Buy-to-let landlords north of the border have come under increasing pressure ahead of the incoming changes to the energy efficiency of residential properties due to a lack of guidance and leadership from the Scottish government, it has been claimed.
Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) has written an open letter to the Scottish government urging them to immediately publish the finalised regulations and guidance for the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, which are intended to assist landlords in making the required energy efficiency changes to their rental properties.
Marcelina Hamilton, policy adviser (Rural Business & Property) at SLE, said: “We are extremely concerned that this delay in guidance from the Scottish Government could lead to some of rural Scotland’s vital private rented homes being sold or becoming holiday homes.
“Our members are proud of the role they play in providing affordable housing in Scotland’s remote, rural communities. We all want tenants to live in warm, safe homes.
“Landlords are currently being left in limbo as they await the finalised regulations for energy efficiency. The longer we wait for the guidance to be published, the more difficult it will be for landlords to make the required changes on time. It is unreasonable to expect landlords to undertake significant energy improvement works before the regulations and guidance have even been published.”
Hamilton insists that landlords are keen to play their part, not only in providing safe, warm homes for their tenants, but also in contributing to Scotland’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and reduce our overall energy consumption. But in order to support landlords, the government must recognise that rural Scotland faces a number of unique challenges.
He added: “The age and build of the homes can make them far more difficult and far more expensive to alter. On top of this, access to the required skilled labour and the challenges of carrying out work in parts of remote, rural Scotland can mean landlords making the necessary changes will be a long, difficult process.
“We are therefore calling on the Scottish government to urgently publish the regulations and guidance for the changes to energy efficiency homes so that landlords, and the local authorities who will be overseeing the changes, can begin to take steps to make the required changes and adapt to the new regulations. Time is crucial here, and we are beginning to run out.”