Publication - Advice and guidance

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019: draft guidance

Published: 10 Jun 2019
Housing and Social Justice Directorate
Part of:

We are consulting on this draft guidance to the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019, due to be be laid before the Scottish Parliament later this year.

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The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019: draft guidance
1 Introduction
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update April 2020: The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property (Scotland) Regulations 2020 were due to come into force on 1 April 2020. However the decision has been made not to launch these regulations at this time because of the COVID-19 crisis. This is to reduce the burden on local authorities, who are focussing on frontline emergency responses, and to put the safety of tenants and workers at the forefront. We do not want to put pressure on landlords to try to undertake works in their properties at this time, when medical and government advice continues to mandate physical distancing measures. The work on improving energy efficiency in private rented housing will resume once the current COVID-19 crisis comes to an end.

1 Introduction 

1.1 The Guidance 

1.1.1 This document provides guidance to landlords of domestic private rented property, local authorities, and others with an interest in the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let domestic private property, known as the private rented sector (PRS) under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019.  

1.1.2 The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 are referred to in this guidance as “the Regulations”. 

1.1.3 The Regulations set out the minimum level of energy efficiency for properties in the PRS and use Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) as the method to measure this standard.  They are designed to tackle the least energy-efficient properties in Scotland, those with a rating of F or G on their EPC, and form part of a framework of standards which will be phased in gradually over time to tackle the energy efficiency of all buildings in Scotland.  This framework forms part of Energy Efficient Scotland, a Scottish Government Programme intended to make all our buildings warmer, greener and more efficient, supporting efforts towards eradicating fuel poverty, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as contributing to sustainable economic growth[1].  

1.2 Benefits of Energy Efficiency

1.2.1 EPC F and G rated properties are the most energy inefficient properties in our housing stock. They impose unnecessary energy costs on tenants and the wider economy and can lead to poor health outcomes, with a resulting resource pressure on health services.  These properties also contribute to avoidable greenhouse gas emissions.

1.2.2 Increasing the energy efficiency of our private rental stock can help:

  • manage the energy costs of tenants, including some of the most vulnerable to the cold;
  • improve the condition of properties and help reduce maintenance costs;
  • improve health outcomes associated with cold and damp homes;
  • lower demand for energy thereby smoothing seasonal peaks in energy demand; and as result;
  • increase our energy security; and
  • reduce greenhouse gas emission.

1.3 The Minimum Standards for the Private Rented Sector

1.3.1 Minimum standards for energy efficiency in the PRS will now apply from the start of a tenancy. Tenants will, as a result, be living in more efficient homes from the start of their tenancy. 

1.3.2 From 1 April 2020 landlords of PRS properties may not grant a new tenancy for a property rated EPC F or G (unless an exemption applies). The landlord must improve the rating to minimum of EPC E (or register an exemption if one applies) before letting.

1.3.3 By 31 March 2022, the minimum level of energy efficiency will apply to all domestic private rented properties, even if there has been no change in tenancy.  From that date, landlords may not continue to let properties with an EPC rating of F or G, even to an existing tenant (unless an exemption applies). Landlords are encouraged to take action as soon as possible, bearing in mind that there is an additional target of EPC D, which will apply in a similar way, and may wish to ensure their properties meet or exceed EPC D by 31 March 2025, or indeed meet or exceed EPC C. 

1.3.4 From 1 April 2022 the landlord must not let the property unless the EPC is a minimum of D.  By 31 March 2025 all PRS properties will need to have an EPC of D. 

Date EPC Standard Properties in scope
From 1 April 2020 EPC E Change in tenancy
By 31 March 2022 EPC E All tenancies
From 1 April 2022 EPC D Change in tenancy
By 31 March 2025 EPC D All tenancies

1.4 Enforcement of the Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency 

1.4.1 Local authorities will enforce the minimum standard, including recording and monitoring exemptions, and where necessary, serve a penalty notice on landlords that do not comply with the standard. 

What are Energy Performance Certificates?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) provide information on how energy efficient your building is, and how it could be improved. Buildings are rated on a scale from A-G, with A being the most efficient. Information is also provided on measures which could be made to improve the energy efficiency and an indication of the cost for each improvement. An EPC must be produced when a new building has been constructed; and when a building is to be sold or rented to a new tenant[2].  An EPC must also be obtained and displayed in a building over 250m2 in area, which is occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public.

EPCs are valid for 10 years.[3] They are based on information such as the size and layout of a building, how it has been constructed and the way it is insulated, heated, ventilated, and lighted. Since people use buildings in different ways, the calculation is based on standardised assumptions of occupancy and use.

What do domestic EPCs show?

Domestic EPCs display an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) and an Environmental Impact Rating (EIR). The EER is rated in terms of energy costs, while the EIR is rated in terms of carbon emissions. 

Domestic EPCs also have numerical ratings, with a higher number suggesting greater energy efficiency. 

On an EPC the numbered arrows show the current rating based on the existing energy performance of the property and the potential rating if the suggested improvements are implemented.

Energy Efficiency Rating