Energy efficiency changes to the rental market take effect from 1 April 2016. New regulations allow private tenants to request their landlord’s consent to carry out certain energy efficiency improvements, such as installing insulation and improved heating controls.
The new rules, introduced under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Sector)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015, are part of a series of measures aimed at improving energy efficiency in the private rental sector.
A tenant can request energy efficiency improvements by writing to the landlord, explaining the proposed measures and how they will be funded – whether directly by the tenant or through an energy efficiency scheme. The landlord is not required to pay.
The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent and must provide a response in writing within one month. The regulations provide scope to issue counter-proposals and also specify situations where permission can be refused, such as if the proposed improvements would reduce the market value of the property by more than 5%.
The tenant can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal if they are not satisfied with the landlord’s response.
In a series of further planned reforms, a new minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented homes will be set at an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’:
From 1 April 2018 landlords will be unable to issue a new tenancy for a rented property with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’, subject to certain exemptions.
From 1 April 2020 the restriction on renting out properties with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ will apply to all existing tenancies in a domestic private rented property, subject to certain exemptions.
From 1 April 2023 the restriction on renting out properties with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ will apply to all existing tenancies in a non-domestic private rented property, subject to certain exemptions.
We would therefore advise you to explore options for upgrading energy efficiency before the new tenancy restrictions come into force.