Scottish homeowners face pressure to upgrade energy performance

Homeowners in Scotland could be forced to improve the energy efficiency of their property before they are able to sell, under new proposals unveiled by the Scottish government. This would be an unprecedented step in the UK.

The plans, which would take effect from 2024, would see all owner-occupied properties required to reach EPC C rating when they hit certain “trigger points”, such as a sale or renovation.

If a seller is unwilling or unable to bring their home up to standard before sale, then the responsibility would fall upon the buyer to bring the property up to anEPC C rating within 12 months. The Scottish Government said this extra burden would be reflected in house prices for such properties.

Fines would be levied for non-compliance, although the Scottish government has not indicated at what level they would be set.

Although emissions in Scotland have fallen rapidly in recent years, harder-to-reach sectors such as housing are proving trickier to decarbonise. Homeowners in particular currently have little incentive to undertake more costly energy efficiency improvements.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse (pictured) and Housing Minister Kevin Stewart reckon Scotland’s adoption of a 2045 net zero targetmeans Scotland needs to go “further and faster” on cutting emissions.

“In the context of a global climate emergency we must look to all parts of society to take action to cut emissions,” they wrote in a joint statement. “This government wants all our homes to be warmer, greener and more efficient, and for housing to play a full part in Scotland’s efforts to tackle climate change.”

If confirmed, the rules would mark a major step towards addressing emissions from houses not covered by policies. Former LibDem building regulations minister Lord (Don) Foster is introducing a Domestic Premises (Energy Performance) Billin the Lords to press for similar requirements in England. It is understood that the Johnson Government is considering opposing it.


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