Government law to boost energy efficiency of private rented homes

rulesLandlords are to be required by law to raise the energy efficiency of their properties to at least Band E under new Government plans.

From April 2018, all private rented accommodation in the UK will have to be upgraded under proposals that are expected to benefit up to one million tenants. Government estimates suggest that on average the difference in a heating bill from the least energy efficient properties and those with an energy rating Band

“E” is œ880.

Ed Davey, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said:

“These new laws will plug the gaps in draughty homes – helping households to keep warm and drive down bills.

“Many of the poorest tenants will benefit and, with Government support, landlords can improve their properties at no upfront cost. It’s good news all round.”

Amber Rudd, parliamentary under secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said:

“These new regulations will drive bills down in some of the worst-insulated homes where up to one million tenants are paying too much to keep warm. It’s also good news for landlords, who can benefit from improved properties with the financial support of the Green Deal and other schemes, and a real boost to the industry.”

The implications of DECC’s announcement have been welcomed by many across the energy efficiency sector. John Alker, acting CEO of the UK Green Building Council, said:

“This could be the single most significant piece of legislation to affect our existing building stock in a generation, affecting a huge swathe of rented properties. Government deserves huge credit for sticking to its guns.

“This could provide the impetus needed to upgrade our worst-performing, most energy-hungry rented properties and help to kick-start a multi-million pound market in energy efficiency products and services in the UK.”

Despite uncertainty surrounding the outcome of 2015’s General Election, DECC says schemes like the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which have resulted in energy efficiency installations in more than one million homes, will still be in place to allow landlords to seek ways of funding improvements.

However, the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) has claimed that basing the framework of the new law on funding that may not exist in 2018 is wrong, both as a matter of law and practice. ACE also says the Government should have set a trajectory for increasing the minimum standard to EPC D in 2022 and to EPC C in 2026. It claims an EPC rating of E is only

“the best of the worst”, and a trajectory would have encouraged landlords to go further in one go as opposed to only providing the minimum requirement.

The announcement also includes details of a secondary ruling due to come into effect in April 2016 that will allow tenants to request consent from landlords for making improvements to their homes, which cannot be unreasonably refused.

To view the Government’s announcement, click here

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