New Energy Upgrade Rules for Buy to Let Homes

Landlords must upgrade the energy efficiency of tens of thousands of homes in England and Wales if they want to continue to rent them out. 

The government is raising the minimum cost bar for leaving homes outside the regulations. Currently, a landlord can apply to be exempt from the rules if the landlord cannot make any recommendations to bring the property up to the minimum rating at no cost to the landlord  - there will be a cap of £3,500.

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler said: “I strongly welcome these new measures, which will help improve the coldest homes, protecting tenants whilst also saving them money.

“This builds on our on-going work to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector, including through our reviews of health and safety standards and carbon monoxide alarm requirements in the home.”

Landlords are banned from renting out the lowest EPC category homes to new tenants unless they have improved the property or registered an exemption. 

The government expects the measure to remove 290,000 privately rented homes from the lowest Energy Performance Certificate categories, bringing down the energy bills for tenants by an average of £180 a year.

 The improvement cost is expected to average around £1,200 a home. Suggested improvements include installing wall or floor insulation, fitting low-energy lighting or increasing loft insulation.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “While most landlords take 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. 

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

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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".