helping to preserve property value and make life simpler.


Unique and stunning buildings


Glasgow’s tenements come in a wide range of architectural styles, from the simple and functional to the ornate and decorative. Many feature intricate stone carvings, bay windows, and decorative ironwork and tiling.


The majority of Glasgow’s tenement buildings are constructed using sandstone. This choice of material not only gives the buildings their distinctive look but also helps them withstand the city’s often harsh weather conditions.


There are many other things that make a traditional tenement unique inside and out, and Taylor & Martin has many years of experience when it comes to maintaining these beautiful buildings.


We understand each property is unique – and there are no ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Instead, we take a bespoke approach to property management for our clients, which allows us to get the best deal for our homeowners.


Common Issues with Tenement Buildings


While these tenements have an undeniable charm, they come with unique challenges for those tasked with maintaining them. Common issues associated with tenement buildings include decay, regular maintenance and other age-related challenges which can make repairs more difficult and expensive.


The age of many tenements means that they often suffer from structural issues, such as subsidence, rot, and cracks in the walls. These problems can compromise the safety and stability of the buildings.


Tenement buildings also require regular maintenance to prevent deterioration. From roof repairs to masonry work, keeping these historic structures in good condition can be a demanding task. We take this challenge seriously, favouring a proactive approach to maintenance, with regular check-ins to ensure we telegraph issues and deal with them swiftly.


Glasgow’s Voluntary Common Repair Scheme


Homeowners have a responsibility to ensure their homes are properly maintained, although the cost of repairs can be hugely off-putting if you live in a large or old building.


Did you know you could be eligible for up to 50% grant assistance contribution from Glasgow City Council through their Voluntary Common Repair Scheme?


Taylor & Martin are here to help you and your co-proprietors maintain your property to the highest standard and in the most cost-effective way possible.


What are the challenges of modernising older properties?


Modernising older properties like Glasgow tenements to meet Scotland’s new net-zero targets is fraught with challenges. Structural limitations, the need to preserve historical significance, and navigating strict regulations all pose obstacles.


The costs of implementing specialised materials and construction techniques can be high, and balancing these expenses with long-term energy savings is crucial.


Engaging the community and addressing technical hurdles, such as retrofitting older buildings with modern energy-efficient technology, are also significant aspects that must be carefully managed to achieve successful modernization while preserving historical integrity.



What about communal repairs?


Tenement owners share common spaces and maintenance responsibilities which are likely laid out in the title deeds of a property. If the information isn’t clear or isn’t stated in the title deeds, you can refer to the Tenement Scotland Act. This includes the upkeep of communal areas, plumbing, and electrical systems, which can lead to disputes and delays if not managed properly.


Tenements typically have more common features than other types of flats, such as communal entrances, shared stairwells, and rear drying greens (courtyards for drying laundry).


Taylor & Martin are here to manage the time-consuming process of creating the scope of work, sourcing quotes, finding the best deal and managing resident communication.


We understand conservation


There are no shortcuts when it comes to managing a historic building. Unlike new buildings, steps must be taken to maintain the original character and materials while keeping costs under control – that’s where we come in.


Glasgow’s tenements are part of the city’s heritage, making them subject to strict preservation guidelines. Ensuring that repairs and renovations adhere to these regulations can be a complex and time-consuming process. We take the time to understand all current legislation and ensure our service is both compliant and efficient.


Taylor & Martin: The proactive solution


We’re a factoring company with significant expertise in managing and maintaining Glasgow’s tenement buildings. What sets Taylor & Martin apart is our proactive approach to preserving these historic structures. Our in-depth knowledge of these structures allows them to address issues effectively and efficiently.


Unexpected emergencies


Tenement buildings can face unexpected crises, such as burst pipes or roof leaks. Taylor & Martin offers a timely emergency response service, ensuring that problems are addressed promptly to minimise damage.


We only partner with skilled contractors to guarantee that repairs and renovations are carried out to the highest standards.


Glasgow’s tenement buildings are not just architectural relics; they are a vital part of the city’s identity.


We’re here to answer your questions and advise on how we can assist you in maintaining your property. Get in touch today.