Minimum energy standards in Scotland - for Assessors
The Scottish Government is proposing to introduce minimum energy efficiency regulations for private rented properties (PRS). Referred to as 'the Regulations', the new rules will have far-reaching effects for landlords, tenants and assessors.
Background to the Regulations
The Scottish Government is planning to introduce minimum energy efficiency regulations (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019. This framework forms part of Energy Efficient Scotland, a Scottish Government Programme intended to make Scotland's buildings warmer, greener and more efficient, aimed at eradicating fuel poverty and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Regulations are similar to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) released in England and Wales in April 2018.
Are there any exemptions?
If a landlord has done all the possible relevant improvements to their property and still fail to meet the minimum requirements as set out by the regulations, the property may be exempt. To be eligible for an exemption they must provide proof to their local authority.
Examples of reasons for exemption include:
- danger of causing damage to the fabric of the building,
- excessive cost,
- tenant refusing access to carry out the work,
- protected species present that cannot be disturbed,
- listed buildings in conservation areas,
- planned demolition of the property
Landlords will be unable to rent out their properties if they do not meet the minimum energy efficiency standards as explained above. Failure to comply with the Regulations, without a valid exemption, will result in financial penalties.
More information relating to exemptions can be found within the Regulations.
An opportunity for Domestic Energy Assessors
The proposed regulations, soon to come into effect, present a good opportunity for assessors working in Scotland; not only are the Regulations compulsory but they exclusively use Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to set the standard. The roll out of Minimum Energy Efficiency Regulations (MEES) in England and Wales saw a massive upturn in work for assessors. It is hoped that the same will also be true for Scotland.
Energy Efficient Scotland
The key driver behind the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards in Scotland is the Energy Efficient Scotland programme and its Route Map, published in May 2018. The initial aim of the programme was to improve the energy efficiency of Scotland's buildings by 2040. This aim was accompanied by some steps which outlined how this could be achieved: