Minimum Energy Ratings for Scottish Rented Housing
An earlier blog highlighted the imminent introduction of minimum energy ratings for rented property in Scotland. Similar legislation is now in force in England and Wales and, unusually where rented housing is concerned, Scotland is following behind. What has been long awaited is some detail on exemptions and expenditure ceilings.
On 17 June 2019, the Scottish Government published draft regulations and associated draft guidance for The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019. This sets out those details and is of particular relevance to landlords of residential let property in Scotland. The Scottish Government is consulting on this, with responses required by 13 September 2019. The consultation asks for views on the proposed approach to exemptions, advice and support available, lead-in times and penalties.
Minimum energy efficiency standards
Minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented properties in Scotland will be phased in and will increase over time:
- from 1 April 2020, any new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band E
- by 31 March 2022, all properties will need to have an EPC of at least band E
- from 1 April 2022, any new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band D
- by 31 March 2025, all properties will need to have an EPC of at least band D
In addition, all properties will need to be at least EPC band C by 2030. The Scottish Government have consulted separately on a standard that from 1 April 2025, any new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band C. The Scottish Government have not yet published a response to this consultation.
The following key exemptions are provided for in the regulations and outline circumstances where a landlord is not required to meet the minimum energy efficiency standards:
- All relevant energy efficiency improvements have already been made;
- Energy saving measures will cause damage to the fabric or structure of the property;
- Access to carry out the work has been refused, or unreasonable conditions have been set by a tenant or a relevant third party;
- There are protected species in the property that cannot be disturbed
- Listing or conservation status precludes implementation of the energy-saving measaures.
- The landlord intends to demolish the property.
The cost of completing the energy-saving measures will exceed £5,000 to reach an EPC band E and an additional £5,000 to achieve a band D. This means that, provided expenditure on energy saving measures up those ceilings has been committed, the propertry may be let even alhought the required minimum rating has not been attained.
It’s in all our interests to achieve energy efficient housing. This brings advantages to occupiers whether home-owners or tenants by proving comfortable homes and reduced fuel costs, and advantages to wider society through carbon reduction. We at Simply Let support that broad aim but are strongly of the view that energy-saving measures should apply across all tenures, and that the capital costs involved should be supported by the public purse in recognition of the wider societal benefit. We also hope that landlords will act in the spirit of supporting and working towards that broad aim and will not seek to exploit exemptions inappropriately as an “escape route”