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Deregulation Act and EPC Update

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Wed 02 Aug 2017

Deregulation Act and EPC Update

Landlords, are you up to speed on the new EPC regulations and the De-regulation Act? Did you know that there was new legislation that came into effect from 1st April 2016, where Tenants have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to your property? With effect from April 2018, it will be unlawful to let domestic properties with an Energy Performance Certificate with a rating below the efficiency standard of E, with fines imposed on those who do not comply. Now is the time to get ready.

The Deregulation Act protects Tenants against unfair eviction where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of their home which includes issues about its energy efficiency.

Tenants’ Energy Efficiency Improvements

From the 1st April 2016 all domestic tenants have the right to request energy efficiency improvements to their properties. These new laws reinforce your tenants’ rights to energy efficiency at home and your obligations to assist them in becoming more energy efficient.

This new regulation applies to domestic properties let under longer term assured and regulated tenancies. Your tenant is likely to be eligible to request energy efficiency improvements if he or she:

  • Pays Rent to you
  • Has control over their home
  • Does not live in the same building as you
  • Moved into the property between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 with no notice given, that they have an assured shorthold tenancy.

Can a residential private landlord refuse a tenants request?

If the building is exempt from having an EPC, then you are not required to provide consent. Your Tenant must also show that the improvements could be installed with no upfront cost to you. Don’t forget that the new year is expected to bring a funding scheme which acts as a replacement for Green Deal. The Scheme is intended to facilitate energy efficiency without the need for upfront costs, therefore, if a Tenant considers that the Landlord has not complied with the regulations, they can take the case to a First-tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber, which will hear and determine applications.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

From April 2018, changes to legislation will make it unlawful to let residential properties with an Energy Performance Certificate with a rating of below an E, the new minimum Energy Efficiency Standard will be phased in over five years.

Phase one – from 1st April 2018, the regulations will initially only apply upon the granting of a new tenancy to:

  • A new tenant
  • An existing tenant

Phase two - from 1st April 2020, the regulations will apply to ALL privately rented property which are required to have an EPC. What does this mean for Landlords? An EPC is already required to let or market a property legally, but the new laws around Minimum Efficiency Standards mean that an EPC of rating F and G is not sufficient for compliance. If your property does not meet the minimum standard, you cannot let or market that property within the law and rent reviews could also be affected. Financial penalties for non-compliance are £5000 in the domestic sector.

Improvement to Tenant Rights and the Deregulation Act

New legislation will also affect your rights to evict a tenant who has a legitimate complaint concerning your energy efficiency compliance. The rules are designed to prevent ‘retaliatory eviction’ practices and effectively make it more difficult for you to serve a section 21 eviction notice to tenants where complaints have been raised about the condition of your property, including energy efficiency. Shorthold Tenancies granted on or after 1st October 2015 are subject to new rules brought about by Section 33 of the Deregulation Act.

What does this mean for Landlords? Before serving a section 21 notice you must be able to demonstrate that you have complied with the relevant legal obligations concerning:

  • The condition of the dwelling
  • The health and safety of occupiers in the dwelling
  • The energy performance of the dwelling
  • Gas certification

And

  • It is vital that at the start of any Tenancy, Tenants have been provided with the information above, if they did not receive an EPC for the property, you will risk losing the right to issue an eviction notice.

We are pleased to advise that our offices are now open and we are working within government guidelines. If you do plan to visit us at the office, please ensure that you call ahead and arrange an appointment so that we can work in accordance with these guidelines and in a way that helps to protect us and you.

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