Level Four areas in Scotland are now in lockdown, meaning that your installer may not be able to do work in your property (unless it is an essential activity). If you already have a Private Sector Landlord loan offer, it is now valid for a year from date of offer, so you can claim your loan once your delayed installation is complete.
For more information get in touch - we're happy to help.
If you are applying for a loan, you will require a quote from an installer to support your application. This might not be possible during lockdown but you can prepare now by starting your application and saving it for completion once lockdown is lifted.
There’s plenty of help available to registered private landlords looking to improve the energy efficiency of their rental properties. Read on to find out more or call us on 0808 808 2282 for free and impartial advice.
If you are a registered social landlord please visit our page on how we can support social housing providers.
Benefit from making your property more energy efficient
Making your rented properties more energy efficient could add value, make your properties more attractive to new tenants, lead to lower turnover of tenancies, and reduce potential problems such as damp.
Improving energy efficiency should also increase the rating on your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), helping you meet minimum energy efficiency standards. These standards were expected to come into force on 1 April 2020 but have been delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis.
You can read more about the minimum standards below.
In addition to this, improving energy efficiency should lower energy bills for your tenants, making them warmer at home and reducing their risk of falling into fuel poverty.
Advice and property assessments
Whether you’re looking to discuss your EPC, talk through the various funding options or have your property assessed in depth, we can help. Our free, impartial advice service is funded by the Scottish Government and supported by a network of specialist advisors operating across Scotland.
If a property visit is appropriate, one of our specialist advisors will carry out an assessment and provide you with a tailored report outlining:
- The current energy demands of your property
- Recommended improvements
- The approximate cost of making these improvements
- Potential fuel bill and carbon savings
- Any potential income you could make from installing a renewables system
- The estimated improvement in the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) score
Our specialist will talk you through the report, helping you decide what’s right for you and your property. You can also get advice over the phone at a time that suits you – just call us on 0808 808 2282 or request a call back.
Financial support for landlords
Whether you’re looking to spread the cost of energy efficiency improvements with a loan or to secure payments for energy generated by a renewables system, we can help you work out what funding option is right for you. Have a read through the various options below and call us 0808 808 2282 to find out more.
The Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan is funded by the Scottish Government and open to registered private sector landlords, acting either as an individual or a business that owns privately rented properties.
The loan can be used for a variety of energy efficiency improvements, such as boilers and insulation, and home renewables systems such as solar PV and heat pumps.
Funding can also be used for energy storage systems and connections to either a local gas grid or an approved district heating scheme.
The HEEPS Equity Loan is a Scottish Government pilot programme which allows you to borrow money against the value of your property to fund energy efficiency improvements and repairs to the fabric of the building. There are no ongoing repayments - you only pay back what you've borrowed when you sell the property, or when the last applicant dies.
The loan is available to homeowners and private landlords with no more than two properties in Argyll and Bute, Dundee, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Stirling or the Western Isles.
Watch ‘What is the HEEPS Equity Loan?’ video to find out more.
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Landlords who install or have already installed an eligible renewable heating system could receive quarterly payments over seven years to help cover the costs through the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. The scheme is open to applications until 31 March 2022.
Smart Export Guarantee
Following the closure of the Feed-in Tariff to new applicants in March 2019, the UK Government recognised the need to pay small-scale renewable energy generators for the electricity they export to the grid. The Smart Export Guarantee came into force from 1 January 2020 and is open to homeowners who install, or have already installed, a renewable electricity generating system, such as solar PV.
Meet the minimum energy efficiency standards with our support
The Scottish Government is committed to improving the energy efficiency of homes in the private rented sector and on 2 May 2018 announced minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented homes.
The standards form part of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme which aims to make sure homes and buildings are warmer, greener and more efficient. You can read more about the programme in the Energy Efficient Scotland route map.
Following consultation in 2019, the Scottish Government published the draft Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 which were expected to come into force on 1 April 2020.
The regulations set out minimum standards for energy efficiency of properties in the private rented sector and use EPCs as the method to measure this standard. These minimum standards are designed to tackle the least energy-efficient properties in Scotland, those with a rating of F or G on their EPC. They form part of a framework of standards which will be phased in gradually over time to tackle the energy efficiency of all private rented sector properties in Scotland.
The introduction of these regulations has been delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Scottish Government decided to delay the regulations because of the need to prioritise the safety of tenants and workers, and to reduce the burden on local authorities who are focusing on frontline emergency responses. A commitment was made to introduce the regulations once conditions under the pandemic allowed.
The following requirements were expected to come into force from 1 April 2020 but have been delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis:
- If you’re starting a new tenancy, the property will need to have an EPC of at least band D by 1 April 2022.
- All rented properties, regardless of tenancy period, will need to have an EPC of at least band D by 31 March 2025.
The Scottish Government’s route map for the new Energy Efficient Scotland programme reported that the private rented sector would be required, where technically feasible and cost effective, to meet the minimum standard of EPC Band C by 2030. However, the requirement to reach EPC Band C is not part of the regulations currently being considered by the Scottish Parliament.
This page gives information about the draft regulations’ requirements for private rented properties to meet EPC bands E and D. Regulations for meeting EPC band C will be confirmed at a future date.
The draft regulations use EPCs to measure minimum energy efficiency standards. Recommendations will be based on an EPC recommendation report which landlords can use to find out what work they can do to improve their property’s energy efficiency to help meet minimum standards.
There are some key exemptions proposed in the draft regulations, which outline specific circumstances when a private landlord would not need to meet minimum energy efficiency standards. These include situations where:
- All relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made.
- Relevant improvements will damage the fabric or structure of the property.
- Access to carry out work has been refused or unreasonable conditions have been set by the tenant or a relevant third party.
- There are protected species in the property that can’t be disturbed.
- The relevant improvements can’t be carried out on the property as it affects the listing or conservation status.
- When the landlord plans to dispose of a property through demolition.
For a full list of exemptions and further information, refer to the draft guidance.
For all exemptions, it’s proposed that:
- Local authorities will create and maintain their own register of exemptions. This will record the type of exemption, proof of exemption, and the date the exemption is valid until.
- Landlords need to supply proof of their exemption to the local authority.
- Most exemptions will last for five years, unless there’s a temporary abeyance.
In these cases, it is proposed that the landlord must register information with the local authority to support this, by way of a valid exemption.
The draft regulations propose that local authorities enforce the minimum standards. This includes recording and monitoring exemptions, and if necessary, serving a penalty notice on landlords that don’t comply with the standards.
The proposed penalties are:
- Up to £2,000 if a landlord has let a property that doesn’t meet minimum standards, in breach of the regulations, for less than three months.
- Up to £4,000 if a landlord has let a property that doesn’t meet minimum standards, in breach of the regulations, for more than three months.
- Up to £1,000 if a landlord provides false or misleading information in connection with the compliance notice detailed in regulation 17(2).
- Up to £2,000 if a landlord fails to comply with a compliance notice, in breach of regulation 20(4).
Local authorities can also add a publication penalty to all of the penalties above. This means that the local authority may publish details of the breach and the amount of penalty imposed on the exemptions register.
Landlords can appeal the decision of a penalty notice review – to find out more, read the draft guidance.
If you need to make improvements to your property, now’s the time to start. A private landlord specialist from Home Energy Scotland can talk you through the new standards and help you work out what improvements to prioritise over your whole portfolio. To find out more, call us on 0808 808 2282 or request a call back.