In a significant development for the private rental sector (PRS) in Scotland, the Scottish government has revised its plans regarding the enforcement of energy efficiency measures. The initial proposal, which mandated PRS properties to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2025 at the change of tenancy, has been dropped. This change eases the pressure on private landlords who were facing tight deadlines to upgrade their properties.
The Scottish government has been contemplating the implementation of a minimum energy efficiency standard for over a decade, with several shifts in the timeline. Unlike England, Scotland currently does not impose a minimum EPC requirement for PRS properties.
Under the new draft bill, which includes the establishment of a Heat in Buildings Standard, private landlords in Scotland will now have until the end of 2028 to ensure their properties meet a C rating. Owner-occupiers are given a longer timeline, with the same standard required by the end of 2033. By 2045, all building owners in Scotland are expected to have ceased using polluting heating systems.
This extension contrasts with the situation in England, where landlords currently have no analogous target following a recent reversal by the UK government on EPC targets.
The Scottish government’s consultation document, “Delivering Net Zero for Scotland’s Buildings,” outlines the objective of providing tenants with warmer homes that are more affordable to heat, aligning with efforts to tackle fuel poverty. The document states, “We believe that establishing this standard in this way protects and is very much in the interests of tenants, while also enhancing the quality of the asset for the landlord.”
The decision acknowledges the significant role of privately rented homes in Scotland’s housing market and the broader challenges faced by this sector. This move is part of Scotland’s broader commitment to addressing climate change and improving energy efficiency across its building stock.
The government is inviting views which can be submitted online here by 8th March.