The government will introduce requirements for landlords to raise the energy efficiency rating of their properties to at least Band E from April 2018.
The government estimates that the new rules will help one million tenants who rent from a private landlord heat their homes for less. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) calculates that fuel poor households who rent poorly insulated homes spend an average of £1,000 more to keep their property warm compared to the average home.
Commenting on the proposals, secretary of state for energy and climate change, Edward Davey said: “These new laws will plug the gaps in draughty homes – helping households to keep warm and drive down bills. Many of the poorest tenants will benefit and, with government support, landlords can improve their properties at no upfront cost. It’s good news all round and yet another way we’re taking action to ensure that cold homes with bloated energy bills become a thing of the past.”
John Alker, acting CEO of the UK Green Building Council, described the introduction of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) as potentially “the single most significant piece of legislation to affect our existing building stock in a generation”.
Alker continued: “The government deserves huge credit for sticking to its guns. Some will undoubtedly cry ‘red tape’, but good landlords and forward-thinking property companies have nothing to fear. This could provide the impetus needed to upgrade our worst-performing, most energy-hungry rented properties and help to kick-start a multi-million pound market in energy efficiency products and services in the UK.”
Parliamentary under secretary of state Amber Rudd added: “These new regulations will drive bills down in some of the worst-insulated homes where up to one million tenants are paying too much to keep warm. It’s also good news for landlords, who can benefit from improved properties with the financial support of the Green Deal and other schemes, and a real boost to the industry.”
As part of the proposals, from April 2016, tenants looking to boost the efficiency of their property can also request consent to undertake efficiency improvements with the landlord unable to unreasonably refuse potential measures.