Time running out for energy efficient rural homes

Date published: 22 December 2017

Rural landlords have warned of chaos in the residential lettings market due to uncertainty over how to comply with energy efficiency rules.

A government consultation on the minimum level of energy efficiency in the private rented sector opened this week but is due to close just two weeks before the rules come into force next April. Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) mean that from 1 April 2018 it will be illegal for a private landlord to let a property with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating lower than E to a new tenant.

The CLA, whose members provide around 40% of private rented homes in rural areas, said although it supports the principles behind the MEES, time had run out for the Government to consult properly on changes and provide the right guidance to landlords.

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “The residential lettings market has been thrown into chaos because the Government has not left sufficient time to consult on necessary changes to the legislation and ensure landlords are given the correct guidance.

“We have repeatedly called on the Government to revise the MEES regulations for the past two years but time is running out. Closing this consultation just two weeks before the rules take effect is really leaving landlords in the lurch. Properties could be taken off the rural rental market because some landlords will be unable to find the money needed to make energy improvements at such short notice.”

Mr Breitmeyer said despite the poor timing of the consultation from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy it contained some sensible ideas to help landlords make homes energy efficient.

He said: “The proposed cost cap of £2,500 per property goes some way to help clarify and simplify the contribution a landlord must make. However, landlords who acted early to comply with MEES are penalised because only money spent after 1 October 2017 will count towards to the cap. We will be responding to the consultation to argue that any money spent improving a property since the regulations were first published in July 2015 should count towards it.”