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As global warming and climate change become an increasing concern, the Government’s 2011 Carbon Plan highlighted that of total UK carbon emissions, 25% came from domestic property (British Property Federation, 2013)!

Some of the most energy in-efficient properties can be found in the private rented sector; which also has the greater percentage of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) G rated homes, than any other sector (Energy Saving Trust, 2012).

Over the past fifteen years, the private rented sector has grown significantly and now houses approximately 17% of all UK households (British Property Federation, 2014).

The Energy Act 2011 introduces energy efficiency regulations specifically for the private rented sector. This act requires the government to:

  • Introduce a right for tenants to request energy efficiency improvements that a landlord would be unable to unreasonably refuse. The Act states that this must be in place by 1st April 2016.
  • Make it illegal to let a property with an EPC rating below a minimum requirement.  The Act does not state what the EPC rating must reach, however the government has indicated that it is likely to be an E rating. The Act states that this must be in place by 1st  April 2018.  Please note that secondary legislation explains that any improvements required must not incur upfront cost to the landlord (British Property Federation, 2013).

A recent publication from The Association for the Conservation of Energy (2014) advises that these regulations look likely to be in place a year later than expected.  It is however important that all private landlords and estates are fully aware of upcoming legislation and necessary financial planning is in place to ensure there is no shortfall in property energy efficiency, leading to potential void periods.

There are a number of schemes available to help landlords with the costs associated with energy-saving improvements. Including:

  •  Green Deal – A government backed scheme that allows the cost of improvements to be paid over time through a charge added to the electricity bill.
  • Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) – funding provided from the big six energy suppliers to support the improvement of properties with tenants in receipt of certain benefits.
  • Feed-in Tariffs – provide ongoing financial support for those generating electricity from renewable sources such as Solar PV and Wind.
  • Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) – providing a one off payment to property owners for      installing renewable heat systems such as Heat Pumps, Wood Boilers and Solar Water Heating Systems.

(Energy Saving Trust, 2014).

Matthew Lister, GSC Grays Richmond Office t: 01833 637000

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