Scotland guidance released for energy efficiency in privately rented domestic properties

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 Guidance has been released. These are due to be laid in Scottish Parliament later this year and come into force from the 1st April 2020.

Scottish Government state “The Regulations set out the minimum level of energy efficiency for properties in the PRS and use Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) 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.“

The aim of the regulations is to ensure that tenants in Scottish homes do not live in cold energy inefficient homes that are EPC ‘F’ and ‘G’ rated. The most inefficient homes “ 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.”

The Scottish Government acknowledges that there are many benefits to improving the energy efficiency of private rental stock, which 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 a result;
  • increase our energy security; and
  • reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Stuart Fairlie Technical and Operations Director at Elmhurst states: “We welcome the provision of this guidance on the energy efficiency of the private rented sector in Scotland. We have had many questions from our members over the past few years, as a similar law was set on private landlords in England & Wales back in 2018. It must be noted that the guidance is still draft as the Regulations are still to be laid later this year, but give a clear understanding of how Scottish Government intend to improve the energy efficiencies of some of the poorest performing homes in Scotland. The fact is there should be few homes that are ‘F’ and ‘G’ rated, and those tenants deserve better; these can usually be improved relatively easily to help improve comfort and health. These regulations, if enforced correctly, can really make a big difference to people’s lives.”

Elmhurst will be issuing our members with handy fact sheets for tenants and landlord so that they can advise people how to comply with this impending law. When choosing an energy assessor to produce your EPC, make sure it is an Elmhurst assessor. You can search for one here (available on the home page) 

Headline Summary of Regulations:

The proposed timeline is:

  • 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.
  • 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 a minimum of EPC E (or register an exemption if one applies) before letting.
  • 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.
  • From 1 April 2022, it will be unlawful for domestic landlords in the private rented sector to grant new leases for properties with an EPC rating below a 'D'.
  • By 31 March 2025, it will be unlawful for domestic landlords in the private rented sector to grant new leases for properties with an EPC rating below a 'D', regardless of tenancy.


It is proposed that enforcement will be carried out by Local Authorities who will record and monitor exemptions via register, and where necessary will serve penalty notices on landlords.


It is proposed that there are a number of routes whereby a Landlord does not have to meet the minimum standard subject to conditions such as:

Relevant Measures:

  • Where there are no relevant energy efficient improvement that can be made to the property
  • Where energy efficiency improvements are not appropriate because of possible negative impact on fabric or structure of the building
  • Where a tenant/3rd party refuse consent or access

Cost Cap:

The landlord will be expected to make any other relevant energy efficient improvements up to a cost cap.

The cost cap will apply where the costs of meeting the relevant minimum standards of energy efficiency improvements exceed:

  • £5,000 to reach an EPC E from 1 April 2020 for new lets or;
  • £5,000 to reach an EPC E by 31 March 2022 for all PRS properties;
  • an additional £5,000 to reach an EPC D from 1 April 2022 for new lets or;
  • an additional £5,000 to reach an EPC D by 31 March 2025 for all PRS properties

There are other routes for exemptions, but all will be enforced by Local Authorities.


It is proposed that local authorities with the powers to impose a financial penalty in relation to breaches of the standard, and discretion to decide on the amount of the penalty, up to maximum limits set by the Regulations.

There are various fines across a number of breaches and range from £1k to £5k.

To obtain the full copy of the Guidance see here

Elmhurst has created separate guidance for landlords and assessors

Article published: 16th July 

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