New Law Lets Tenants Ask For Energy Improvements

Landlords must consent to any reasonable request from a tenant to make energy-efficient improvements at a privately rented home under a new law that came into force on April 1 2016.

For a request to be reasonable, it must be capable of being funded at no cost to the landlord.

Energy efficiency improvements mean any improvement that can be funded under a government or local authority scheme, such as:

  • solid or cavity wall insulation
  • loft insulation
  • heating
  • draught-proofing
  • double glazing
  • renewable energy generation, such as solar panels or heat pumps

The regulations say landlords must give consent to the work before any improvements are carried out. Where the request is reasonable, the landlord is not allowed to refuse consent unreasonably.

In practice, the tenant would need to put the proposal to the landlords with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

  • The proposal would need to show how the proposed work would improve energy efficiency at the property.
  • If the report suggests that no improvement would result or would be marginal, the landlord can turn down the request.
  • The tenant must also show that the cost of the improvement is fully funded
  • Landlords can propose a counter offer to the tenant delivering similar results as the tenant’s bid, but the cost should not be more than the work proposed by the tenant.

The regulations also demand landlords raise EPC rankings of private rented homes to an E rating by April 2108; if they fail to do so, the home cannot be rented out.

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.”

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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".