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Blog Post 13 June 2022

Landlords: how to make your property more energy efficient

Energy bills have increased for around 22 million energy consumers – and they’re expected to go up again later this year when Ofgem announces the winter energy price cap. Renters will be hit especially hard as they are unable to carry out larger energy efficiency home improvements, which can help to reduce energy costs.

Landlords can support their tenants by offering energy saving advice and installing energy efficiency home upgrades. Summer is the ideal time to carry out these home improvements, before colder weather hits and energy prices go up again.

If you’re a landlord, this guide will help you get your property up to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards specification to help your tenants save energy and money on their bills.

Where to start?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) can help both landlords and tenant understand the energy performance of their home, as well as identify areas for improvement.

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). Landlords are required to get a new EPC every 10 years and it’s their responsibility to provide tenants with a valid EPC.

Having a good EPC rating can mean lower energy bills for tenants and a reduced home carbon footprint. This can make your property more attractive, affordable and comfortable for new and existing tenants.

All tenants must be provided with a copy of the property’s EPC when they move in. You can find it via the Energy Performance of Buildings Register (in England and Wales) or the Scottish EPC Register (in Scotland). Check to see if yours is in date.

What are the current EPC requirements?

All rental properties in Great Britain are required to have an EPC. All properties currently sold or let in England and Wales are required to have a minimum EPC rating of ‘E’ or above. These Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards apply to all new and existing tenancies.

In Scotland the rules are stricter. As of 1 April 2022, all new tenancies in the private rented sector now require the property to have an EPC rating of at least ‘D’. You can find out more about these regulations on the Scottish Government website.

What are the proposed changes to EPC requirements?

The UK Government has proposed changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for England and Wales – all rental properties will need an EPC rating of ‘C’ or above by 2025 for new tenancies and 2028 for every existing tenancy. Not having a valid EPC could mean you face penalties of up to £30,000.

In Scotland, the latest government regulations similarly state that all private rented properties must have an EPC band of ‘C’ or higher by 2025 where ‘technically feasible and cost-effective’, with a backstop date of 2028 for all remaining properties. This replaces the Scottish Government’s previous plan to introduce an EPC ‘D’ standard.

Getting your property to an EPC rating of ‘C’ is a bit more difficult than ‘E’, particularly if it’s an older building. It’s recommended to go for a building ‘fabric-first’ approach, which includes looking at wall, loft and floor insulation.

These proposed requirements from both the UK and Scottish Governments are part of the drive to make homes more energy efficient and help reach net zero by 2050.

Arranging an energy assessment

If you’re looking to get an updated EPC rating, you’ll need to use an approved domestic energy assessor. If you’re in Scotland, there’s a different process to find an approved assessor.  

Both landlords and letting agents are required to give tenants at least 24 hours written notice before any property visits, so work with your tenants to arrange a suitable time for someone to assess the property.

Improving the energy rating of your property

Once you have an up-to-date report, read through the recommendations included in your property’s EPC.

In England and Wales, you’re required to spend up to £3,500 on the recommended improvements to reach the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. If the recommended improvements exceed £3,500, you can apply for high-cost exemption via the PRS Exemptions Register. You can use a combination of third party funding and self-funding to achieve these energy efficient upgrades.

There are various ways to check if your property could benefit from energy saving improvements:

While the biggest energy savers will depend on the property type, typical examples include:

Smaller improvements include:

Exemptions to improvements

Some properties can be exempt from the minimum energy efficiency standards. These exemptions can be due to affordability, mortgage lender consent refusal, or structural issues.

If a property meets the criteria for any exemptions, landlords will need to register it on the PRS Exemptions Register. An exemption lasts for five years.

Helping tenants save energy and money

Reminding your tenants to save energy and money, no matter who’s paying the bills, will help everyone. We have guides and tips for renters, which you can look through and pass on to your tenants.

It’s also worth noting that every household in England, Scotland and Wales will receive a discount of £400 on energy bills from October, with further support for pensioners and the lowest income households.

If your tenants are still struggling with their energy bills, there is help available across the UK.

There are also many local services, such as Citizens Advice, who can offer support.

Part of a housing association, lettings agency or have multiple properties?

Check out our guide to helping customers save money on their energy bills. It includes information on how to understand and improve the energy of multiple properties.

Last updated: 14 June 2022