What’s happening with minimum energy efficiency standards and EPC ratings?

What’s happening with minimum energy efficiency standards and EPC ratings?

In 2020, the government revealed its intentions to raise the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for the Private Rented Sector. The plans specified that private rented properties would be required to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or higher by 2025 for new tenancies, and by 2028 for existing tenancies.

Are landlords ready for changing Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards?

Recent data indicates a gradual enhancement in the energy efficiency of properties available for rent. As the number of properties with an EPC rating of C or higher has increased by 16% since January 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of rental properties with EPC ratings D to G dipped by 11%. These figures suggest that landlords are taking steps to either improve the energy efficiency of their properties; or becoming more selective with their investment choices.

A notable 61% of landlords say that they would not consider investing in a property with a rating below C. This shift in mindset demonstrates a change in priorities and an acknowledgement of tenants’ preference for higher-rated properties.

Will the new minimum standards be included in the Decent Homes Standard?

The A Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector consultation outlined the suggested measures to implement the Decent Homes Standard in the private rented sector.

This standard is anticipated to be implemented in conjunction with the Renters (Reform) Bill. According to the consultation proposals, one of the criteria, criterion D, requires homes to offer “a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.”

In the House of Commons Committee report on Reforming the Private Rented Sector, a recommendation was made to incorporate the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) into criterion D of the Decent Homes Standard. This suggestion is regarded as a simple and modest simplification of the complex regulatory framework.

Currently, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard is not applicable to the social housing sector. Thus there is no necessity for it to be aligned within the Decent Homes Standard.

When will the increased standards be formalised?

The industry is still anticipating the outcome of the 2020 Energy Performance consultation. This will provide additional information regarding the requirements. Energy minister Andrew Bowie recently mentioned that the initial update for this year will merely consist of a summary of the responses received.

Earlier, the Telegraph reported that landlords would be granted until 2028 to comply with the updated energy efficiency requirements. However, there has been no official announcement to confirm this specific date.

What should landlords and agents be doing to prepare?

The present government guidelines for complying with the current MeeS regulations provide a list of recommended upgrades for landlords, along with their average costs. These upgrades encompass options such as internal or external wall insulation, draught proofing, solar panels, among others.

It is anticipated that the government will officially establish a cap of £10,000 on upgrade expenses. Allowing landlords to seek exemptions if the costs exceed this limit. Various sources of funding are available for these types of upgrades.

How can we help?

Contact our expert lettings team today to discuss your property and how we can help you with these changes.

This article is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, visit gov.uk.

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