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 15 Nov 2017

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. 

http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/11/6863

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, we intend to lay draft regulations to this end in Parliament in 2018.  The changes will include provisions for: the tolerable standard being included in the repairing standard; a minimum standard for safe kitchens; a fixed heating system; lead free pipes (and where it is not possible to establish if lead pipes are present - water quality testing); safe access and use of common facilities including secure common doors; residual current devices; risk assessment of private water supplies and annual water quality testing; capacity for a fridge/freezer and safety of heating systems using other fuels. We will also provide clarity on whether holiday lets (or certain types of holiday lets) are subject to the repairing standard. A lead in time of at least five years will be proposed for any changes to the repairing standard, along with the use of existing enforcement routes for the proposed new measures.

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, sound insulation and food storage space are being considered further. Changes to the repairing standard will not be explicitly linked to wider government milestones on climate change.

A decision has not yet been taken on extending the repairing standard to agricultural tenancies, rented crofts and small holdings. Further considerations will take place on this matter, and will be informed by findings from the Agricultural Housing Condition Surveys.

 

Published Responses

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

Overview

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 We Are Consulting

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.
 

Audiences

  • People of Scotland

Interests

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