New proposals to ensure all privately rented homes north of the border meet a minimum standard of energy efficiency have been published by the Scottish government.
The consultation seeks views on requiring all private rented sector properties to have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’ from 2019 – and increasing to EPC level ‘D’ from 2022.
Landlords would have six months from the point of assessment to improve their homes and those who fail to comply with the standard would be subject to a fine.
Around 28% of private rented sector properties have the lowest energy efficiency ratings of E, F and G – compared to 22% in the owner-occupied sector and 10% in the social housing sector.
The proposals would help improve the quality and standard of housing for private sector tenants and support measures to tackle fuel poverty, according to Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart.
He said: “Energy efficiency is a national priority and is key to tackling fuel poverty and meeting our ambitious climate change targets.
“Private renting makes up 14% of Scotland’s homes and is an increasingly important housing option for many people in Scotland at different points in their lives. It is only fair that tenants who rent privately have access to good quality and energy efficient homes.
“Minimum standards have a key role to play in driving improvement. While most private landlords are delivering homes to modern, highly energy efficient standards, we must recognise that there are also tenants living in some of the least energy efficient homes in Scotland. These people face higher energy bills and are at greater risk of being pushed into fuel poverty.
“This consultation sets out a series of proposals which aims to balance the need to make homes more energy efficient – whilst maintaining a successful private rented sector as a housing option for many thousands of households.
“We want this consultation to facilitate a discussion with landlords, tenants and other interested parties and we will listen carefully to views as the consultation progresses. We see this as the next step in the journey towards delivering our ambition to eradicating poor energy efficiency as a cause of fuel poverty.”
The consultation, which can be viewed here, has been welcomed by the Scottish Association of Landlords.
“We look forward to contributing to the conversation on how we can improve energy efficiency in the private rented sector and deal with the issue of hard to treat properties in some parts of Scotland,” said John Blackwood, chief executive of Scottish Association of Landlords.
The consultation closes on 30th June.