Energy efficiency and condition standards in private rented housing: A Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme Consultation

Closed 30 Jun 2017

Opened 7 Apr 2017

Feedback updated 13 Dec 2018

We asked

Part one

For your views on proposals to improve the energy efficiency of the least efficient privately rented properties in Scotland, to ensure that tenants have access to homes that are warmer and cheaper to heat.

Part two

For your views on proposals to make changes to the Repairing Standard (the minimum standard for private rented housing), and whether it should be extended to apply to other kinds of lets. We also asked for views on timing, costs and existing enforcement routes.

You said

We received 198 responses to both parts of the consultation.

The responses to Part 1 noted the need for a lead in time, appropriate support and assistance, appropriate assessment mechanisms and robust enforcement for minimum energy efficiency standards.

The responses to Part 2 supported many of the proposed changes, were opposed to others and expressed mixed views on some. Responses recognised the cost implications, and emphasised the need for a reasonable lead-in time. They also felt the current enforcement routes via the housing tribunal would be appropriate.

We did

Part one

We published an analysis of the responses on 14 November 2017.

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing standards in the private rented sector to improve the energy efficiency of the least efficient properties. We  will continue to refine the proposals taking account of the consultation responses. We will confirm the standards, including an appropriate lead in time, as part of the routemap for Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme, which will be announced in 2018.

Part two

We are committed to ensuring that every private tenant is able to live in a safe and good quality home.  Informed by your consultation responses, regulations to amend the repairing standard were laid in the Scottish Parliament on 12 December 2018. 

The new regulations mean that all houses in the private rented sector must meet the statutory tolerable standard. Amendments also clarify that tenancies of less than 31 days for the purpose of a holiday will not be subject to the repairing standard and that a house in a flat in a tenement does not fail the repairing standard if work cannot be undertaken due to the majority of owners refusing consent. These changes will come into force in March 2019.

Other changes include provisions as follows: a minimum standard for safe kitchens; a fixed heating system; safe access and use of common facilities including secure common doors; residual current devices; all fuel types supplying the property to be in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order; and a requirement that landlords have regard to Scottish Government guidance on the condition of pipes supplying water. To allow landlords time to carry out works necessary to meet these new provisions, they will not come into force until March 2024.

Regulations will also repeal the exclusion of tenancies on agricultural land meaning that houses in this sector will be required to meet the Repairing Standard. This provision will come into force in March 2027.

Regulations will also remove existing elements of the repairing standard relating to fire and smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. This change will be aligned with forthcoming changes to the Tolerable Standard which all privately let houses will be required to meet from March 2019.

At this time, we do not intend taking forward proposals for thermostatic mixing valves. Other proposals around asbestos surveys, the provision of cookers, fridges and freezers and sound insulation are being considered further.




Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Scottish Government has designated energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority, the cornerstone of which will be Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP). This 15 to 20 year programme will improve the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings, supporting our efforts to reduce climate change emissions and tackle fuel poverty. 

Minimum energy efficiency standards play a key role.  We have already introduced the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing for social tenants and we are taking action in the non-domestic sector.

This consultation asks for views on proposals to improve the energy efficiency and condition standards in privately rented housing in Scotland.

We will consult separately from winter 2017/18 on proposals to increase the energy efficiency of owner occupier housing, including seeking views on the use of minimum standards and incentives. We will also consult separately on condition issues affecting housing generally.

Why your views matter

We know that homes in the private rented sector are the least energy efficient of all housing tenures. Introducing a new energy efficiency standard for the private rented sector will benefit tenants living in the coldest homes.

Some kinds of disrepair can reduce the value of energy efficiency improvements so we are also looking at extending the repairing standard to improve the physical condition of privately rented houses.

Part 1 of this consultation takes forward the Programme for Government commitment to consult on a minimum standard for energy efficiency for the private rented sector. 

Part 2 of this consultation takes forward the Manifesto commitment to consults on a national standard for private rented homes to ensure a good basic standard of accommodation.

This consultation will run alongside the current energy strategy and SEEP consultations.

We will use the responses to develop the policy further, ahead of a separate consultation on the form of the draft regulations that would be needed to introduce these standards, alongside supporting guidance.

View the consultation paper.


  • Building and Planning
  • Energy
  • Environment and Climate Change
  • Public Sector
  • Housing and Regeneration