Categories
Energy Housing

Housing Standards To Cut Climate Change Emissions

Views sought on proposed rules requiring zero emissions heating systems in all new build homes.

The Scottish Government has today published a consultation asking for views on the proposed New Build Heat Standard.

The new rules would mean all new build homes must have heating that produces zero direct greenhouse gas emissions, helping to meet climate change targets.

The measures aim to ensure that heating systems in all new buildings given consent from 2024 are zero-emissions, in line with the recommendation from the UK Committee on Climate Change that this is achieved from 2025 at the latest.

The consultation sets out a range of outcomes for the standard to achieve, including ensuring new homes and non-residential buildings are affordable to heat, supporting the delivery of a continued supply of high quality homes, and offer opportunities for retraining and upskilling workers to install zero emissions heating systems.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“The pace of decarbonising Scotland’s domestic and non-domestic buildings has to increase significantly to achieve our targets on climate change. The New Build Heat Standard will be an important contribution to this to ensure emissions from heating and cooling our buildings fall close to zero.

“We want to combine the action we need to meet the challenge of the climate emergency with our ambition to provide affordable, warm homes. We are seeking views from stakeholders on the most effective way to introduce this Standard to ensure it is deliverable and fit for purpose.”

Professor Lynne Sullivan OBE – A an expert in zero carbon buildings and Chair of the Good Homes Alliance, who co-chaired the New Build Heat Standard working group – said:“We recognised the priority for new buildings to achieve higher efficiency and be ready for zero emissions heating sources, in line with Scotland’s world-leading climate commitments.

“We welcome the consultation on new homes, and believe the targets are achievable with existing technologies at scale. Delivery will unlock long-term economic benefits as well as future-proof Scottish homes.”

Background

The consultation can be found via this link:  New Build Heat Standard – Scoping Consultation – Scottish Government – Citizen Space

New Build Heat Standard Working Group

To support the development of the New Build Heat Standard, an external working group was established to provide advice and expertise to the Scottish Government – and this was instrumental during the drafting of this Scoping Consultation. The group, which features representation across a wide-variety of interests and areas, is co-chaired by respected zero carbon buildings expert, Professor Lynne Sullivan OBE.

Zero Emissions from Heat

Our Scoping Consultation sets out our proposals that any installed heating system (both in terms of a building’s main and any other fixed heating system) would produce no direct greenhouse gas emissions at the point of use. This is to regulate direct emissions that the building owner has control over: emissions from any heating systems contained within a new building.

As part of this consultation process, we are welcoming evidence on how heating technologies could be considered compliant with a ‘zero emissions’ standard.

We have set out our view that heat generated by electricity or by heat networks would produce zero direct emissions at point of use. We recognise that there are other technologies that could produce zero direct emissions, or very nearly zero direct emissions, and are seeking evidence on these. Any approach taken would be kept under review as further evidence on these technologies develops.

Affordable Housing Supply Programme

The Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme continues to support affordable housing providers who wish to install zero emissions heating systems at point of use in their homes. We are evaluating a number of current and pipeline affordable housing projects with these systems, which collectively comprise approximately 900 affordable homes, with the findings from the evaluation making an important contribution to the development of the 2024 Standard.

Affordable Housing Supply Programme

The Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Supply Programme continues to support affordable housing providers who wish to install zero emissions heating systems at point of use in their homes.  We are evaluating a number of current and pipeline affordable housing projects with these systems, which collectively comprise approximately 900 affordable homes, with the findings from the evaluation making an important contribution to the development of the 2024 Standard.

Categories
Coronavirus Housing Social Security

Increased Support for Tenants from Scot Gov

New scheme to help those impacted by pandemic.

A £10 million fund which offers interest-free loans to tenants who are struggling with rent arrears opens for applications today.

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is designed to help people who have had their finances or employment impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and do not have other means of housing support.

The new fund is part of a range of support and interventions in response to the pandemic. By giving tenants access to loans to cover a maximum of nine months worth of rent arrears and long repayment terms, it provides another option for people who have lost out financially due to the pandemic, but who can’t claim support from other means, such as welfare benefits.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“There is no single solution to the difficulties being experienced as a result of the impacts of the pandemic in Scotland, and the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund is a part of a broader effort to support those who are affected.

“We want people to access the most appropriate form of financial support. For the majority of tenants facing financial difficulties and arrears the best means of support is regular non-repayable support, for example through Universal Credit and Discretionary Housing Payments.

