The consumer group Which? says the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards starting next weekend could affect 300,000 buy to let properties.
From April 1, privately rented homes in England and Wales must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E. Initially, this will apply only to new tenancies and renewals, before being extended to all existing tenancies by 2020.
That means that landlords will not legally be able to rent out homes with an EPC rating of F or G.
Landlords who fail to adhere to the regulations could face cumulative fines of up to £5,000 – although some exemptions may be in place for buildings of architectural significance.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents claims that the number of properties rated F or G has dropped significantly in the past few years, as landlords have responded to calls for better insulated homes.
Nonetheless, Which? and ARLA estimate that around 300,000 homes with F or G ratings could be affected by the new rules.
The consumer body claims many landlords appear to be in the dark about the upcoming changes: it cites a survey from the specialist insurance provider Just Landlords which found that only four per cent of landlords it surveyed were aware of the new regulations.
Which? says these findings support research conducted by the energy company Eon last year, which discovered that one in four landlords don’t even know their property’s EPC rating.