The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations
The minimum level of energy efficiency for domestic private rented property in England and Wales is Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band E. The energy efficiency of a property can be found on the Domestic Energy Performance Certificate Register.
Since 1 April 2018, landlords of domestic properties have not been permitted to grant a new tenancy, or renew an existing tenancy, for a property rated EPC F or G (unless an exemption applies). The landlord must improve the rating to minimum of EPC E (or register an exemption, if one applies) before letting.
From 1 April 2020, the minimum level of energy efficiency will apply to all domestic privately rented properties covered by the Regulations, even if there has been no change in tenancy. So, from 1 April 2020, landlords may not continue to let properties with an EPC rating of F or G, even to an existing tenant (unless an exemption applies). Landlords are encouraged to take action as soon as possible to ensure their properties meet or exceed EPC E by April 2020.
If an exemption applies, landlords must register this on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register (guidance). Full details of exemptions are set out in the updated Domestic Landlord Guidance.
The 2019 amending Regulations introduce a financial contribution component for landlords of EPC F- and G-rated homes in the private rented sector, capped at £3,500 (inc. VAT) per property.
Other key changes include the introduction of a new 'high cost' exemption, which landlords will be able to register (if they meet the criteria) on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register from 1 April 2019. Furthermore, the previously available 'no cost to the landlord' exemption will no longer be available (and will no longer appear on the Exemptions Register as of 1 April 2019). Existing 'no cost to the landlord' exemptions will be curtailed so that they end on 31 March 2020, instead of after 5 years. All affected landlords will be contacted directly at the start of April. Finally, the 'consent exemption' will no longer be available to landlords in cases where a sitting tenant has withheld consent to a Green Deal finance plan.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) intends to publish a series of quick guides during April to help landlords understand their obligations under the amended Regulations.