As from the 1st April 2018 any properties rented out in the private rented sector to meet a minimum energy performance rating on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). In a bid to cut energy bills and carbon emissions, the minimum energy efficient standard (MEES) for non-domestic buildings, as announced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, will be set to an E EPC rating. In short, it means that it will be unlawful to let or lease a residential property with a poor rating. Thought to be the most significant piece of legislation to affect our existing building stock in a generation, it will force landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of hundreds of thousands of homes currently rated F and G. And, if they don’t, they will face being unable to let them until they improve the rating. Currently, almost 10% of England and Wales’ 4.2m privately rented homes currently fall below the E rating meaning that between now and April 2018, there’s work to be done! Furthermore, if a tenant requests a more efficient home and a landlord fails to comply, the landlord could ultimately be forced to pay a penalty notice. Landlords will be able to let out F- and G-rated properties beyond 1 April 2018 for the remainder of existing rental contracts, but will not be able to renew a contract or let the property to someone else until it is brought up to an E rating. Whilst we think that some landlords may consider this new announcement as too much red tape, we’re sure that most will agree that it’s a positive move forward to reducing energy bills of tenants who are on low wages and perhaps paying over the odds for poorer standards of accommodation. One of our landlord’s Erika Pilkington, comments: “The MEES targets set by government cannot be achieved cost-effectively on many hard to treat properties – in particular older end of terrace or detached houses with solid walls. If these properties cannot be rented out, the unintended consequence may well be that many homes that are removed from the PRS, will become unsaleable, and the housing stock will be further reduced. Instead, it makes far more sense to incentivise renewable energy for hard to treat housing, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of these properties and helping those in fuel poverty.” Will you have to review the EPC rating of your property (or properties) ahead of 2018? Does your property have an up to date EPC? You can check the EPC register here and if not, we can provide you with an EPC.