A charity is warning that landlords may not government help in reaching new EPC targets.
Citizens Advice Scotland says the private rental sector accounts for 14 per cent of the country’s housing stock and currently the sector’s levels of energy efficiency are below average standards.
The charity claims this not only means high energy emissions but high fuel bills for their tenants. It also results in some having to live in cold, damp, houses, which contributes to poor health and wellbeing.
CAS says landlords need to “properly incentivised and helped to make these improvements.”
A CAS statement continues by saying cost is the key factor.
“This is a particular sticking point for the private rented sector as those who need to make the investment – AKA the landlords – aren’t the ones benefitting from warmer homes and reduced energy bills.
“Landlords feel they need to be properly supported to make these investments, with better communication from government along with some form of financial assistance.”
CAS says it accepts this but warns that the cost of this support can’t come at the expense of the tenant.
“They are the consumer, and we want a just transition, so the cost of retrofit shouldn’t be recouped through increased rent and can’t inconvenience tenants already living in the property” says CAS.
Following a survey of landlords in recent months, the charity states: “They believe EPCs are flawed in their methodology, as using different assessors can often result in widely different ratings being given out. We feel they may well have a case here.
“But on the plus side, the Scottish Government has recently announced a consultation to reform EPCs, so there is a clear opportunity to resolve these problems and make the system more user-friendly.”
CAS concludes: “Another positive point from our research is that the inclination to make change is definitely there, both among the general public and landlords. And that’s not nothing. It shows that the long battle for public opinion on climate change is being won.
“But now landlords need to be supported to channel this into meaningful action. To delay will come at a higher cost down the line, not only to landlords’ finances – and those of their tenants – but to our warming planet overall.”
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