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What are the minimum energy efficiency standards for landlords and tenants?
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are documents outlining how energy efficient a property is. Properties are rated on a scale from A to G with A being very energy efficient and G being poor energy efficiency.
Since 1 October 2008 an EPC has been required on private rented property in England and Wales. There have been various updates to EPC regulations since then with recent substantive updates on 1 April 2018 and 15 March 2019.
The recent updates have provided that, subject to certain exemptions, landlords of domestic private rented properties must not grant a tenancy to new or existing tenants if the property in question has an EPC rating of F or G.
From 1 April 2020 landlords will not be able to continue to let domestic private rented properties (even if it is already let to a tenant) if that property has an EPC rating of F or G. Where a rental property does have a rating of F or lower landlords should take action as soon as possible to ensure that the meet the new minimum energy efficiency standard of an EPC E rating.
Where landlords continue to let properties that do not comply with the minimum E rating they will be liable to enforcement action by local authorities. Local authorities can check whether a property does comply with the minimum E rating. If it does not comply, a compliance notice can be issued on the landlord requesting further information. If the local authority is satisfied that a property has been let without adhering to the minimum energy efficiency standards it may serve further notice on the landlord imposing a financial penalty.
Where a landlord has let a property that does not meet the minimum EPC rating of E for a period of up to 3 months the local authority can impose a penalty of up to £2,000. Where the property has been let for three months or more without meeting the minimum EPC rating of E the penalty can be up to £4,000. In both cases the local authority can impose a further penalty if the local authority takes action to publish details of the breach on a public register.