New regulations requiring landlords to upgrade the coldest privately rented properties in the UK

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 will be amended to enhance the responsibility of landlords to ensure homes are energy efficient.

Currently, the regulations require landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic properties to ensure an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants and failure to comply with the regulations enable local authorities to use enforcement measures or issue fines of up to £5,000.00 against landlords in breach.

The new regulations will also require landlords where properties fall below an E rating to make an investment (capped at £3,500.00) or to bring properties up to standard.  Any investments made since October 2017 will be able to be counted within the cap.

These regulations will apply to new tenancies to new tenants but also to new tenancies to an existing tenant and therefore will apply when a tenancy switched from a fixed term to a periodic monthly tenancy or when a new fixed term is granted.

The current position in relation to funding is that landlords are only required to make the relevant improvements to properties using third party funding, these regulations will therefore require landlords to invest in their properties themselves.  It has been found that very little use has been made of available funding and therefore stronger regulation is required to force landlords to invest in the energy efficiency of their properties. 

The £3,500.00 cap includes any funding that may be able to be sourced by landlords to assist with the cost of the works.  One of the current finance plans is the Green Deal Finance which means that the charges of any improvement works are added to the electricity bill.  This ultimately means the tenant ends up paying for the works to the property, which the landlord, in the long term, benefits from due to the general improvement of the property.  Currently if a tenant refuses to consent to the Green Deal charge being added to the electricity bill, the landlord would be exempt from carrying out the works to improve the rating of the property.  However this exemption will no longer apply and tenants will still be entitled to benefit from improvements to the energy rating of the property where they have refused to take on responsibility for a Green Deal Finance Plan.

Should the works cost more than £3,500.00 landlords will be able to claim an exemption by evidencing 3 quotations for works that are about this amount.

If you have any queries in relation to your requirements as a landlord please do not hesitate to contact our team at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP on 01702 338338.