The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 that were due to come into force on 1 April 2020, which required all properties in Scotland’s private rented sector to have a minimum EPC rating of E at a start of tenancy from 1 October 2020 have now been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The proposed regulations would have improved minimum energy efficiency standards in private rented accomodation in Scotland, and prohibited the renting of properties that fell below the minimum standard.
The decision to postpone regulations was announced in a letter by Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Kevin Stewart on Thursday 26 March. The primary issues set out in the letter that would prevent successful roll out of the regulations by October 2020 included:
- The regulations place new duties and responsibilities on local authorities. Between 1 April and 1 October 2020, local authorities would be required to develop a system for registering exemptions and to be ready to support landlords and enforce compliance. If introduced at this time, these duties would place a burden on them which would be detrimental to their necessary focus on frontline emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis, and their delivery of vital services and support to vulnerable people.
- The regulations may require many private housing landlords to undertake energy efficiency works to their properties over the coming months, in anticipation of tenancy changes from 1 October 2020. This risks encouraging landlords to try and get work done in tenants’ homes when medical and government advice continues to mandate.
Speaking about the unprecedented circumstances that brought about the decision, the Minister stated that he would "...push forward with the vital work of improving energy efficiency in private rented housing as soon as the current COVID-19 situation comes to an end."
The ADE looks forward to continuing to work with partners in Scotland to improve domestic energy efficiency in the private rented sector, and ensure that these much needed regulations remain a focus for the Scottish Government.