Calls for greater energy efficiency regulations for Scotland

In an effort to battle fuel poverty as well as climate change, the Scottish Government has been urged to improve the benchmark for energy efficiency in private rental properties.

Recently, Scottish ministers discussed plans to set a minimum energy efficiency standard for the rental sector, meaning that all properties would need an Energy Performance Certificate of at least a D by 2025. Sighting figures that suggest 33 per cent of privately rented households suffered fuel poverty during 2015, Labour would see the requirements go a step further, with private rental properties needing to be brought up to an EPC rating of at least C by 2025. Housing spokeswoman Pauline McNeil 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.’

World Wildlife Fund Scotland has backed Labour’s calls for tougher standards. Sarah Beattie-Smith, senior climate and energy policy officer at WWF Scotland, 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.’

With increasing pressure from the government to improve energy efficiency and for them to lower greenhouse gas emissions nationally, it is only a matter of time before minimum EPC banding will come into force. For Landlords, improving the energy efficiency of your rental property can have other advantages; we have experienced some tenants moving out because a property was expensive to heat or cold in winter, meaning shorter tenancies and increased costs. Sometimes, investing in upgrading the heating system or insulation can yield long term benefits and improve retention of good, long term tenants. If you would like expert advice on your rental property, call a member of our Lettings Team TODAY.