Open Letter to Minister for Housing on impacts of COVID-19 on rural housing

General News

Scottish Land & Estates has written to Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, to express concerns regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on landlords ability to fully prepare for the introduction of the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

Letter to Mr Stewart:

Dear Mr Stewart, 

I am writing to you with concerns regarding the consequences of the Covid-19 coronavirus on Scotland’s vital supply of rural private rented homes. 

I welcome the swift action by the Scottish Government in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic and the support put in place to assist tenants and landlords. This virus, and the measures put in place to combat it, will impact lives throughout the country and we are supporting our members to help them adapt and to support their tenants and wider communities.  

However, I am extremely concerned by the ability of rural landlords to deal with the rapidly approaching Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and the deadline of the 1st October 2020 for enforcement.

While Scotland is in lockdown and activities are limited to essential work only, it is not feasible for landlords to make the necessary energy efficiency changes. The First Minister has asked non-essential construction to stop and this therefore prevents landlords from instructing energy efficiency improvement work.

Furthermore, we firmly believe neither tenants nor tradespeople should be placed in a position where they are concerned about infection, particularly at a time when government advice is to reduce all unnecessary contact. 

We are committed to working with our members to improve the condition of housing stock across Scotland. However, these are unprecedented times and in order to give this the best chance of success, we urge the Scottish Government to implement a twelve-month delay to the introduction of the Energy Efficiency Regulations.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
David Johnstone