New energy efficiency rules hitting the Private Rented Sector have come into force. This sees the first step of a long-term government drive to improve energy efficiency in the private rental sector through the MEES programme - Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.
From April 2018, there will be a minimum energy efficiency standard, likely to be at 'E', for all privately rented properties. It will be illegal to rent out a property unless it is 'E' or the landlord has carried out the maximum package of measures available through funding options (even if this does not get them above F).
Tenants can now ask landlords for permission to carry out energy efficiency improvements to privately rented properties – with the landlord unable to unreasonably refuse consent.
The new legislation was introduced on 1 April 2016, with improvements ranging from everything from improved insulation and replacement windows to solar water heating systems. They also extend to installing a gas supply in an off gas property where the mains are within 23 metres from the property.
Under the new rules, which apply in England and Wales, the tenant must pay for the works and no upfront costs should fall onto the landlord – unless they have already agreed to contribute.
The new legislation states that consent for the works must not be ‘unreasonably refused’ – although there are a number of instances where the landlord does not need to consider the request – for example if it would hit the house price, knocking more than 5% from the market value.
There are also some circumstances in which the tenant cannot legitimately ask for improvements – for example if they are due to move out, or eviction proceedings are underway.
However tenants can take landlords to a tribunal if they believe they have not complied with the regulations.
The full regulations can be read at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/962/contents/made