Regulations are soon coming into force which mean that it will become illegal for landlords to rent out their properties if they fall below the new energy efficiency standards.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (MEES) are designed to tackle the environmental and economic problems associated with the least energy-efficient properties in England and Wales.
The Regulations apply to both domestic and non-domestic (ie. residential and commercial) privately rented property. Landlords of “sub-standard” properties should act now, if they have not already, to avoid potential loss of rent and penalties.
The minimum level of energy efficiency permitted by the Regulations for both domestic and non-domestic privately rented property is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E. The Regulations mean:
- From 1 April 2018, subject to certain requirements and exemptions, landlords of
relevant domestic or non-domestic privately rented properties may not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if the property has an EPC rating lower than E (ie. a rating of F or G, as shown on a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the property)
- From 1 April 2020, landlords must not continue letting a relevant domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating lower than E
- From 1 April 2023, landlords must not continue letting a non-domestic property which is already let if that property has an EPC rating lower than E.
The MEES Regulations do not actually impose a positive obligation on landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvement works to privately rented properties but the above restrictions will apply if they do not and penalties will be imposed if the restrictions are breached.
A second key measure introduced by the Regulations is that they enable the tenant of a domestic privately rented property to request the landlord’s consent to the tenant making energy efficiency improvements to the property despite there being restrictions on making improvements in their lease. Subject to certain exemptions, the landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent to such a request by the tenant. This measure came into force on 1 April 2016.
The government has issued guidance to landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property on complying with the Regulations (which includes details on the penalties for breach) – to view this guidance visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-private-rented-property-minimum-standard-landlord-guidance-documents.
For further enquiries, please contact Amee Popat.