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New rules now in force, but are you energy efficient?

It’s not been long since the government’s new rules regarding Minimum Energy Efficiency standards came into force, yet many landlords are still not aware how this affects them and future tenancies. From 1 April 2018 it has been illegal to undertake a new let or tenancy renewal on any privately rented property that does not meet the new minimum energy performance rating of E. This will be extended to all new tenancies on 1 April 2020.

This means that any properties that you are looking to let that do not meet the new minimum standard on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) are, in effect, un-lettable unless work is undertaken to increase their rating. This has been brought into force as the government is committed to raising the energy standards in the UK.

At Rees Associates we are advising any landlord looking to undertake energy efficiency improvement work to think about trying to achieve above an E, as it is believed that the government will likely raise the minimum energy efficiency rating again in the future. By undertaking the extra work required now, you could prevent additional costs associated with further improvement and a subsequent void period.

“If the landlord lets a sub-standard property for more than three months, in breach of the Regulations, registers misleading information on the PRS Exemptions register in relation to that letting, and fails to comply fully with a compliance notice served in relation to that letting, the enforcement authority could impose a financial penalty of up to £160,000 (up to £150,000 for letting the property, up to £5,000 for registering false or misleading information, and up to £5,000 for failure to comply with a compliance notice),” states the government.

The types of improvements that you can undertake to ensure a property is compliant are set out in the landlord guidance within the government’s ‘Property Minimum Standards’. These are all listed in the Green Deal (Qualifying Energy Improvements) Order 2012 Schedule, and include:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Biomass boilers and room heaters (with radiators)
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Cylinder thermostats
  • Draught-proofing
  • Gas-fired condensing boilers
  • Hot water showers
  • External wall insulation systems
  • Heating controls for wet central heating systems or warm air systems
  • High performance external doors
  • Lighting systems, fittings, and controls (including rooflights, lamps and luminaires)
  • Loft or rafter insulation (including loft hatch insulation)
  • Pipework insulation
  • Replacement glazing
  • Roof insulation
  • Sealing improvements (including duct sealing)
  • Under-floor heating
  • Water source heat pumps

There are exceptions, but professionals advise that applying for an exemption should be your last resort. We don’t want any current, future, or potential landlords to fall foul by not meeting this new minimum standard, so if you would like some advice on making the necessary changes, don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team.