As of the 1st of April 2018 over 400,000 properties in England and Wales may be considered unlettable due to the new energy performance standards which are due to come into force.
The 1st April 2018 will see a set of new Minimum Efficiency Energy Standards (MEES) come into effect. They have been set out by The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Sector) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015; the aim of the new legislation is to make it unlawful to renew or grant a new tenancy of longer than 6 months if a property has an EPC rating of ‘F’ or lower.
For many landlords the new legislation came as a huge shock; since EPC was first introduced the standards landlords have to meet to achieve a grade ‘E’ has changed. With pricey improvements required, it is thought landlords will try to pass on the cost to tenants.
What will this mean for me?
This means that after April 2018, a landlord must carry out energy efficiency improvements to bring the property up to at least an ‘E’ rating before the property is rented out. This is enforceable unless the landlord qualifies for an exemption, which must be registered on the Public Exemptions Register.
The new regulations will have significant implications for landlords, and for occupiers who wish to assign or sublet space. The marketability of properties with a low-efficiency rating would become impossible unless they are improved. Whilst making changes may be expensive, improvements are likely to add value to a property and encourage tenants to stay for longer.
Landlords are required to ensure they are compliant before a lease is granted. In special circumstances, they will be given an extension of six months from the date of the grant of the lease to comply.
What happens if I do nothing?
The regulations will be enforced by Trading Standards Officers.
For domestic properties: Landlords caught breaching the regulations will receive a civil penalty up to £4,000.
For Non-Domestic Properties: Fines are higher, they will start at £5,000, or 10% of the rateable value of the property (whichever is greater); increasing to £10,000 up to a maximum of £150,000 if the landlord has let a sub-standard property unlawfully, a been in breach for three months or more when the penalty notice is served.
What improvements do I need to make?
There are lots of ways you can make improvements without investing too much; adding low-energy LED lights and insulating the roof can significantly reduce energy usage.
If you’re struggling with the cost of upgrading your property, some energy companies offer help, so check with your provider what’s available.
Finding the right landlord insurance is vital for any rental property; for more information on how we can help find you the right policy, please visit the following link: http://countrylifeinsurance.co.uk/property-insurance/landlords/
For the full guidelines MEE please use the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-private-rented-property-minimum-standard-landlord-guidance-documents