It seems that the energy efficiency and climate emergency have got into the heads of the residents in the southside of Glasgow! I would love to be able to tell the story behind the journey these people and their boat were going on, but sometimes what is left to the imagination is far more interesting than the reality.
Smooth link to Energy Performance Certificates(!)
The information that I have been waiting for has not been published yet, but it is important that as landlords we have an idea of what to expect.
The Scottish Government decided in January 2021 to pause the laying of regulations to introduce a minimum EPC requirement for properties in the private rented sector (PRS). This was because of the ongoing pandemic, the impact it was having on the PRS and on the construction/building sector. It was intended that regulations would require rental properties to have an EPC rating of D by 2025 (and by 2022 if there was a change in tenant).
Since January there have been some developments, namely:
- The launch of a Scottish Government consultation proposing the introduction of a new graph on the EPC report to show energy usage. It is widely believed that this new rating will be used for future standards, although the Scottish Government hasn’t yet confirmed this to be the case.
- The publication of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government which includes the following commitment:
“All home and building upgrades – at the point of sale, change of tenancy, and refurbishment – will be required to meet at least EPC C standards or equivalent from 2025 onwards. And all homes will need to be upgraded by 2033 to ensure we meet our climate targets. We will undertake consultation on this next year, to ensure a fair approach and avoid unintended consequences, and provide support through an upscaled grants and an advisory service.”
It is fair to say that as a result of these developments the future is a little uncertain and the government has been unable to provide us with any update. Regulations will be introduced but at this stage it is unclear when that will be, what the minimum standard will be and how that minimum standard will be measured. We will provide members with more information as soon as it is available.
New Deal for Tenants goes Much Further than Rent Controls
Following a new power-sharing partnership between SNP and the Scottish Greens in order to secure a majority in the Holyrood Parliament, the transformation of the private rented sector is poised to be introduced in Scotland to provide greater security for tenants, improve standards and regulate rents.
In what is a 50-page agreement between the two parties, it states:
“We therefore agree, as part of the Rented Sector Strategy to be published by the end of 2021, to deliver a new deal for tenants. This new deal will be developed in consultation, and will:
– create a new housing regulator for the private rented sector to improve standards and enforce tenants’ rights
– enhance tenants’ rights, including through greater restrictions on evictions over winter, providing additional security for tenants
– introduce new rights for tenants, for example giving tenants greater flexibility to decorate their home and to keep pets
– put in place additional penalties and compensation for illegal evictions
– implement an effective national system of rent controls, with an appropriate mechanism to allow local authorities to introduce local measures.”
Although the details of the measures likely to be imposed are yet to fully emerge, the Scottish Greens pledged in their manifesto for the May elections this year that they would introduce “a cross-cutting goal of ensuring that housing costs represent no more than 25 per cent of a household’s income, including a points-based system of rent controls.”
“Rent controls are not the answer”
However, it is not nationwide rent controls that Scotland needs, but “proper enforcement of existing rules, additional supply and more social housing,” says the letting agents trade body ARLA Propertymark.
Scottish representative and policy maker for Propertymark, Daryl McIntosh comments: “At a time when demand for privately rented homes is massively outstripping supply, several of the Greens’ proposals risk deterring private landlords from the market.
“The Private Rented Sector provides a vital service in the housing system and recently this contribution feels forgotten – surely an ill thought through policy objective.”
He adds: “Working in collaboration with our members, stakeholders, politicians and parliamentarians we aim to continue to raise the standards across the entire industry ensuring people can rent affordable, warm and safe homes from reputable landlords.”
Following a consultation, expected in the coming nine months, a final Rented Sector Strategy will be published and then a Housing Bill introduced in the second year of this parliamentary session. Rent controls are expected to be implemented by the end of 2025.
Holiday/short let regulation update
The Scottish Government has been working to introduce regulation of the holiday/short let sector. This involves two pieces of legislation.
The first, giving local authorities the power to introduce control areas within which planning permission will be required for the change of use of properties to short-term/holiday lets, came into force on 1 April. Draft guidance setting out in what circumstances a host/operator would be expected to apply for planning permission to operate a short term let can be found here.
Edinburgh Council is the first local authority to launch a consultation on plans to introduce a control area covering the whole of the city. The consultation can be read and responded to here. The deadline for responses is 5 November 2021. It is likely that some other local authorities will begin steps to introduce control areas over the coming months.
The second piece of legislation, to require all operators of short-term/holiday lets in Scotland to apply for a licence, has been delayed to give time for the government to further consider and scrutinise the proposals following concerns raised by some MSPs and stakeholder groups about the operation of the licensing scheme. The cabinet secretary for social justice, housing and local government has advised that the government’s intention is now to lay the legislation in November and keep to the original timetable for implementation of the licensing scheme.
Licensing authorities will have until 1 October 2022 to establish a licensing scheme; existing hosts and operators must have applied for a licence by 1 April 2023 in order to keep operating; and all short-term lets must be licensed by 1 April 2024. Those applying for a licence will undergo a fit and proper person test and must confirm (via a declaration or photographic/documentary evidence) that they meet safety standards and licensing conditions.
Draft guidance setting out how the licensing scheme is expected to work has been published by the government and can be found here.
I had a fantastic time last weekend up north in Inverness, taking part in a Sherlock Holms murder mystery, learning about the inverness cape , going to the Clava Cairns and although I did not spot Nessie, I did a tree top adventure in Aviemore which was AMAZING!! I think the adrenaline was still pumping hours after my feet touched the ground! If you ever get the chance to go, try it. My mum in her 60s and my son at 11 both had a brilliant time, possibly not as much fun as me, or maybe they didn’t get the chance to enthuse as much, already on my to do list for 2022!
Take care and stay safe, this horrible virus doesn’t look like it is going anyway easily, but we will get to the new way of life.
077 2000 9850
17 Elmbank Street
0141 221 3990
Registration number LARN1903009
VAT : 174415411
The information in this e-mail is confidential. The contents may not be disclosed or used by anyone other than the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and delete this message. Glasgow Property Letting Ltd cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of this message as it has been transmitted over a public network.
We will no longer retain emails from you as per GDPR legislation. This means when you send us an email you should keep a copy for your own records if you will need to refer to it at a later date. You can dispose of your own copies according to your own GDPR retention policies