Landlords must upgrade energy efficiency or risk enforcement action
The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties, verified in Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Landlords must provide EPCs at the start of a tenancy or at the earliest opportunity.
Landlords must improve a property with an EPC rating of F or G to E, or register an exemption, before starting a new tenancy. If the property is already let and has an EPC rating of F or G, landlords must make changes suggested in the EPC report up to a maximum of £3,500.00, or register an exemption. Exemptions include ‘high-cost’ and ‘all improvements made’ (Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015/962, Chapter 4)(SI 2015/962).
A valid EPC is entered on the register (as maintained by regulation 27(1) (The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012)) no more than 10 years ago from the date on which it is relied, and no other EPC for the property has since been entered on that register (Reg 22(c), SI 2015/962). Validity, however, does not consider the rating.
A valid but lower than E rated EPC doesn’t affect tenancy validity or enforceability (Regulation 26, SI 2015/962). It does put the landlord at risk of significant enforcement action, though, which may take the form of informal action or formal action issued by the local authority or progressed by courts or tribunals.
It is for the client to decide whether the cost of enforcement action is commercially better than bringing the property up to be E rated. As all newly rented properties must have a rating of C or above from 2025 (and existing tenancies must comply by 2028), taking improvement action sooner rather than later seems advisable.