3.1 Within government
The Scottish Government consulted the following government divisions and agencies to develop the proposals for regulating energy efficiency in the private rented sector:
- Historic Scotland (now Historic Environment Scotland) – Discussions on how minimum standards of energy efficiency might affect traditional buildings.
- Building Standards Division – Input to modelling and technical discussions; discussions on EPCs and registers; comparisons with non-domestic regulations.
- Legal services – Discussions and advice on legislation; scope of the legislative powers.
- Registers of Scotland – Landlord registers and access for local authorities to these.
- Civil Law and Legal System Division – Discussions on the role of tribunals.
- Better Homes Division – Discussions with the Housing Services Policy Unit on the implementation of the proposals for regulations and policy supporting the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.
3.2 Public consultation
In 2017 we consulted on proposals to improve the energy efficiency and condition standards of privately rented housing in Scotland. The responses to the consultation noted the need for a lead-in time to the standard, appropriate support and assistance, appropriate assessment mechanisms and enforcement for minimum energy efficiency standards. Informed by this consultation, the Energy Efficient Scotland Route Map confirmed our intention to bring forward regulations based on EPCs, requiring landlords of privately rented homes to meet minimum EPC standards from October 2020.
In June 2019 Scottish Government consulted on draft regulations and guidance for the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019. Through this consultation, we sought to raise awareness of the standards proposed for the PRS and the means by which they will be introduced in advance of formal parliamentary consideration later in early 2020. We sought views on the nature of the guidance to support the regulations to ensure that users are confident that sufficient information is available to them to begin the implementation of the standards required.
We have analysed the responses, and are working to make the guidance clearer for both local authorities and landlords as a result of feedback to the consultation. A full analysis report will be published on Citizen Space in due course. We will continue to work with local authorities and landlords to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the regulations.
The Regulation of Energy Efficiency in Private Sector Housing (REEPS) working group consulted stakeholders over a period of two years to develop the policy included in the Energy Efficient Route Map. The group had representatives from environmental groups, landlord organisations, local authorities, the fuel poverty sector, consumer organisations and Scottish Government.
Both previously to the consultation and following it, we organised working groups with local authorities to discuss options for regulation. This includes proposals on fines and exemptions, and on the role for local authorities to monitor and enforce minimum energy efficiency standards and in recording exemptions.
Furthermore, we engaged with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to discuss the EPC Register and ways to involve the public in the decision-making process.
We also met with the Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) to discuss the possible impacts of regulation on rural landlords and tenants, and with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to examine the impact of minimum standards on both assessors and letting agents.
We have attended landlord events across Scotland, including those arranged by Scottish Land and Estates, The Scottish Association of Landlords and some local authority landlord forums. We have also arranged events for landlords. The aim of these events was to increase awareness of the regulations among landlords, including how to find out if their properties complied with the regulations, what they needed to do to meet the regulations and what the consequences could be if they did not meet the regulations. We also sought feedback from landlords and used some of the concerns they highlighted to inform and clarify our guidance.
These events were attended by landlords ranging from individual landlords who owned up to three properties (small and medium enterprises) to larger organisations that managed a significant number of properties.
We have also had discussions with various other businesses such as assessors to explain to them how the regulations will work and to listen to and alleviate any concerns they may have.