LANDLORDS renting out houses or flats risk fines of up to £1,000 if they register for an exemption to new energy efficiency rules without being able to provide supporting paperwork.
Since the introduction of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations on April 1, 2018, landlords have been prevented from granting a lease to a new or existing tenant on properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) below an E grade.
This applies to all residential and commercial property where a new letting is being conducted, or a lease is being renewed.
The regulations are designed to establish minimum efficiency standards across privately-rented homes.
If a property has an EPC rating of an F or G, landlords either have the option of carrying out the recommended energy improvement works by using third-party funding or registering a relevant exemption on the government’s online PRS exemptions register.
Alternatively, they can carry out the works at their own cost.
“Under current arrangements, a landlord is only obliged to make improvements to a sub-standard
property where it could be done at no cost to themselves, by accessing funding through the Green Deal or third-party financing.
“However, given there is very little, if any, third-party funding available for carrying out the recommended energy improvement, it is anticipated that the ‘no funding’ exemption is going to be widely used by landlords.”
However, landlords must provide a written description of why they had been unable to obtain adequate funding to carry out works which would improve the energy efficiency of the property.
“Although the government guidance states it’s optional to upload a copy of any supporting evidence, landlords face a fine if it is later proved they have asked for an invalid or incorrect exemption,” she said.
“We therefore recommend that landlords do carry out due diligence checks by contacting The Green Deal Finance Company, their energy supplier and their local authority to check there is no funding available, recording this information on file for future reference.”
MEES exemptions will need to be renewed every five years, or if the property is sold and there is a change in landlord.
Ms Mesney added: “Landlords should also be aware that the government is considering its response to a consultation which would remove the current ‘no cost to the landlord’ principle and instead insist that landlords have to make improvements up to a cap of £2,500 per property.”