Buy-to-let landlords north of the border are urging the Scottish government to take into consideration the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on Scotland’s ongoing efforts to improve the energy efficiency of private rented homes.
The Scottish Association of Landlords, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, Historic Houses Scotland, and Scottish Land & Estates, all of which represent Scotland’s private rented sector, have joined forces and written an open letter to Kevin Stewart, minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.
The coalition urges Stewart to work with them to ensure the PRS can begin to prepare for energy improvement works which will help improve the condition of housing across Scotland.
The Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 was due to be introduced on 1 April, but was delayed by the Scottish government due to the pandemic.
Although there is currently no date set for the regulations to be introduced, some landlords are concerned that they could come into play sooner rather than later as lockdown measures begin to ease slightly in Scotland.
In a joint statement, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Association of Landlords, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers and Historic Houses Scotland, said: “Private landlords in Scotland are committed to improving the energy efficiency of their properties. However, landlords have been unable to continue making improvements or to maintain property fully during the Covid-19 pandemic. This means there is a very real danger that there will be a backlog of work required to be completed.
“We are urging the Scottish government to commit to a timeline which means the first ‘milestone’ of the regulations is one year after the new regulations are published. This will allow landlords sufficient lead in time to carry out improvements to properties that require to be upgraded to comply with minimum energy efficiency standards.
“Many landlords have suffered a substantial loss of income during lockdown due to rent reductions and rent holidays to help their tenants during this difficult and uncertain time. The funding of these maintenance and improvement works will require planning and enough time for income levels to rise. It is crucial that the government consider this.
“Landlords need reassurance from the government that any energy efficiency improvement works carried out now will be taken into account when the new regulations come in. They should not be out of discouraged from continuing to improve their properties before the new regulations are introduced.
“We continue to have concerns about the methodology and accuracy of energy performance certificates which will be used to show if a property is at the required standard or needs further work carried out to be more energy efficient. We want to continue working with the Scottish Government on this matter.”
You can view the open letter to Kevin Stewart by clicking here.