Landlords have many challenges in delivering net zero, particularly those operating in rural areas and the islands. Most landlords are facing uncertain but significant and new costs for investing in energy efficiency and to achieve the decarbonisation of heating. This is in the context of a rent freeze until March 2023 and uncertainty in what rent increases may be permitted from April onward. This is the key message from the Scottish Housing Regulator at the Scottish Rural and Islands Conference held yesterday in Glencoe.
The main theme of the conference was energy efficiency and the obligations landlords need to meet around net-zero decarbonisation. In a speech to the conference, Andrew Watson, The Regulator’s Deputy Chair, recognised these challenges that landlords face. He also highlighted that many are also continuing to invest in building new homes at a time of increasing costs for, and supply shortages in, labour and materials.
"It is now even more vital that landlords vigorously challenge every element of their expenditure to ensure that it is necessary. Landlords will also need to be able to demonstrate – principally to their tenants – that they are operating as efficiently as possible. Any planned increase in rents that is permitted needs to represent value for money, whether that’s to pay for energy efficiency measures or anything else.
“And landlords should continue to have meaningful and effective dialogue with tenants around what is important to them and what they want, and can afford, to pay for. As part of that, landlords should consider how the net zero and other relevant obligations placed upon them are weaved into these conversations.”
Notes to editors
- The Scottish Housing Regulator was established on 1 April 2011 under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010. Its objective is to safeguard and promote the interests of tenants and others who use local authority and RSL housing services. The Regulator operates independently of Scottish Ministers and is accountable directly to the Scottish Parliament. It assumed its full regulatory responsibilities on 1 April 2012. The Regulator consists of the Chair and eight Board members. More information about the Regulator can be found on its website at housingregulator.gov.scot
- SHR sets out how it regulates social landlords in its published framework – Regulation of Social Housing in Scotland.