Publication - Research and analysis

Energy efficiency and condition standards in private rented housing: consultation analysis

Published: 14 Nov 2017
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:

This report presents an analysis of responses to the consultation on energy efficiency and condition standards in private rented housing.

Energy efficiency and condition standards in private rented housing: consultation analysis
Reviewing the standard

Reviewing the standard

It is proposed that information from the Scottish House Condition Survey, the EPC register and feedback from local authorities on the rates of compliance and the reasons for non-compliance or exceptions will be used to monitor the implementation of new energy efficiency standards. This information, along with the outcome of any monitoring and review processes within SEEP, will be used to review the implementation of the standard at the E and D levels to identify if there are any improvements that could be made to the process, and to consider whether the standard should be raised further in future. Any decision to raise the standard after 2025 would be taken within the context of this monitoring and review process.

Question 1.34 - Do you have any suggestions for the monitoring and review framework?

Around 60 respondents answered Question 1.34, although sometimes simply to record that they agreed with the frameworks proposed or had no suggestions.

With respect to the conduct of the review suggestions included:

  • There should be clear delineations between policy makers and delivery bodies, and this should include the incorporation of independent professional scrutiny and oversight in the design and delivery of policies and schemes.
  • A private agency should be set up.
  • The review should not be carried out by local authority or Scottish Government employees.

Comments on the information to be reviewed included:

  • It may be appropriate to consider some boosting of the samples in the Scottish Housing Condition Survey, particularly in rural areas.
  • It may be necessary to set a standard baseline nationally using Scottish Housing Condition Survey Data.
  • An EPC register used as part of the monitoring and compliance framework must be kept up to date.
  • Local authorities should provide annual reports using a common template. A format similar to the ARC [7] for social housing was suggested, as was inclusion of the local authority's efforts to promote compliance and enforcement actions taken.
  • Feedback and suggestions from tenants, tenants' groups and residents' associations should be included in a structured way, and there should be input from industry and landlords' representatives.
  • Collated statistical returns from various agencies, such as the NHS, local authorities, housing associations, fuel and energy providers, schools and support agencies could be included.

With regard to what the review should assess suggestions included:

  • All aspects of the policy and within 3 years of introduction.
  • Technical performance of measures installed, to ensure these are appropriate to the buildings in which they have been installed.
  • Impact on traditional buildings and rural areas.
  • Impacts on householders.
  • Compliance costs and wider impacts such as rent increases, and particularly the impact on rents at the lower end of the market.

Other suggestions included that dedicated software for monitoring properties, available to local authorities or other monitoring agencies, would help to ensure monitoring is consistent and would assist with any review of standards. Likewise, it was suggested the creation of national compliance/exceptions registers could reduce reporting requirements for local authorities. It was also suggested that the landlord registration system could be used to gather detailed, up to date information on criteria such as tenure, rent and length of tenancy which could be used to detect changes to the supply of rented housing.

Question 1.35 - Do you have any other comments on the proposals set out in Part 1 of this consultation?

Around 60 respondents made additional comments at Question 1.35. A number of these comments raised issues which have already been covered elsewhere in the analysis of Part 1 of the consultation. Only issues which have not already been covered are included here.

Closer alignment of SEEP and the Climate Challenge Fund ( CCF) was proposed. It was suggested that SEEP should work with existing community based organisations, particularly CCF projects, and that longer-term funding for such projects should also be considered.

It was observed that links between PRS and owner-occupied housing are not considered as part of the present consultation, so the potential impacts of these changes for local housing systems in terms of tenure supply and housing options are not explored. The Scottish Government's forthcoming consultation with owner- occupiers on improving energy efficiency was also noted, and it was suggested that a long-term strategy covering all tenures should be developed.

The issue of 'rogue landlords' was raised by a local authority respondent who noted that if they do not comply and do not provide safe accommodation for their tenants at present, this is unlikely to change as a result of the proposed regulations.

The ability of local authorities to process exceptions in a timely manner was raised as a concern, potentially resulting in landlords being unable to let their properties for protracted periods. It was suggested that landlords should be permitted to let their property without meeting the legislation if they have submitted a valid exception application and have not received a decision from the local authority within 2 weeks.

The issue of capped gas meters was raised by a respondent who suggested that whether a meter is capped and the type of meter in a property should be recorded on the EPC, and that more should be done to get such caps removed.

It was suggested that, as well as the risk that external insulation applied to solid walls may exacerbate problems of damp and condensation, potential fire risks should also be taken into account.

It was requested that communications regarding the new minimum energy requirements should be sent directly to landlords, rather than through letting agents, who the landlords may otherwise see as being to blame for additional costs.

Finally, several respondents highlighted recent research by Shelter Scotland on behalf of the Existing Homes Alliance that recorded views of private tenants on the proposed regulations. It was reported that while 79% of private tenants wish their home was more energy efficient, and 91% favour regulation of energy efficiency in the private sector, 60% of tenants said they would not feel confident asking their landlord to make changes to improve energy efficiency. It was suggested tenants fear eviction, rent increases or other reprisals.