In late July we announced plans to change regulations in the private rented sector by imposing minimum energy efficiency standards. In this blog, we explain why and how these changes can help consumers to take control of their energy bills and to have warmer, more energy efficient properties. But it’s not set in concrete yet – we’re inviting you to share your views via our consultation, closing 2 September 2014, via the links below.
First things first: why the private rented sector?
Compared to other tenures, the private rented sector contains the largest concentration of the very least energy efficient homes - around one in ten privately rented properties are in the very lowest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band ratings of either an F or G. The sector also houses a disproportionately large number of the fuel poor, who struggle with heating cold, leaky homes. Fuel poor households privately renting a G EPC rated home would need, on average, to spend over £1,200 more on energy to heat their homes properly than typical households, and those renting EPC band F homes would need to spend over £700 more.
The energy we use for heating and powering our non-domestic buildings is responsible for around 12% of the UK’s emissions, and nearly one in five non-domestic properties achieve the lowest EPC ratings of F or G. With around 66% of non-domestic properties being privately rented, there is also clearly great potential to improve the privately rented non-domestic stock too.
There are a range of cost effective measures now available that can help improve the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses and stop needless energy waste. Take up of these measures can not only save energy bills for occupants, but also improve our energy security through reduced energy demand and can help us tackle our carbon emissions.
The split incentive – whereby landlords invest in improvements, but tenants gain the benefit of reduced energy bills – has historically held back take up of improvements in privately rented property. Whilst the Government has set out a range of options to help support take up of improvements such as Green Deal finance, alongside ECO and Green Deal Communities funding, that could help to overcome this barrier, further steps are needed to ensure cost-effective improvements are taken up, especially to the very least energy efficient properties.
The need for a regulatory “push” to encourage landlords to act on the worst performing properties’ is at the heart of our proposals for new private rented sector energy efficiency regulations. The proposals, explored in two consultation documents (one for the domestic sector, and one for the non-domestic), are as follows:
- From April 2016 residential private landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse a tenant’s request for consent for energy efficiency improvements where Green Deal finance or subsidies are available to pay for them.
- From April 2018 private domestic and non-domestic landlords will need to ensure that their properties reach at least an E EPC rating, or have installed those improvements that could be funded using available Green Deal finance and funding support schemes.
Our consultation on these proposals began on 22 July 2014 and ends on 2 September 2014.
To provide your views on the proposals visit: