Shelter poll: Majority back proposed energy efficiency rules for private landlords

Adam Lang
Adam Lang

An overwhelming majority of the public support stricter laws requiring private landlords to bring their properties to a minimum energy efficiency rating before letting them out, according to a new Shelter Scotland report.

The homelessness charity was commissioned by WWF Scotland, in its capacity as a member of the Existing Homes Alliance, to conduct research and report on private tenants’ views of Scottish Government proposals to introduce minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector.

A YouGov poll for Shelter found that 85% of adults in Scotland support the proposals, 71% of adults in Scotland wish their home was more energy efficient, and 66% of private tenants in Scotland indicated they wouldn’t know what to do if they had asked their landlord to improve the energy efficiency of their home but the landlord didn’t want to.

The report has been released ahead of the end of Scottish Government’s consultation period on proposed new regulations for the private rented sector on 30 June.

If they become law the new regulations will require private landlords to raise the energy efficiency rating of their property up to band E or above, with plans to then raise that to D or above by 2025.

Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “Everyone in Scotland should be able to live in a warm, safe and secure home but we know that private tenants live in the most energy inefficient homes. This research shows that some private renters are getting a raw deal regarding energy efficiency with some startling stories of the lengths people are going to heat their homes.  In one instance, a tenant was using a ‘tea-light’ heater to keep warm due to the high cost of heating his home.

“That 85% of people in Scotland would support laws requiring private landlords to increase the energy efficiency of their homes and 71% wish their home was more energy efficient are both compelling reasons for the Scottish Government to press ahead with these changes.”

Gina Hanrahan, acting head of policy at WWF Scotland, added: “Improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes is a win-win. It creates healthier places to live, tackles fuel poverty, creates jobs and fights climate change. It makes no sense that some private renters are currently forced to waste precious cash and carbon heating the air outside their cold and leaky homes.

“The findings of this report show there is no reason for the Scottish Government to delay introducing these important requirements which would improve conditions for future tenants and those renting today.”

Lori McElroy, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, said: “We have been urging the Scottish Government to increase its action on fuel poverty and this evidence shows that private tenants are in a particularly vulnerable position. However, we know good landlords already ensure that the properties they let out are well-insulated and affordable to live in, with a significant number of private properties already meeting the same high standards we see in the best of owner-occupied or housing association properties. It is unfair that these landlords have to compete with a minority who are less concerned for their tenants’ wellbeing. Similar regulations for social housing have already given that sector the most efficient homes in Scotland.”

Tags: Shelter

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