Today 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.
Ultimately this will make it unlawful from April 2018 to let homes in England and Wales which do not achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of ‘E’.
From today all private sector residential tenants have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to their properties. This applies to longer-term assured and regulated tenancies. Providing no upfront costs are required, any landlord who declines to improve the energy efficiency could be deemed ‘unreasonable.’
If a tenant considers that the landlord has not complied with the regulations, they can take the case to a First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber, which will hear and determine applications.
That’s the immediate change but then there are later deadlines too.
From April 2018 a landlord cannot grant a new tenancy of the property with an EPC rating below an E and April 2020 when it will apply to all rented properties.
It is likely - but not so far confirmed - that the minimum standard is likely to rise to a D rating by 2025 and a C Rating in 2030.