With only three weeks to go to the introduction of the first phase of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, a specialist mortgage broker says the rental sector may be in for more green measures in the near future.
Under MEES a rental property must meet a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E from April 1 when it becomes newly-tenanted; this will extend to all rental properties, irrespective of the tenancy situation, by April 1 2020.
But buy to let mortgage specialist Commercial Trust says under longer-term plans, the government wants to see as many UK homes as possible achieve an EPC rating of C by 2035, with many homes in the private rental sector needing to reach that mark by 2030 “where practical, cost-effective and affordable.”
Whilst the present round of changes is mandatory, the government’s so-called Clean Growth Strategy report does not define how its ambitions will be implemented, but the message from the report is clear says a spokesman for Commercial Trust.
A Clean Growth Strategy report from the government reads: “We want to further reduce emissions from homes while ensuring that everyone has a home that is comfortable, heathy and affordable to run.
“For privately rented homes, we have legislated so that from April 2018, landlords of the worst performing properties will need to improve those properties to a minimum of EPC Band E before they can be let, lowering bills for some of the most vulnerable private tenants while ensuring costs of improvements are reasonable and affordable. We will consult shortly on steps to make these regulations more effective.”
The broker says that while adapting homes to be more energy efficient comes at a cost, the report also outlines the benefits of doing so:
“Almost 79 per cent of homes in England in 2015 had an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band D or better compared to 39 per cent in 2005.
“Upgrading energy efficiency from an EPC Band E to an EPC Band D reduces energy costs by £380 per year on average. For example, the annual running cost of a Band C rated home are £270 lower than the average Band D rated home and £650 less than the average Band E rated home.”
The broker says the private rental sector is very much in the government’s sights: “We can expect to hear a lot more on the issue of energy efficiency, and we can expect to hear a lot more on its longer-term plans to move more homes into the EPC Band C over the coming months” the firm says in a statement.