Landlords are being urged to give their views on an overhaul of EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) in Scotland including making both residential and commercial landlords and homeowners renew them every five years rather than ten.
This is Ministers’ second attempt to reform EPCS. In 2021 they consulted on reforming EPCs to add a metric showing a property’s energy use, but now a second one is due to end on 10th October.
No changes were made to EPCs following the original consultation but now the government is carrying out a new consultation on more extensive changes to EPCs, with the new EPC regulation brought in during late 2024.
The newly-proposed changes are designed to help homeowners and tenants understand their building’s energy performance, but the Scottish Government believes the current metrics, ratings and format aren’t ‘suitable’ to drive improvements and meet net zero targets by 2045.
Its new consultation - setting out proposals to reform domestic and non-domestic EPCs - includes plans to change the metrics, purpose and validity period of EPCs, the document format and quality assurance procedures.
Changes would provide “relevant and holistic information” to ensure EPCs provide clear and useful basic information about a building’s energy efficiency for current and prospective building owners and tenants, and other stakeholders.
As well as using a letter to describe a property’s energy efficiency, three new rating types would be added – building fabric, cost and heating type – to give tenants and homeowners a clearer idea of what they are renting or buying.
Also on display will be an ‘emissions rating’ and an ‘energy use indicator’.
This means that landlords will no longer be able to make small changes (such as replacing a boiler) to get a property over the line to a ‘C’ as is the case now, but instead make more substantial improvements that meet the ‘net Zero’ target.
The Scottish government wants feedback ahead of the introduction of revised Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations due in Winter 2023-24 which would mean that revised EPCs would come into force shortly afterwards and in advance of wider Heat in Buildings Regulations planned for 2025.
As in England and Wales, Scottish landlords have until 2025 or 2028 to get their properties to a minimum ‘C’ level depending whether a tenancy is new or existing.
Any update to the EPC system would have a significant impact on letting agents, sales agents and commercial agents, says Propertymark CEO Nathan Emerson (pictured).
He adds: “Whilst we understand the Scottish Government wants to reach net-zero, attention must be paid to ensuring information contained is clear and concise to allow users to gain the very best understanding.”
Landlords have until 10th October to submit their views via the Government's consultation hub.