The introduction of new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards in the Scottish Private Rented Sector (PRS) has been delayed until 1st October 2020.
The new regulations aiming to help landlords reduce energy bills and tackle the climate emergency, were originally set to be implemented on 1st April 2020. However, due to delays in finalising the legislation, the Scottish Government has now postponed the deadline, so that landlords can ensure their properties are compliant in time for the revised timetable.
New Minimum EPC standards
Under proposed new rules, private rented properties in Scotland will need to achieve at least:
- EPC rating of E at change of tenancy from 1st October 2020
- All rental properties must have an EPC rating of E by 31st March 2022
- EPC rating of D at change of tenancy from 1st April 2022
- All rental properties must have an EPC rating of D by 31st March 2025
There are some exemptions from meeting the relevant minimum EPC standards, to name but a few, where:
- Carrying out improvements is not technically feasible
- Tenants/third parties refuse consent for work or access
- Relevant improvements would affect the listing or conservation status of the property
- Cost of improvements to achieve EPC E exceeds £5000 for new lets from 1st April 2020 and for all PRS properties by 31st March 2022, and additional £5000 to achieve EPC D for new tenancies from 1st April 2022 and for all PRS properties by 31st March 2025
It is intended that landlords will only have to carry out EPC related improvements where the cost of purchasing and installing can be financed by a grant or loan from Scottish Ministers.
Failure to comply with the new minimum EPC requirements, or providing false/misleading information on exemptions, can result in landlord fines of up to £5000.
Welcoming the news, John Blackwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL), said: “Privately rented properties in Scotland are often held to much higher standards than other types of housing so it is important that any new measures are proportional and realistic.
“The change in the timetable for landlords to improve energy efficiency standards is a sensible one, and we are also very keen to see the correct level of support for landlords to achieve these challenging goals.
“It is only proper that tenants in Scotland have the reassurance of knowing that their properties are energy efficient, their bills are reduced and that their landlord is helping to tackle the climate emergency. We are pleased that the government is allowing more time to get this initiative right.”