The government has outlined new regulations that will require private landlords to improve energy efficiency of their homes.
From April 2018, new private tenants or existing tenants signing new contracts will be able to demand that landlords meet a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, bringing the PRS in line with the non-domestic sector.
The decision means that EPC ratings of F and G will no longer be accepted in the private sector.
The new regulations will apply to all privately rented properties, regardless of when a tenancy started, from April 2020.
Government has given local authorities new powers to enforce these regulations.
In addition, from April 2016, tenants will be given the power to request the installation of energy efficiency measure in their homes.
John Alker, acting chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, hailed the announcement from energy secretary Ed Davey as “the most significant piece of legislation to affect our existing building stock in a generation”.
“Government deserves huge credit for sticking to its guns,” added Mr Alker.
“Some will undoubtedly cry ‘red tape’, but good landlords and forward-thinking property companies have nothing to fear.
“This could provide the impetus needed to upgrade our worst-performing, most energy-hungry rented properties and help to kick-start a multi-million pound market in energy efficiency products and services in the UK.”
Ian Fletcher, director of real estate at the British Property Federation, said: “Since royal assent on the Energy Bill 2011 the property industry has been working constructively with the government on what form the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard regulations will take, and today’s announcement is another welcome step on the road to giving the industry certainty on the detail and method of introduction of this policy.
“Property owners have been negotiating leases for 2018 and beyond for some time now, will be carrying out programs of refurbishment, and want to know the targets they have to meet in order to safeguard the value of their investments.
“A building that is below the set standard will be devalued and hence the need for certainty.”