Energy Efficiency Changes Unclear to Landlords

Nearly two-thirds of UK landlords are not fully aware of regulation aiming to improve energy efficiency in the buy to let sector laid out in the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) set to come into effect in April 2018.

The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for England and Wales, banning new leases on properties with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E from the 1st April 2018 onwards. The ruling is applicable to all properties, aside from those who have applied for an exemption. The regulation means that landlords whose properties to do not meet the minimum standard will be unable to renew existing tenancies or agree to new lets.

Worryingly however, 25 per cent of landlords are unaware of the requirements of the MEES regulations, whilst 42 per cent claim to be only ‘vaguely aware.’ 27 per cent do not know the EPC rating of their property, and 49 per cent are unaware of the penalty for breaching the ruling. 31 per cent underestimated the penalty for doing so.

After three months, landlords could be charged up to 20 per cent of the rateable value of their property for breaching the regulation, and it is thus crucial they remain aware.

Energy efficiency expert at E.ON, Mike Feely, commented: ‘Government housing data already shows that the private rented sector has the highest proportion of properties falling in the F and G bands, so it’s vital landlords look into what they need to do before the regulations come into effect. Whether landlords have in the past been put off by the perceived hassle, expense, or their own lack of knowledge around the subject, the clock is definitely ticking on the need to improve properties. For landlords worried about the potential cost of upgrading properties, financial support may also be available through the Energy Company Obligation if tenants meet certain qualifying criteria.’