Scottish consultation on minimum energy efficiency for residential property


Minimum energy efficiency for residential property

 The Scottish Government intend to introduce minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented residential property to Scotland, similar to that due to be introduced in England and Wales through Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in England and Wales.

The Scottish Government is seeking views on the improvement of the energy efficiency private rented accommodation in Scotland. It is also considering improvements to the Repairing Standard to bring this in line with existing standards for social housing. To these aims, it has released the consultation document "Energy Efficiency and Condition Standards in Private Rented Housing". The vision behind this is a private rented sector that provides good quality efficient homes. While most private landlords are providing good quality accommodation with many carrying out improvements to the energy efficiency of their properties, there are still many tenants who live in some of the least energy efficient homes in Scotland. Faced with high energy bills, many of these tenants are at risk of fuel poverty.

Current status of Scottish housing

 Following improvements over recent years, around 36% of Scottish housing has an EPC band of at least C. Around 50% of social housing is rated in band E, though this applies to only a third of privately rented housing where 28% of these dwellings are rated in bands E, F, and G.

The proposal for new standards

The proposal is for the introduction of a standard that will result in improvements to the energy efficiency of these dwellings meaning that their tenants will be able to enjoy a much improved accommodation standard with warmer homes and less expensive energy bills while addressing concerns over climate change. Part 1 of the consultation concerns defining the future energy efficiency standard and its implementation, including how it improves over time. The question is should a minimum standards be introduced to guide landlords in what they should do to improve standards in addition to the existing EPC. The role of local authorities in policing these standards is also examined. Part 2 addresses the condition standard and seeks to itemise factors that would lead to the harmonisation of private rented and social accommodation. 

Least energy efficient properties first

 The aim is to tackle the worst properties first. The initial target will be to raise the efficiency of all privately rented homes to a minimum EPC rating of band E. This apples to around 30,000 properties. Once that has been achieved the aim is to increase the efficiency to band D, which will affect an additional 65,000 homes.


 Initially the new standards will apply when there is a change of tenancy starting in April 2019. Minimum standards will be required before the landlord is allowed to let the property. The work must be completed within six months of the assessment. All properties must be compliant with the new standards by 31 march 2025,


 Where the landlord fails to carry out the necessary work, fines of up to £1,500 may be imposed by the local authority. However, there is also a cost cap of £5,000 which will provide some comfort for landlords with homes that are costly to improve.

Consultation next step

The consultation will remain open until 30 June 2017 and can be submitted online. After the consultation, responses will be analysed and the response of the Scottish government to this will be published. The proposals will be implemented by the Scottish Parliament. It is also likely that further consultations will take place subsequently.

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