Landlords to Plough Through 96 Pages for Energy Efficiency Guidance

After criticism for not confirming energy efficiency rules for private landlords early enough, the government has published a whopping 96-page manual online. 

The guidance is for buy-to-let and shared house landlords in England and Wales who must comply with a minimum energy efficiency standard for the homes they rent out. 

From April 1, 2018, landlords must ensure their homes score a minimum E rating on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before renting the home to a new tenant.

If the home is already tenanted, all domestic rented property must reach at least an E rating on the EPC by April 2020. 

The guidance explains energy-saving improvements available under the Green Deal and the scheme’s golden rule: The first year’s repayments must not exceed the estimated first-year saving, and the overall repayment period must not exceed the lifetime of the measures installed.

The manual also explains what happens if the EPC rating of a home cannot be improved or a landlord cannot gain Green Deal funding for the work. 

Valid exemptions must be evidenced with the relevant paperwork from an EPC surveyor. 

Valid exemptions include (but are not limited to, consult the guidance):

  • the landlord cannot get improvement works done at no cost to the landlord via funding from Green Deal, Government or Local Authority grants etc.
  • all recommendations have been completed, but the property is still not achieving "E" or better
  • works will devalue the property by more than 5%.

If the property is exempt, the landlord must then list it on an exemption register for five years.

“Where a landlord believes that an F or G EPC rated property they rent qualifies for an exemption from the minimum energy efficiency standard, an exemption must be registered on the National PRS Exemptions Register. The register service is currently running as a pilot,” says the guidance.

A detailed two-page energy rating compliance checklist at the back of the manual is a handy guide for landlords confused by what they should do under the regulations. 

Finally, the guidance clarifies the position that in the vast majority of cases, a listed building does need an EPC. It may be that particular works are not capable of being done, making it possible for the landlord to register the property as exempt if it doesn't achieve an "E" rating. 

This will depend on the nature of the work that would be needed to increase the energy efficiency. 

However, the EPC is required in the first instance to establish whether works are needed or not and whether the property should be registered as exempt. 

Download the guidance manual

View Related Handbook Page

Energy Efficiency Improvements

A tenant is allowed to reasonably ask for a relevant energy efficiency improvement. From 1 April 2018, all rented property let on assured shorthold tenancies, regulated tenancies under the Rent Act 1977 and four types of agricultural tenancy, which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least "E".