As many of our landlords already know, in 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulators introduced new measures to improve energy efficiency of many private rented properties in England and Wales.
As a result of these new measures, from April 2016, landlords are unable to reasonably refuse to upgrade the energy efficiency of their of rental properties if requested by tenants. The measures introduced Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) which takes the energy efficiency rating information from an EPC which was carried out within the last 10 years. The next change which affects tenanted properties and landlords comes into force from 1st April 2018, this new law makes it illegal to rent out a property which does not reach the MEES rating of E (39+) as recorded on a property’s EPC.
This means that if your most recent EPC rated the property as a G (1-20) or an F (21-38) you must carry out some or all of the works recommended from the EPC to raise the Energy Efficiency Rating to an E or above. These works must be carried out before April 1st 2018 and a new EPC Certificate must be issued with the new rating.
If your property does not meet these minimum requirements, there are many things you cannot do with your property. Your property cannot be marketing for rental, a new tenancy may not commence, and you are unable to renew an existing tenancy. In addition, existing tenants would have to be given notice to vacate the property and the property cannot be rented again until the necessary works have been carried out.
There are a number of penalties which can be levied against non-compliant landlords, depending on the severity on the offence. These range from a fine of £1,000 and a publication of non-compliance, to a £4,000 fixed penalty notice if the property has been rented out for up to 6 months.
However, there is action which landlords can take to avoid such penalties. First, all landlords should check what works have been carried out on their property in the last 10 years as it is very likely that you have carried out works which will mean that your MEES rating will be higher. These include any upgrades of the heating system, including the installation of a new boiler or thermostats, installation of double glazing or loft insulation, and the installation of low energy lighting. If you have had any of these works carried out, it is important to ensure that the assessor who carries out the EPC is aware of the works completed so that they can correctly record the energy efficiency of the property.
Here at Robert Irving Burns, we always try our utmost to assist our clients in adapting to any new property legislation which may affect them. We are currently going through all of our records of properties rented through RIB and reviewing our EPC records. We will contact all landlords whose current EPC was carried out prior to 2012 which the current rating is a low E as changes to how the rating system works may mean that they are now in the lower banding of F.
If your property is at risk someone from our dedicated team will be in contact with you to discuss the action that you may take.