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Tenants and Their Energy Rights!

The Energy Act 2011 introduced new regulations to be in place by 1 April 2016 which are aimed at bringing in a minimum standard of regulations and will improve energy efficiency on buildings in the domestic and non-domestic private rented sector in England and Wales.

In brief, by April 2016 tenants will have the right to request for consent for energy efficiency measures that may not unreasonably be refused by the landlord. By April 2018 any new let residential properties must by law achieve an Energy Performance Grade (EPC) E or above, anything less will be classed as un-letable until the necessary work is complete.  To add further insult, any let residential property must by 1 April 2020 achieve a minimum grade E and meet the minimum standard of energy efficiency.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has recently opened a consultation on implementation of the Energy Act 2011, where a number of matters are open for discussion in order to help achieve the Governments 2018 and indeed 2020 targets.

Unfortunately there will be many rural residential properties which will fall foul of the Energy Act 2011, due to the character of the build and as such will require energy saving work to qualify for letting purposes.

There are however exemptions to the rule (currently under consultation, not necessarily in perpetuity and likely to be a maximum of 5 years) as follows:

  1. where a building is about to be demolished
  2. where the works required to make the improvements are more than being offered through a Green Deal finance arrangement
  3. where the landlord can demonstrate compliance by undertaking energy improvements that pay for themselves in energy bill savings within a prescribed period
  4. where third party consent is required to do any work and is duly denied for example a listed property
  5. where the necessary works would de-value a property

To help achieve the new regulations the Green Deal was introduced to help advise, recommend and implement home energy saving improvements. The landlord would first obtain a Green Deal Assessment of each residential property with an EPC grade of F or G. This report would then set out a recommended package of improvements for the property such as loft insulation in order for it to meet a minimum of grade E. Re-payment for any energy saving work carried out is then made through ones electricity bill.

The DECC launched the Green Deal Home Improvement Grant in June 2014 to help finance Green Deal Energy Improvements, though due to overwhelming demand this scheme has now closed to all new applicants. It is likely the grant scheme will return, though offering a lesser grant

It is important to note that Local Authorities will have powers to impose penalties under the Act on those Landlords not complying. On ways to avoid a possible penalty and if you would like advice on how to best improve energy efficiency on your let residential property, please call GSC Grays tel: 01748 829210.

Tom Richardson, GSC Grays.

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