The CLA says the energy efficiency regulations for the lettings sector coming into effect in April are “fundamentally flawed” when it comes to listed and heritage buildings in rural areas.
The organisation - formerly called the Country Landowners Association, and now known as “the membership organisation for owners of land, property and business in rural England and Wales” - says ministers have failed to confront the issues in the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, or MEES.
From April 2018 it will be illegal to let a property with an energy performance certificate rating lower than E to a new tenant, and to an existing tenant from April 2020.
The CLA says that it has consistently asked ministers to address what it calls “ambiguously exempt listed buildings from needing an EPC while at the same time requiring an EPC to demonstrate that the installation of recommended energy efficiency measures”.
It claims some of those energy efficiency measures would “unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building.”
The CLA says EPCs are wholly inappropriate for assessing the true energy performance of a heritage building. It wants all listed buildings to be exempt from EPCs and property owners should instead “be encouraged to achieve energy efficiency through means that are more appropriate to the building type and construction”.
It says new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy guidelines on MEES advise owners of heritage property to make their own assessment of whether they require an EPC, or to seek advice from Trading Standards.
“There are hundreds of thousands of concerned owners of listed buildings who face continuing ambiguity. The policy is fundamentally flawed due to an error made when the government transposed the [EU] Energy Performance of Building Directive into UK law. Rather than admitting this and committing to doing something about it, the government is essentially just passing the problem on to thousands of property owners” claims CLA president Ross Murray.
“The result is endless confusion and potentially costly and unnecessary bills. Worse still, potential damage to good heritage buildings across the countryside as well as in towns and cities. This is a national issue which needs sorting. The failure of officials and ministers to confront the originally transposition error is an abdication of responsibility.”