“However, for those who may fall through the gap and are unable to claim such support, or who might be thinking of borrowing, this new Fund will be a helping hand to manage any rent issues that have arisen in the last few months as a result of the impact of COVID-19.”

Background

Applications for the Tenant Hardship Loan Fund can be completed online

Learn more about renting and your rights during coronavirus if you have a private landlord or a social landlord.

Loans will be available for social and private tenants up to a maximum of nine months’ rent costs covering rent arrears and future rent, where those arrears have arisen since 1 January 2020 (the loan will not be available where a tenant had rent arrears before this date). The loan can include up to a maximum of three months of future rent payments as part of the nine-month total.

The loan provides an additional short-term offer that supports tenants to manage rent arrears and helps them to come back into paying their rent. Loan repayments will be deferred for six months as standard and repaid over a five-year period. This recognises the continuing uncertainty around the impacts of the pandemic.

The Tenant Hardship Loan Fund offers will be subject to an affordability assessment as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to responsible lending. The affordability assessment looks at the applicant’s incomings and outgoings to check whether the applicant has enough surplus income, after other costs, to make the loan payments.

The application process for the loan highlights that there may be other more appropriate financial support options available to them and will signpost people to sources of further advice and support before making an application.

The Fund is part of the range of support and interventions in response to the pandemic, including the extended notice periods within the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act, introduction of private landlord pre-action requirements and the increases to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs), along with interest free loans for landlords.

Categories
Coronavirus Housing

Christmas Eviction Ban Introduced in Scotland

Six week temporary halt to protect tenants

Enforcement of evictions from rented properties will be halted in Scotland for a six week period until mid-January.

The move will give extra protection to tenants during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It will reduce the burden on local authorities, who have a duty to rehouse people made homeless through evictions, and will also make it easier for people to self-isolate if they choose to form extended bubbles during the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions over Christmas.

Regulations will now be introduced that will prevent eviction orders being brought between 11 December and 22 January, with the exception of cases of serious anti-social behaviour.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“We took early action to, in effect, halt eviction action until March 2021 due to the pandemic. We have supported tenants throughout this difficult period through a number of actions including increasing our Discretionary Housing Fund from £11 million to £19 million to provide additional housing support and shortly we will introduce our Tenant Hardship Loan Fund.

“We are now taking this additional, temporary step after carefully assessing the unique housing situation created by the pandemic.

“A temporary ban on carrying out evictions will give additional peace of mind to tenants over Christmas and into the new year. It will also prevent additional burdens being placed on health and housing services, during a time where they are already working hard due to the impact of the pandemic.

“It will allow tenants who are facing eviction, and may decide to take the opportunity to form extended bubbles over the festive period in line with relaxed guidance, time to effectively self-isolate afterwards should they come into contact with a positive person.

“Where there is evidence of serious anti-social or criminal behaviour, including in cases of domestic abuse, evictions can still proceed as normal.” 

Background:

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 is an emergency law to protect renters in Scotland during coronavirus.

The temporary law applies to all eviction notices issued on or after 7 April 2020. The original end date was 30 September 2020. The Scottish Parliament has extended the law until 31 March 2021 with some changes to notice periods.

Further information on tenants’ rights during the pandemic can be accessed here: https://www.mygov.scot/private-rental-rights/

Categories
Housing

Increased Funding Commitment for Affordable Homes

Greater certainty for housing providers.

Housing providers and the construction sector can plan more affordable homes thanks to an additional £200 million funding commitment announced today by Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell.

Ahead of the Scottish Budget in January, the interim funding available for the Affordable Housing Supply Programme in 2021-22 has been increased from £300 million to £500 million.

This will help provide funding certainty for local authorities, housing associations and the construction sector as they look to recover from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Affordable Housing Supply Programme helps to deliver homes for social rent, mid-market rent and shared equity.

Ms Campbell said:

“COVID-19 has underlined the value of home as a safe place to live. This announcement shows our dedication to continue delivering affordable, warm, secure homes for the people of Scotland and to build on our achievement of delivering nearly 96,000 affordable homes since 2007.

“By significantly increasing the funding able to be committed now, we are building on our record £3.5 billion commitment over this Parliament and our plans for further capital investment laid out recently in our draft Infrastructure Investment Plan. This will help the economy and the construction sector to recover from the pandemic while ensuring we maintain momentum in the delivery of social and affordable homes to those who need them.”