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Does my landlord have to ensure my home is energy efficient?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 August 2014 at 9:01 am

There are currently has 4.2m privately rented households in the UK and Wales and a shameful 11 per cent of those, or nearly half a million, have the lowest EPC ratings of band F or G. 

If you live in one of these properties what is your landlord required to do to improve your situation?

The answer currently is, unfortunately, very little. And for the next few years at least, it's likely to remain that way. 

However under proposals currently being considered by the government, that may all change. From 1 April 2018 the government is proposing that landlords will have to make all reasonable improvements to bring their properties up to a minimum EPC rating of band E. And from 1 April 2016 they will not be allowed to refuse you the right to make those improvements yourself.

However, as always the devil is in the detail and in this case it is in the definition of the word 'reasonable'. Currently the consultation appears to define reasonable as any measure for which the cost of installing it does not exceed the savings made through bills. And the way this is measured? Via the much maligned and controversial Green Deal golden rule, which requires the cost repayment of loans and grants given to fund the measures to be equal to or less than the savings on bills. 

And, as the WWF has pointed out, this appears to allow a lot of room for landlords to wriggle out. 

"The proposed minimum standard of band E for privately rented homes is an important precedent for improving the energy efficiency of our hosing stock," said the WWF-UK's climate and energy specialist Zoe Leader. "However, it looks like landlords will not actually be required to improve their properties if they fail to meet the minimum standard unless improvements can be funded by the Green Deal or ECO. Given ongoing uncertainties around these policies there is a high probability that these proposals will amount to a blanket exemption for a significant number of landlords. 

"The government must address these loopholes to ensure landlords are help responsible for the energy efficiency of the homes them profit from."

Research undertaken on behalf of WWF And the UK Green Building Council in June showed that improving some of the worst performing homes in terms of energy efficiency to a band E could save an average of £409 a year on energy bills as well as reduce such homes CO2 emission by 20 per cent. 

The government is now inviting feedback on these proposals. To view the consultation document and make your comments visit private rented sector energy efficiency regulations

Photo Credit: Other Think via Flikr cc

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