Introduction to Consultation Document
1. This consultation asks for views on proposals to improve the energy efficiency and condition standards of privately rented housing in Scotland.
2. There are around 350,000 privately rented dwellings in Scotland. That's 14% of the country's homes, up from around 6% in 2003.  Private renting has become increasingly important as a housing option for many people in Scotland at different points in their lives.
3. It is vital therefore that tenants who rent privately have access to good quality and energy efficient homes and that these homes are fit for the future. Effective and proportionate regulation will help to deliver improved quality, but Scottish Ministers recognise that this must be affordable for landlords so they continue to invest in, and grow, the sector.
Part 1 - Minimum energy efficiency standards
4. Scottish Ministers have powers under Section 64 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 to require the assessment of a property's energy performance, and for the owner to take action to improve the energy efficiency and environmental impact of a property.
5. Social housing providers are already working to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. The first milestone for the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing ( EESSH) is due to be met by 2020. And the UK Government has set a minimum energy efficiency standard in England and Wales at EPC Band E for the private rented sector, coming into force from April 2018.
6. Part 1 of this consultation sets out proposals for setting standards in the private rented sector in Scotland under the Climate Change Act. The proposals were informed by a working group, which was set up in April 2013. It included representatives from private rented sector landlords, consumer, environmental, fuel poverty and local authority interests. More information on the working group is available on the Scottish Government website  .
7. We will consult separately from winter 2017/2018 on the role of minimum standards in improving the energy efficiency of owner-occupied housing, alongside the use of grants and loans and other incentives.
8. The Scottish Government has designated energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority, the cornerstone of which will be Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme ( SEEP). Improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings supports our efforts to reduce climate change emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
9. The Programme will operate over 15-20 years. Its benefits will include:
- making our homes warmer and places of work more comfortable;
- promoting more affordable energy for consumers;
- helping to tackle poverty;
- improving competitiveness of the Scottish economy by creating substantial market and supply chain opportunities; and
- contributing to meeting our climate change targets.
10. Minimum standards will have a key role within SEEP, helping to drive improvement and create certainty for investment. They will act to improve the worst performing properties which have not yet been improved, despite the range of incentives and support on offer.
11. Other important elements of SEEP include considering what help might be available to building owners to improve their properties; what skills and consumer protection is needed to ensure confident and appropriate decisions in improving properties; and how local and national action can be used across domestic and non-domestic sectors to make best use of existing resources. We are currently consulting on policy options to support the development of SEEP, and encourage responses to that consultation (by 30 May 2017)  .
Part 2 - Amendments to the repairing standard
12. The Scottish Government's strategy for the private rented sector in Scotland, A Place to Stay, A Place to Call Home, sets out a vision for private renting that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence, and encourages growth through attracting increased investment.
13. Scottish Ministers are committed to improving the standard of privately rented housing, with a Manifesto commitment to " consult on a national standard for private rented homes to ensure a good basic standard of accommodation, driving out rogue landlords who exploit tenants in sub-standard accommodation" .
14. The proposals in Part 2 of this consultation take forward this commitment by seeking views on making changes to the repairing standard, which sets out minimum condition standards for privately rented housing.
15. Following the consultation we will analyse the responses and set out the Scottish Government's response.
16. The proposals in Parts 1 and 2 of the consultation would need to be implemented through secondary legislation by the Scottish Parliament. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, there will be further consultation and engagement on the draft regulations and related guidance.
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House