As I am sure you will remember, the minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) was introduced back in March 2015 and formed part of the 2011 energy act.

Well it’s not less than 5 months until the next wave of changes come into force.

As of April 2019 it became unlawful to let out properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of anything over an ‘E’ rating to NEW tenants. As of April 2020 this law will apply to ALL tenancies including those that are already in place.

Around 300,000 properties are estimated to be effected.

Whilst this daunting news for landlords, as I understand it, there will be no pressure to evict tenants from such properties.

There will, however, be pressure to demonstrate that the landlord has spent a minimum of £3500 + Vat, since October 2017, to improve the energy efficiency of the property.

If landlords have spent up to that limit, but their property still remains an ‘F’ or ‘G’, then they may be able to register the property as exempt, using the official exemption register.

For more information on the register and a list of exemptions please visit the official website here.

If measures haven’t been taken, or the property doesn’t qualify for an exemption, the penalty fines could be between £4,000 and £5,000.

The government is clearly not planning on stopping any time soon with their drive to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the private rented sector.

Early indications are that by 2025 all properties will be expected to have an EPC rating of ‘D’, by 2030 “C”, by 2035 ‘B’ and by 2040 ‘A’. This is an ambitious timetable and will present significant challenges to landlords in the private sector - especially those with properties built prior to 1950. It has been estimated that the cost of improving a property and taking its energy efficiency from a ‘E’ to an ‘A’ would cost no less than an eye watering £30,000!

My view is that whilst this is certainly a threat to a landlord’s business, I doubt very much that such an ambitious timetable could be delivered.

I would also hope that in support of delivering such ambitious targets we should see the introduction of further energy efficiency related grant schemes and as the cost of running a rental property goes down, the cost of renting one may go up in line with its efficiency!

If you haven’t already taken advantage of a Green Deal loan or Energy Company Obligation for home owners and tenants on benefits, read Simple’s news article on it here. You’ve got five months.

Carl Agar
Landlord, letting agent at BRH, developer, and founder of the Home Safe Scheme