The Scottish Government has announced an updated scheme that will allow private landlords to apply for up to a £32,500 interest-free loan to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, according to the National Landlords Association.

What is it?

Launched last week (May 2), the updated Home Energy Scotland Scheme is actually a merger of two separate and existing programmes – the Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland Loans Scheme, and the Home Energy Scotland Renewable Loan Scheme; it is said that this updated scheme cuts down on red tape by combining the schemes, and increases the amount of money available to private landlords to borrow to carry out energy efficiency improvements.

What can the interest-free loan be used for?

If a private landlord’s application is successful, he or she can utilise the interest-free loan to make a raft of eco-friendly improvements, including: installing double glazing, replacing old inefficient boilers with greener eco-friendly ones, fitting both external and internal wall insulation, and various other forms of renewable tech that can be used in properties.

Why should private landlords take notice of such schemes?

The updated Home Energy Scotland Scheme follows on from a Scottish Government consultation that is looking into the energy efficiency of rented properties – and the possibility of introducing a new minimum threshold of efficiency standards that landlords could be required to meet.

What could this look like in future?

Basically, it’s being proposed that at some point in the future, all privately rented properties could be required to meet a minimum standard of energy efficiency.

The consultation is seeking views on a requirement of all private rented properties meeting a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’ from 2019 – and even stricter standards to meet an EPC level ‘D’ from 2022.

Why is this being proposed?

Through initiatives such as interest-free loans for carrying out eco home improvements, as well as a potentially new minimum threshold of energy efficiency for all private sector properties to meet, the Scottish Government are hoping it could help improve standards within the private sector and also support different measures tackling fuel poverty.

At present, according to the Scottish Government, it is thought that around 28% of private rented sector properties sit in the lowest energy efficiency ratings of E, F and G.

If such measures are put in place in future, how long would landlords have to improve their property’s energy efficiency?

According to the Scottish Government, landlords would have six months from the time of their assessment to bring their property up to the relevant energy efficiency code; it’s proposed that landlords who fail to comply would be subject to a civil fine.

However, the consultation also currently notes that there would be potential exceptions for those with properties where certain efficiency upgrades were either not technically feasible or cost an excessive amount to carry out/ install.

Talk to us about your next investment

With our finger on the pulse in terms of Government legislation that can (or have the potential) to affect buy-to-let landlords, Clyde Property are ideally placed to help you find the right investment for you.

Clyde Property is a leading independent, multiple award winning estate and letting agent with 30 years’ experience in selling and letting property in Scotland. Just call your local Clyde Property branch today, for friendly, impartial advice on finding your next dream home.