Environment, Safety and Standards Property Management Regulation and Enforcement

Energy efficiency: One month to go until new rules come in

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

Today marks just a month until new rules concerning Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into force. 

From April 1, any properties rented out in the private rented sector will need a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  

The new rules cover all new lets and renewals and will be extended to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.

The exemption register is currently open – and revised software to be used by assessors to calculate EPCs, is now being issued, following a campaign by the RLA over ratings for solid wall homes.

However, the information out there can be conflicting and confusing.

 Dave Princep, the RLA’s health and safety consultant, has shared his advice to landlords – with advice to landlords with F and G rated properties – as well as any with homes rated below C.

We look back at his blog on the new requirements and urge those of you who are unaware of the changes to get to grips with them now, to avoid being caught out by the new rules. He said: “

“If you have a low EPC, applying for an exemption should really be your last resort.

Any exemption registered on the database triggers an automatic email to the relevant local authority, informing them that the premises is F or G band.

The local authority could then take action under the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) to force the landlord to carry out improvements works to remedy a cold hazard, with HHSRS unaffected by the exemption register. In short, you may have to do the works anyway.

Although HHSRS does not mention any specific EPC ratings as being equivalent to a Category 1 Hazard, the lower the EPC the greater the probability that action would be warranted.

The recently published Government’s Clean Growth Strategy indicates that they will be shortly looking at increasing the energy efficiency standards that will apply to the domestic PRS – probably incrementally increasing the minimum EPC band at which premises may be let over the coming years.

Against this background it is recommended that landlords whose premises are below a band C to consider undertaking all cost-effective energy improvements whenever undertaking major refurbishment or significant works at their properties.

Those with band E premises should look carefully at their premises and carry out any less disruptive and cost-effective works as soon as they can and they consider scheduling in other energy refurbishments over the medium term.

Landlords with an F band whose rental properties are of solid wall construction should consider undertaking a new EPC assessment once the software is upgraded – which should be anytime soon. (Watch this space for further information on this).

According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) around 100,000 PRS homes will be upgraded into Band E and therefore unaffected by the current restrictions.

Quite simply members with F & G ratings must take urgent action.

Funding and finance options are currently available for RLA members and other landlords and we would strongly advise landlords take advantage of it while the offer is there.’

 For further information on grant and finance available though the RLA’s energy parters see the RLA’s energy efficiency funding page.

In addition to this the RLA has just launched two new classroom courses in Energy Efficiency Regulations and Practical Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. For more information and to book click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

3 Comments

  • Whilst the changes to property energy efficiency is admirable it does seem to be very bias towards properties in urban areas of ‘square box’ construction connected to mains gas. My properties are in a rural location; no mains gas and nowhere an Oil fired boiler system could be installed. But also is burning Hydrocarbon fuels (Gas, Oil) a sensible long term measure or typical UK government ‘Quick Fix’ that will need replacing in the near future?
    I’ve tried to fit the properties out with clean sustainable heat sources but I’m now being penalised for doing that.

  • Hi! My property EPC is assessed as F35. It is a 350year old cottage with solid stone walls. I understand that I can register for exemption but that RLA have advised waiting until software is updated. My letting agent is insisting that I either a) register exemption immediately or b) upgrade the heating system and get a new EPC with a higher rating. The tenancy is due for renewal on 6th May but the tenant signed the rental agreement before 1st April.
    Could you please advise on immediate action?

    • If the tenancy agreement was signed before 1st April 2018 then the tenancy does not trigger the minimum standard even though the tenant moves in after that date. The agent should be referred to the 4th paragraph in Appendix B to the Government Guidance on Giov.UK website. This Guidance can be found under Private Rented Sector Property Minimum Standards Guidance in the Domestic Landlord Guide. I hope this helps.

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