But as part of its drive for Net Zero in 2050, the Government has recently consulted on updating MEES for private rented properties in England and Wales, to help improve the energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock.
The consultation proposes a phased approach to new minimum energy standards, where new tenancies would be expected to have a minimum EPC rating of C by 2025, and all tenancies by 2028 (except where exemptions apply).
The Government states that private rented sector properties “are among the least energy efficient in the domestic housing stock, costing over £6billion in energy bills in 2018 and producing greenhouse gas emissions of around 11 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per annum”; around 67% of homes in the sector are rated at less than EPC Band C. Additionally, the sector “accounts for a disproportionate number of fuel poor households”.
So, as well as having benefits to the climate, the proposal is also designed to make homes more comfortable and healthy for residents, and to reduce energy costs over the long term.
Currently, the spend on energy efficiency measures for private-rented homes is capped at £3,500, and this would be increased to £10,000 under the proposals – though it is expected that an average of £4,700 will need to be spent to bring homes to up EPC Band C.
Elsewhere, the Scottish Government is also due to be introducing their own minimum energy standards, with all private rented properties requiring an EPC rating of D or above, while the Northern Ireland Energy Strategy 2050 consultation sets out plans to adopt minimum energy efficiency standards for all different types of tenures, including private rented.
So, while none of these policies will be enacted in the very short term, the time is now for landlords to start thinking about – or even acting on – improving the energy performance of their properties, as it’s a case of when, not if, updated standards are brought into force.
What to do as a landlord
The first step would be to hire an energy assessor to identify the current energy rating of your property/properties through an energy report or EPC; this will also highlight any recommendations for improvements. You can search for local energy assessors on Elmhurst’s website (www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk) and make arrangements with them directly to visit your property.
At this early stage in the potential MEES changes, there are some third-party funding streams available (such as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) scheme and Green Deal finance). Unfortunately, the Government’s recent Green Homes Grant voucher scheme was not a success and was pulled just months after it was launched; however, it’s fair to expect that there will be further Government funding available in the future. The Government is also exploring how, with the financial sector, it can encourage a green lending market, through both mortgages and loans. There are already at least 20 products available.
To find out more about current Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, download our guide to energy efficiency in the private rental sector, and to find out more about the proposed new legislation you can download our response to the consultation.
Found this article interesting? Read more about MEES legislation here: #ExpertView: The Countdown to MEES and EPC’s here: #ExpertView: EPC Legislation Explained For Landlords And Tenants. Want further guidance? Take a look at the TDS Lounge for case studies, guidance documents and publications on the latest developments in the private rented sector!
About the Author
Fiona Wilson, Business Development Manager at Elmhurst Energy
Fiona Wilson is a Business Development Manager with Elmhurst Energy, focusing on existing customers in England and Wales. She joined Elmhurst Energy in 2016, having joined the team from NHER where she worked since 2007. Fiona is a well-known face in the energy efficiency industry, her in-depth knowledge and technical specialism is indispensable to members. Her passion and enthusiasm for improving quality, providing assurance, and promoting energy efficiency matches with the Elmhurst desire to provide industry leading training, accreditation and software.
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