Or rather, ensure your property reaches the minimum energy efficiency requirements, i.e. have a valid Energy Performance Certificate or "EPC" of (currently) Band E or above.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 ("MEES") will introduce a requirement that a landlord ensures its domestic and non-domestic privately rented property reaches MEES before it can be let. For more information, see our previous tips: "Energy Act - Part 1: Are you ready?" and "Energy Act - Part 2: Further consequences".
An EPC is valid if it is one entered on the EPC register no more than 10 years before the date on which it is relied on, and with no subsequent EPC having been carried out. Currently, if the EPC is below Band E the property is "sub-standard", and we anticipate that over time this band will be raised further.
A landlord (which includes any tenant granting an underlease) of a sub-standard property may not (subject to exemptions):
- Grant a new tenancy or extend or renew an existing tenancy of privately rented property (domestic or non-domestic) on or after 1 April 2018;
- Continue to let a domestic privately rented property on or after 1 April 2020;
- Continue to let a non-domestic privately rented property on or after 1 April 2023.
A landlord may be able to invoke one of the exemptions (which must be registered on the Private Rented Sector exemptions register), but none last indefinitely. The landlord will have to reconsider from time to time whether energy efficiency measures can be implemented to bring the EPC up to Band E or above, or whether the grounds for exemption still apply.
From 1 April 2018, an enforcement authority can serve a penalty notice (a fine up to £150,000, a publication placed on an open public register or both) for breach of MEES.