The Scottish Government's vision is for a private rented sector ( PRS) that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence, and encourages growth through attracting increased investment.
We have been working hard to improve the PRS through a number of actions which will all be introduced and in force by early 2018. These include a new robust framework for the regulation of letting agents; a First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber to provide improved access to justice for both tenants and landlords; and a new modern private residential tenancy, which balances the needs of tenants and landlords.
This consultation continues our progress and sets out our proposals to make improvements to the physical quality of the accommodation in the PRS.
Most private landlords are delivering homes to modern standards and many have voluntarily improved the energy efficiency of their tenants' homes. They understand the need to keep their property in good condition, both for their investment and for the benefit of their tenants. However, it is entirely unfair that there are tenants living in some of the least energy efficient homes in Scotland, who therefore face higher energy bills and are at greater risk of being pushed into fuel poverty.
We are therefore seeking views on introducing a standard for the private rented sector. This will mean that tenants in the least efficient properties will, over time, be able to enjoy the same standard of accommodation as other tenants, making homes warmer and more affordable to heat. Our aspiration is to remove inadequate energy efficiency in properties as a driver of fuel poverty, and these minimum standards of energy efficiency will not only play an important role in helping deliver on our continued commitment to tackle fuel poverty, but also help meet Scotland's world leading climate change targets.
The Scottish Government has designated energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority, the cornerstone of which will be the development and delivery of Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme ( SEEP). This consultation forms part of that wider framework which we will develop with partners across Scotland.
There will also be a role for incentives and standards to help improve owner occupied homes and we will consult on this from winter 2017/18, taking into account the responses to this consultation and on the wider development of SEEP.
We also want to see that the condition of PRS properties are at the right standard to help ensure a fair deal for all private tenants. So this consultation also seeks views on making changes to the repairing standard, which privately rented housing already has to meet, taking account of developments since the standard was introduced following the 2006 Housing Act.
The PRS has an important role to play in providing quality accommodation for the people of Scotland, and in supporting our world leading climate change ambitions. The condition of housing is crucial to people's health and wellbeing and can impact on household incomes. With more people living in the sector, we want to make sure that tenants have access to good quality homes. Our proposals seek to do just that and ensure that conditions and standards are appropriate across the sector.
We look forward to hearing your views on the proposals in this consultation.
Minister for Local Government and Housing
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House