Earlier this year new legislation was introduced to try and bring about much needed change. Prior to the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) there was no obligation for landlords to provide housing that is energy efficient. The sanctions only took effect if the lack of heating created a hazard under the housing health and safety rating system. In that case the Landlord was served with a notice by the local authority and the landlord might have to provide additional heating. There was not actually any obligation on the landlord to ensure that the property was bought to a higher standard of energy efficiency. The Regulations that came into force on 1st April 2015 went some to addressing this.
The purpose of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 is to improve energy efficiency in the private rented sector. By 2018 landlords will be banned from renting the most energy inefficient property, namely that property in bands F and G. If there is an existing tenancy, this can carry on until 1st April 2020, but the landlord will have to ensure the property is at least at rating E before they can get a new tenant.
At present landlords can still rent these properties however from April 2016 tenants will be able to request improvements such as more insulation. If the request is made as a formal request, the landlord is under an obligation to consider it and respond to the tenant. During the voluntary phase (1 April 2016 to 1 April 2018) failure by a landlord to respond to a request could result in tenants applying to the Property Chamber which will be the first tier tribunal. However this long and cumbersome process will be unlikely to be useful given the short nature of tenancies and the fact that landlords can end tenancies with s.21 notices. It is more likely that tier two sanctions, where local authorities will be able to levy fines and to name landlords that do not comply with warning notices will be more effective. The second tier will only be from 1st April 2018.
What can landlords do now? The main worry for landlords will be the cost of making the necessary changes to ensure their rental properties do not fall foul of the Regulations by end of the voluntary period. The government has stated that there will be a range of support mechanisms such as the Green Deal to assist Landlords with the cost, it may be advisable to consider whether they are eligible and apply for early support to help them bring up their properties to the requisite standards before 1 April 2018.
For additional information please contact Douglas Godwin on 01386 761176 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment .