Energy efficiency improvement rules for private rented property delayed

Measures to improve the energy efficiency of certain private rented property in England and Wales were introduced by the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

Part 3 of the 2015 Regulations prescribes a minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented properties. It also introduces a prohibition on letting private rented properties which fall below that standard. It provides that, subject to prescribed exemptions, the landlord of a sub-standard property must not: grant a new tenancy of the property after 1st April 2018; or continue to let the property after 1st April 2020 (in the case of domestic private rented property), or after 1st April 2023 (in the case of non-domestic private rented property).

Originally, Part 3 of the 2015 Regulations was to come into force on 1st October 2016, to enable landlords seeking to rely on a prescribed exemption when letting a sub-standard property, to register that exemption prior to the prohibition on letting sub-standard private rented properties coming into effect.

The Government has now decided to delay the introduction of the scheme. The 2016 Regulations amend the coming into force date of Part 3 of the 2015 Regulations, so that it comes into force on 1st April 2017 in relation to non-domestic private rented properties, and on 1st October 2017 in relation to domestic private rented properties. That gives landlords an extra six to 12 months in which to register an exemption.

The reason for the delay is that is that one of the “prescribed exemptions” from the prohibition on letting substandard domestic property is where a landlord is unable to meet the standard without incurring an upfront or net cost and, following the closure of both Green Deal or Pay As You Save, there are fears that a majority of domestic landlords of substandard properties may be eligible for an exemption from meeting the minimum standard. The Government is considering whether changes to the Regulations may be required to ensure that the minimum standard operates as effectively as possible in relation to domestic privately rented properties and so are postponing the coming into force of the regulations to allow them to consult and make any necessary amendments before the date on which domestic landlords can start to register exemptions. Separately, the postponement for non-domestic landlords is to allow the Government additional time to procure a third-party to design, user test, and implement the exemptions Register.

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