The Scottish government is being urged to set a higher benchmark for the energy efficiency of private rented homes to help create warmer places to live, tackle fuel poverty, and fights climate change.
Scottish ministers recently consulted on plans to set a minimum standard of energy efficiency in private rented sector housing of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating D by 2025, but Labour wants all private properties to be brought up to an EPC rating of at least C by 2025.
The party highlighted figures showing that 33% of privately-renting households were in fuel poverty in 2015.
It is important to note that the consultation paper said the government was also seeking views on raising the standard further, and so there is every possibility that landlords north of the border may have to meet even tougher targets for the energy efficiency of their properties moving forward.
Housing spokeswoman Pauline McNeill MSP said: “Unfortunately for many in Scotland, and particularly for those in the private rented sector, a warm home is not a reality.
“There already exist strict standards over the energy efficiency of homes in the social housing sector, yet there is none whatsoever for privately rented homes. It's time to place higher obligations on private landlords to achieve this.
“The Scottish government’s plans to introduce minimum standards on EPC D simply don't go far enough.”
Calls for tougher standards have been backed by WWF Scotland.
Senior climate and energy policy officer Sarah Beattie-Smith said: “Improving the energy efficiency of Scotland's homes is a win-win.
“It creates healthier places to live, tackles fuel poverty, creates jobs and fights climate change.
“It makes no sense that some private renters are currently forced to waste precious cash and carbon heating the air outside their cold and leaky homes.
“That's why we want the Scottish Government to take action through the forthcoming Climate Change Bill, and by introducing regulations to protect private tenants.”