Government announces support for energy efficiency measures in rented homes

A government announcement has placed a requirement on landlords to contribute to upgrade costs to bring their properties up to a minimum of Energy Performance Certificate Band E level or they will need to apply for an exemption in cases where those upgrades cost more than £3500.

The announcement was made by the Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry in response to the government’s consultation on the Energy Efficiency (private rented sector) regulations 2015. The government estimates that the new regulations will cost landlords around £1200 on average and will affect 290,000 properties or 6% of the entire market.

This new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) currently only apply to new tenancies or contract renewals, however in 2020, they will apply to all domestic rented properties. However, there has been some criticism at the £3,500 cap, which will mean that no landlord will be expected to pay more than that regardless of how much work needs to be done to lift the property into the right Band. The initial agreed cap was set at £5,000, which would have meant around half of all affected homes would get the upgrades needed.

Perry points out that most landlords take pride in their properties, a minority are hard to keep warm and upgrading these is one of the best ways to tackle fuel poverty. She states that energy efficient upgrades can save tenants around £180 per year in fuel bills.

Landlords will have access to measures such as the Energy Company Obligation to help them to install measures such as insulation.