Q. I am a Landlord and have heard that the government is planning to implement that homes in the private rental sector with either an ‘F’ or ‘G’ energy efficiency rating must be improved to an ‘E’. Can you shed some further light on this worrying issue?
A. As early as next year there are changes that will come into effect which will impact how low the energy efficiency of a home in the private rented sector needs to be in order to be legally let. Sadly the financial costs associated with these amendments could prove to be a nasty shock for landlords. In May 2011 the Secretary of State for Energy and climate Change announced that from 2016 any tenant or their representatives asking for their Landlords consent to make reasonable energy efficiency improvements cannot be refused! Reasonable improvements for properties are those outlined in Green Deal assessments, EPC’S or qualified surveyors reports and can include things like installing double glazing or loft, floor or wall insulation. From 2018 Landlords will need to ensure that their rental properties reach a legal Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS). Those homes that have an ‘F’ or ‘G’ rating will need to implement changes to boost their properties energy efficiency to the ‘E’ category. If Landlords do not take reasonable steps to ensure that their property meets the minimum standard outlined in the Energy Act 2011, and any upcoming regulations, it will be illegal for them or a letting agent to let the property. The changes will need to be implemented prior to April 2018 unless the home is exempt under secondary legislation or the Landlord has used all available funding or subsidies to make reasonable improvements but is still unable to increase the efficiency rating to ‘E’. I would advise that Landlords keep a close watch on MEPS developments in the future. Although it is widely expected that the ‘E’ band will remain the minimum rating this may change in the future as more emphasis is placed on energy efficiency. Under the Green Deal, Landlords can make improvements without having to pay all the costs upfront, for more information go to www.gov.uk and search Green Deal.