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Energy Efficiency Regulations Update

The majority of landlords in Scotland will be aware  of the minimum standard Energy Performance  Certificate (EPC) Regulations that were due to come into effect at varying stages from 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2025, with the news in January that the start of the phased changes were setback until the 1st October. However, due to Covid-19 the government has decided to postpone implementation indefinitely.

Similar schemes have been established in England and Wales and so it is highly likely that the Scottish Government will set another date as soon they feel it is safe to do so – reducing the nation’s energy expenditure is still a priority. It would be advisable if you already have a budget and plan set aside to update your properties - particularly if you have more than one that requires improvement - to start work towards meeting the required standards regardless of this delay to the introduction of the regulations.

Before the postponement there was a £5000 cost cap per property to reach a level E (for properties not exempt from the regulations), with a further £5000 to reach a level D for all private rental sector properties. If you have a number of properties, particularly traditional rural estate/farm cottages, it is easy to see that costs may soon mount up. 

An EPC remains valid for 10 years, however, it is a good idea to obtain an up-to-date EPC for all properties; an EPC with 2-3 years remaining may have changed rating since the date of issue. Relying on an older rating may lead to work being undertaken that ultimately falls short of the required level, resulting in further call out charges and wasted time arranging further works, when the issues could have been rectified at the same time.

Having EPC’s in place will allow you to address each property individually thus giving the opportunity to spread costs over a 5 year period (or longer if works are undertaken now). In a portfolio of properties it is likely there will be buildings of varying condition and styles; whilst one property may simply require energy efficient lighting and/or additional loft insulation to achieve the required standard, another may require a new heating system and double glazing. The latter may require the property to be empty; if there is a change in tenancy then carrying out the works during this time would be preferable to avoid disruptions.

Making use of this legislative delay by being proactive and methodical is certainly the way to avoid headaches and panic months before any future deadline.