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Private Landlord Forum

Private Landlord update

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Welcome to the 15th edition of our newsletters for the Private landlord's forum.

We are committed to working with landlords and recognises the important role the forum plays in engaging with private landlords and agents to support good practice and promote the sector. 

This newsletter provides information and relevant updates on private rented sector matters. You will also find links to other websites and contact details as well. 

As noted in previous newsletters, an empty property is any privately owned home that has been empty for six months or more. Owning an empty property is an expensive and troublesome responsibility, with increased council tax charges, security and maintenance costs, risk of vandalism, and complaints from neighbours. The total cost of leaving a property empty is estimated to be between £8,638 and £10,438 per year. The Empty Homes Value Tool will provide more information on this. Empty properties can also have negative consequences for the local area including the possible reduction in the value of neighbouring properties.

Harnessing this resource provides a cost-effective way to help address the national housing shortage and meet local needs. The average cost to return an empty home to a habitable state is estimated to cost between £6,000 and £12,000. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, most people are spending more time at home and looking for properties that provide a place to both relax and work from. As noted elsewhere in this newsletter, the housing market is especially buoyant at the moment, making it an ideal time for owners of empty properties to sell these or bring them to the rental market.

Empty homes service

We have recently recruited a dedicated Empty Homes Officer to help support owners to bring properties back into use. Help and advice are available on a range of topics including:

  • VAT discounts available for renovation work on empty properties
  • Finding tenants through our Housing Options Team and other services
  • Financial incentives available for energy efficiency work
  • Selling a property through an estate agent or via auction.

The service is also planning to explore the development of other initiatives. This includes a proposal to evaluate the feasibility of a Matchmaker Scheme which would link empty property owners with purchasers looking to buy properties. Updates on this proposal will be published on the Council’s website.

Convinced of the benefits?

If you are the owner of an empty property and would like help exploring the options available to you to bring the property back into use, please see our page on Empty homes.

Landlord Accreditation Scotland (LAS) continues to provide online training and accreditation for private landlords based on Scottish legislation. Accreditation, along with regular attendance at webinars, provides landlords with knowledge on key issues and how to implement change when required. Becoming accredited with LAS is free for landlords and allows you to take advantage of the best prices for the webinars.

The number of attendees on the webinars is limited to provide the best training experience possible in the time given. The webinars last for one hour and are live. The format is optimized to allow you to get the absolute most out of the session providing opportunities for questions to be answered at the end.

The range of webinars provided by LAS covers both legislation and best practice in the Scottish private rented sector.  It can be very difficult to keep track of the changes to legislation that affect the responsibilities of landlords and the webinars provided by LAS ensure that landlords are updated in line with the ever-changing legislation.

Wednesday 16 August 2023, 2pm – 3pm
Safety Compliance and Certification for Private-rented Properties

Wednesday 22 November 2023, 2pm – 3pm
Creating the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT)

Not sure if a webinar is for you? Call the LAS office and they will happily talk you through the process.

How to book: Booking can be made using the links above or by visiting the LAS website.

For further information on accreditation, please call 0131 553 2211 or email:

Please note invitations to attend the forum are sent by email by our Landlord Registration Team to all registered landlords. Please make sure we have your correct email address. Update your details at or by emailing

If you are looking for a full assessment of your rental properties, discuss EPC, or would like advice on funding and incentives – Home Energy Scotland can help.

In 2019, the Scottish Government published regulations covering details of applying the minimum standards and exemptions as part of a wider programme to make homes warmer, greener, and more efficient.  From 31 March 2025, properties will need to have a minimum standard equivalent to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C. This will help in improving conditions for tenants in the coldest homes and help tackle fuel poverty. It will also reduce carbon emissions and help meet climate change targets.

Date Minimum EPC Rating Lettings Affected
From 1 October 2020 E New tenancy
By 31 March 2022 E All tenancies
From 1 April 2022 D New tenancy
By 31 March 2025 C All tenancies

Free, impartial specialist advice

If you need advice on funding or are looking for advice on your EPC, Home Energy Scotland (HES) can help. Funded by the Scottish Government, HES has specially trained advisors who offer free and impartial advice. There’s plenty of support available from the HES website – see other useful websites tab below

Private Landlord Specialist from HES will be able to discuss your property at a time that suits you. This support includes but is not limited to: discussing different improvements that could be suitable for your property, financial support available, or a more detailed report can be provided following an assessment of your property.

Be prepared and plan ahead

If the property does not have a valid EPC, you can visit the Scottish EPC register – link available in the other useful websites tab below where you will find an EPC assessor. This ensures that as the landlord you will be prepared for any changes that may need to happen.

Contact Home Energy Scotland today

All HES specialists who work with landlords are trained Domestic Energy Assessors and understand the process behind creating an EPC. This makes them well-placed to help you understand the information on your EPC and work out how you can make your properties more efficient and improve your EPC rating.

Your  HES specialist advisor – Stuart Whitney, will be able to discuss your property at a time that suits you from  Monday – Friday 8am to 8pm, or Saturday 9am to 5pm, by telephone at 0808 808 2282, email at  or in-person.

For more information visit:

Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan: overview · Home Energy Scotland

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