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Support for private landlords

There is plenty of help available to private sector landlords looking to improve the energy efficiency of their rental properties. Read on to find out more, or call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 for free, impartial advice, funded by the Scottish Government.

If you are a registered social landlord please visit our page on how we can support social housing providers.

Benefit from making your property more energy efficient 

Making your rented properties more efficient could add value, make your properties more attractive to new tenants, lead to lower turnover of tenancies and reduce potential problems like damp. Improving your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating can help you meet minimum energy efficiency standards which are coming into force in April 2020. Plus, your tenants could benefit from lower energy bills, making them warmer at home and reducing the risk of fuel poverty.

Free advice and property assessments 

Whether you’re looking for a full assessment of your properties, need someone to chat through your EPC or would like advice on funding, Home Energy Scotland can help. This free, impartial advice service is funded by the Scottish Government, with specially trained advisors covering the whole of Scotland.

A private landlord specialist could visit your rental property and assess what energy efficiency improvements you could make. You’ll get a tailored report which outlines:

  • The recommended measures
  • The approximate cost of making improvements 
  • Information about funding to help cover the cost
  • Potential financial and carbon savings. 

The specialist will talk you through the report and help you decide what’s right for you. You can also get advice over the phone at a time that suits you – just call 0808 808 2282.

Financial support for landlords 

Whether you’re looking to spread the cost of energy efficiency improvements with an interest-free loan, or looking to secure payments for energy generated by a renewables system, Home Energy Scotland can help you work out what funding option is right for you. Have a read about the different options, and call 0808 808 2282 to find out more.

Home Energy Scotland Loan

The interest-free Home Energy Scotland Loan is funded by the Scottish Government and available to eligible registered private sector landlords. This can be used for energy efficiency improvements like insulation, glazing and boilers. The loan can also be used for home renewables systems, energy storage systems and connections to local gas grids or an approved district heating scheme powered at least partly by renewables.

Landlords who operate as ‘natural persons’ can apply for funding for up to three properties. Cashback grants are also available for a limited time for energy efficiency improvements. 

HEEPS Equity Loan

The HEEPS Equity Loan is a Scottish Government pilot project which provides equity loan funding for energy efficiency improvements and repairs to the fabric of the building. The loan is available to homeowners and landlords with no more than two properties in Perth and Kinross, Stirling, Dundee, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Argyll and Bute or the Western Isles. 

Resource Efficient Scotland SME Loan

Funded by the Scottish Government, the Resource Efficient Scotland SME Loan allows private sector landlords to borrow between £1,000 and £100,000 interest-free, to make energy efficiency improvements.

Incentives for renewable technology

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Landlords who install or have already installed an eligible renewable heating system could receive quarterly payments over seven years to help cover the costs through the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive.

Incentives for electricity generation

Following the closure of the Feed-in Tariff to new applicants in March 2019, the UK Government recognised the need to pay small-scale renewable energy generators for the electricity they export to the grid. The Smart Export Guarantee will do this, and comes into force from 1 January 2020. Landlords who install or have already installed a renewable energy generating system, like solar PV panels, could benefit from this incentive.

Meet minimum energy efficiency standards with our help

The Scottish Government is committed to improving the energy efficiency of homes in the private rented sector and on 2 May 2018 announced minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented homes.

 

The standards form part of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme which aims to make sure homes and buildings are warmer, greener and more efficient. You can read more about the programme in the Energy Efficient Scotland routemap.

Minimum energy efficiency standards

It is proposed that the minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented properties in Scotland will be phased in and increase over time. Your properties will need to meet these minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings:

  • If you’re starting a new tenancy the property will need to have an EPC of at least band E by 1 April 2020, and band D by 1 April 2022. 
  • All rented properties need to have an EPC of at least band E by 31 March 2022, band D by 31 March 2025, and band C by 2030. 

The Scottish Government has consulted on a standard that would require an EPC of at least band C if you’re starting a new tenancy from 1 April 2025. A response has not yet been published.

This page gives information about the draft regulations’ requirements for private rented properties to meet EPC bands E and D. Regulations for meeting EPC band C will be confirmed at a future date.

Guidance from the draft regulations 

On 17 June 2019 the Scottish Government published The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, detailing the draft regulations and associated guidance. The guidance is aimed at private landlords, local authorities and other stakeholders, and the Scottish Government is consulting on this. Responses are required by 13 September 2019 and the consultation asks for views on the proposed approach to exemptions, advice and support available, lead-in times and penalties. The regulations are expected to be laid in Parliament after the summer recess.

Energy efficiency recommendations

The draft regulations use EPCs to measure minimum energy efficiency standards. Recommendations will be based on an EPC recommendation report which landlords can use to find out what work they can do to improve their property’s energy efficiency to help meet minimum standards.

Details of proposed exemptions

There are some key exemptions proposed in the draft regulations, which outline specific circumstances when a private landlord would not need to meet minimum energy efficiency standards. These include situations where:

  • All relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made 
  • Relevant improvements will damage the fabric or structure of the property 
  • Access to carry out work has been refused or unreasonable conditions have been set by the tenant or a relevant third party 
  • The cost of completing the relevant improvements would exceed £5,000 to reach an EPC band E and an additional £5,000 to achieve a band D 
  • There are protected species in the property that can’t be disturbed 
  • The relevant improvements can’t be carried out on the property as it affects the listing or conservation status 
  • When the landlord plans to dispose of a property through demolition.

For a full list of exemptions and further information, refer to the draft regulations.

For all exemptions, it’s proposed that:

  • Local authorities will create and maintain their own register of exemptions. This will record the type of exemption, proof of exemption, and the date the exemption is valid until
  • Landlords need to supply proof of their exemption to the local authority
  • Most exemptions will last for 5 years, unless there’s a temporary abeyance.

In these cases, it is proposed that the landlord must register information with the local authority to support this, by way of a valid exemption. 

How the minimum standards will be enforced

The draft regulations propose that local authorities enforce the minimum standards. This includes recording and monitoring exemptions, and if necessary, serving a penalty notice on landlords that don’t comply with the standards.

The proposed penalties are:

  • Up to £2,000 if a landlord has let a property that doesn’t meet minimum standards, in breach of the regulations, for less than three months 
  • Up to £4,000 if a landlord has let a property that doesn’t meet minimum standards, in breach of the regulations, for more than three months
  • Up to £1,000 if a landlord provides false or misleading information in connection with the compliance notice detailed in regulation 17(2)
  • Up to £2,000 if a landlord fails to comply with a compliance notice, in breach of regulation 20(4).

Local authorities can also add a publication penalty to all of the penalties above. This means that the local authority may publish details of the breach and the amount of penalty imposed on the exemptions register.

Landlords can appeal the decision of a penalty notice review – to find out more, read the draft regulations.

If you need to make improvements to your property, now’s the time to start. A private landlord specialist from Home Energy Scotland can talk you through the new standards and help you work out what improvements to prioritise over your whole portfolio. Call 0808 808 2282 to get the ball rolling, or request a call back.

 

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