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As we reported at the time, since 1st April 2020, unless an exemption applies, landlords have been prohibited from continuing to let privately rented residential property unless it has a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E. This is a result of The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (more commonly referred to as the “MEES Regulations”).
A property’s energy efficiency is graded between A and G. An A-rating is the most energy-efficient, and G the worst. As might be expected, new-build homes tend to have high EPC ratings, while many older homes have EPC ratings of D or E. The MEES Regulations mean that all landlords whose properties have an EPC rating of F or G risk a fine of up to £5,000 per property and per breach.
Now, the Government has awarded grants totalling £4.3 million to 59 local authorities to support their efforts to track down and engage with the most elusive landlords with the worst-rated properties. The money will fund a host of innovative awareness-raising measures, including:
- local radio adverts.
- roadshows and workshops with landlords to raise awareness of the new rules.
- free energy surveys.
- enhanced and targeted mail reminders and translation services.
One local authority has earmarked funding for a drone with thermal imaging capacity to assist on the ground inspections.
Ways to improve EPC rating
Meeting these minimum EPC ratings can sometimes be as simple as installing thermostatic valves on radiators, changing light fittings to more energy-efficient bulbs, and insulating your hot water cylinder. However, more substantial improvements are sometimes required, such as installing or topping up loft insulation, fitting double glazing, installing cavity wall insulation, or sealing open chimneys.
In recent months there have been stories circulating that from the end of 2025, all new rental properties will be required to have an EPC rating of not less than C. On the one hand, such a proposal does not form part of the Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings (No. 2) Bill currently making its way through Parliament. On the other, given the Government’s commitment at COP 26 to achieving net-zero by 2050, it seems very probable that their attention will turn to further improving energy efficiency in the private rented sector.