Private rented sector faces ‘significant barriers’ in drive to net zero

Landlords in the private sector are keen to play their part in making their buildings energy-efficient but face significant barriers in doing so, Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has found.

Private rented sector faces ‘significant barriers’ in drive to net zero

Upgrading energy standards in the sector is key to Scotland’s net zero strategy, as 14% of all of Scotland’s housing stock is privately-rented and the sector currently has below average standards of energy efficiency. But a new report for CAS today finds that landlords feel stymied by the cost and flaws in the process of retrofit.

The report comes on the back of another CAS briefing last month which found that consumers in Scotland generally support net zero but are unsure of what they need to do to help make it happen.

Today’s report finds: “While there is clearly appetite in the sector to install energy efficiency measures, those surveyed provided a range of barriers preventing or disincentivising them from doing more in this area. The key barrier identified was cost; participants felt there was a high initial cost to installation yet a slow and small return on investment; they also noted a lack of clear and useful information about financial support available to the sector. Time, unfit standards, and lack of information are also preventing the Private Rented Sector from completing energy efficiency retrofit.”

Publishing the report, CAS spokesperson Kate Morrison said: “Our research into the private rented sector is all about finding out how likely people in Scotland are to make the changes necessary to meet Net Zero. What we are finding is that both landlords and tenants support the target but tenants are unsure of what role they need to play, and landlords feel there are too many barriers in place to making the necessary changes.

“This is a problem that needs to be addressed, because there will be no Net Zero without significant change in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. And failure to make the necessary changes now will just mean it is more expensive to do so in the end.”

She added: “With this in mind, we are outlining today a series of recommendations that will hopefully begin to address this problem. First of all, the Scottish Government needs to look at helping landlords with the cost of retrofitting properties, but it is vital that this must not be passed on to tenants. There is also a need to proactively engage with both landlords and tenants about the importance of their role in Net Zero and how they can make it happen.”

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