Landlords urged to ensure properties meet new energy efficiency regulations

green heatPrivate landlords in England and Wales are being urged to ensure their properties meet new energy efficiency regulations, or risk being unable to let them out to tenants.

In a bid to tackle fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions, landlords will be required to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes to at least a band E rating by April 1, 2018. Those whose properties have a lower rating of F and G will be required to bring them up to the new minimum or face penalties.

The government estimates that one in ten of England and Wales’ 4.2 million privately rented homes currently fall below the minimum band E rating, with nearly 20% of these households in fuel poverty – almost double the national average. Private rentals also make up the highest number of homes failing the Decent Homes Standard.

Peter Thom, of energy efficiency specialists, Green Heat, welcomes this announcement as a much-needed step forward in reducing energy consumption and enabling tenants to live in properly insulated homes they can afford to heat.

Peter said:

“Fuel poverty is a major problem in this country, particularly among those living in rented accommodation, who are often on low incomes and more vulnerable. Many are paying much higher bills in an attempt to keep heat-leaking properties warm and suffering poor health as a result of draughty, damp living conditions.”

These new energy efficiency regulations could help a million tenants currently paying around £1,000 more than average on their energy bills.

It is estimated that tenants pay on average £880 more per year for energy if they live in a property whose rating is below band E and the least energy efficient privately-rented properties cost around £1,000 more than a typical band C rated home. Only five per cent of England’s 2.3 million fuel poor homes achieve the band C standard, costing tenants hundreds of pounds more than necessary to keep warm.

Peter said:

“We have some of the oldest and least energy-efficient homes in Europe, which are a huge cost to budgets, well-being and the environment. Measures making it impossible to rent a property that fails to meet an adequate Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is a vital step forward, not only in protecting tenants, but also in reducing carbon emissions. This will make a significant improvement to the nation’s housing stock and landlords’ carbon footprint.”

Green Heat has been lobbying for tougher legislation to improve the energy efficiency of UK properties for some time. In 2009, it launched the G2Action website at the Houses of Parliament with the aim of encouraging housing providers and homeowners to improve energy efficiency.

The site clarifies some of the confusing and conflicting information on what can be done to achieve the best results, including guidance for both social and private landlords.

An EPC is required whenever a new tenant moves in. As well as an energy efficiency rating, this will provide guidance on the improvements that could be carried out in the near future to make the property more energy efficient.

Peter said: ”

This benefits both tenant and landlord. Tenants will have a warmer, more comfortable home that is cheaper to heat and which they’re more likely to stay in for longer. For landlords, empty periods, complaints and repairs should decrease as a result.

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