More landlords will be required to improve the energy efficiency rating of rental homes, under government changes announced this week.

Properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G must now be made warmer by landlords before they can be put on the rental market for new tenancies.

The government had previously proposed exempting homes where upgrades cost more than £2,500.

However, this cap has now been raised to £3,500 with effect during 2019.

The average cost of upgrading a property to an EPC rating of E is £1,200 and will improve 290,000 properties, accounting for around 6 per cent of the market, according to the Department for Business and Energy.

As a result, tenants will save an average £180 a year on energy bills.

Landlords can use support from the Energy Company Obligation scheme, as well as local grants to improve their properties.

Energy and clean growth minister, Claire Perry, said: “While the vast majority of landlords take great pride in the properties they own, a minority still rent out housing that is difficult to keep warm.

“Upgrading these homes so they are more energy efficient is one of the most effective ways to tackle fuel poverty and help bring down bills for their tenants, saving them £180 a year."

“Everyone should be protected against the cold in their own home and today’s announcement will bring this reality closer.”

Housing minister, Heather Wheeler, added: “Excess cold is by far the largest preventable cause of death in the private rented sector."

“It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that 30 per cent of avoidable winter deaths are due to people living in cold homes."

"These can be prevented if people are kept warm during the winter months.”

Find out more about the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in Simple’s ultimate guide.