Scottish property has thus far escaped the types of letting restrictions linked to energy performance which apply in England. Although legislation is in place in Scotland which allows for restrictions to be introduced, the Scottish Ministers have opted not to invoke these powers to date. However, the position is about to change.
In May 2018, the Scottish Government indicated their intention to introduce new laws to require minimum EPC ratings for residential property which is let. It is thought that these restrictions will extend to non-traditional types of residential property, such as build to rent and student accommodation. The consultation closed in July 2018. As at January 2019 no further substantive information has been provided other than the following proposed dates and minimum requirements:
• 1 April 2020 - minimum EPC rating of E for a let to a new tenant;
• By 31 March 2022 - all let residential property (even current lets) to have minimum E rating;
• 1 April 2022 - minimum EPC rating of D for a let to a new tenant; and
• By 31 March 2025 - all let residential property (even current lets) to have minimum D rating.
Although further information is awaited, the initial indications are that non-compliance to a greater or lesser extent may be permitted on certain grounds, for instance where the costs of compliance are prohibitive or where it is not technically possible to make the required changes. This would certainly appear to be the most sensible approach.