Compliance and enforcement of the Long-Term Domestic Standard
The consultation paper notes that while the Scottish Housing Regulator is responsible for monitoring social landlords' compliance with EESSH, the 2017 consultation on Energy Efficiency and Condition Standards in Private Rented Housing proposed that Local Authorities may be the appropriate body for enforcing the minimum standards in this sector, though it was noted that there would be resource implications to this. A future consultation on the detail of how mandatory action would work in the owner occupied sector would include proposals on where responsibility for enforcement would sit.
Question 17 - What are your views on whether the Long-Term Domestic Standard should be enforced at a local or national level? Please explain your answer.
Reasons given for enforcement at a local level were the importance of local knowledge, for example with respect to supply chains, the relevant information already held by Local Authorities, and possible synergies with other Local Authority functions. This was raised by respondents from a broad range of respondent types.
It was also felt that Local Authority enforcement could provide a common approach across different tenures or could provide for faster action than possible at a national level. However, the need to address resource issues was frequently highlighted as being essential, with co-operation between authorities or pooling resources also recommended. Again, these issues were raised by respondents from a broad range of respondent types.
Suggestions about where responsibility for enforcement might sit at a local level were Building Control or Trading Standards. Third sector respondents were amongst those who made this suggestion. With respect to a trigger at the point of sale, it was proposed that the conveyancing process, estate agents and banks could be involved in monitoring compliance.
With specific reference to the PRS, inclusion of energy efficiency requirements within the Repairing Standard and enforcement through the Housing and Property Chamber of the First Tier Tribunal was recommended, as was using the landlord registration process.
Although advocating local enforcement, several respondents also pointed to the need for a national standard or framework, support, guidance, oversight or quality assurance. Other suggestions were a 'data warehouse' recording properties that have received measures, and that support will be required to develop an appropriate database:
National support is required for developing and maintaining a database of sufficiently detailed and accurate building information. This will be critical for monitoring progress towards the long-term domestic standard.
It was also argued that a body set up to oversee Energy Efficient Scotland should support compliance with the standard.
Fewer respondents made points in favour of enforcement at national level, with respondents ranging in profile. Comments included that a national approach would facilitate uniformity or consistency, and that Local Authorities do not have the resources or capacity to enforce the policy. Local Authority respondents tended to raise this latter point. If a national approach were to be adopted, it was recommended that it should recognise local factors or that local guidance should be produced.
Other points were: the consultation paper does not present enough information on an approach to enforcement to allow an informed view on the relative merits of this being local or national; and that the respondent had no clear view beyond the need to ensure that resources are made available or that the policy is enforced. Finally, a number of respondents, including Individual respondents in particular, reiterated their opposition to mandating energy efficiency standards, and hence to any enforcement at all.