This week sees the first step in a long series of reforms - the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards - aimed at improving stock in the private rental sector.
From this coming Friday, April 1, tenants living in private rental sector property with F and G rated homes, as measured by Energy Performance Certificates, will be able to request improvements, such as more insulation.
The landlord will then be legally bound to bring the property up to at least an E rating, although not (for the moment at least) if it requires upfront costs.
The government is still working on a replacement for the Green Deal and when this is announced, it is intended to allow landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties without upfront expenditure. Landlords who then still decline to improve their properties to E or better will be contravening the new regulations.
If a tenant considers that the landlord has not complied with the request to upgrade energy efficiency to at least E, they can take the case to the Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber, which will hear and determine applications.
This is just the first of several MEES reforms in years to come:
April 2018: by this date it will be unlawful to let out a property with an F or G Energy Performance Certificate rating, as a new let. There will be a few limited exemptions;
April 2020: by this date the requirement for a minimum E rating will apply, not just to new lets but also to existing tenancies;
2025: the target is for a minimum D rating;
2030: the minimum target will be a C rating.