The government will open its Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) exemptions register on October 1.
However, government guidance on MEES, including details of properties that will be exempt, has yet to be published.
As of April 2018, all PRS homes must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E or it will be illegal to rent them out. The rule applies to new tenancies and renewals, but will be extended to existing tenancies by April 2020.
This means any homes rated F or G must be improved or taken off the rental market, unless they qualify for an exemption.
Richard Jones, RLA company secretary and policy adviser has been in discussions with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy regarding the issues.
He said: “I have clarification that the key trigger at the moment will actually be signing up a tenancy agreement, even if the date on which the tenant moves in is delayed.
“This means that if the tenancy agreement is signed before 1st April 2018 MEES will not apply at that stage. This the case even though the tenant may not move in until a later date.”
Landlords that have F or G rated properties are also being advised they could opt to defer action to improve properties until after new recalibrated EPCs are produced.
It has been estimated that 100,000 properties across the country could have been given incorrect EPC ratings as the previous tests underestimated the standards of insulation for solid wall properties.
New recalibrated EPC software should be introduced from November onwards and if landlords with F or G rated properties get a new EPC after that date, they could find they could be given a higher rating – for example bumped up from an F to and E to meet the new standards.
There has also been greater clarification in terms of listed buildings.
Richard added: “If the listed building has been let or sold at any stage since EPCs were first introduced and has a current valid EPC (i.e. no more than 10 years old) then the landlord should assume that he/she is subject to the Regulations, if the property is F or G rated.
“They should then check with the local planning authority to see if permission is required for any of the proposed works which they need to do.
“If permission cannot be obtained then application can be made to register an exemption. However, any works that are permissible will have to be done, unless some other exemption applies and is registered.”
To read our updated RLA guidance click here.