Private landlords in England and Wales are being urged to ensure their properties meet new energy-efficiency regulations, or risk being unable to let them out to tenants.
In a bid to tackle fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions, landlords will be required to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes to at least a D or E rating by 1 April 2018.
Those whose properties have a lower rating of F and G will be required to bring them up to the new minimum or face penalties.
The government estimates that one in 10 of England and Wales’ 4.2 million privately rented homes currently falls below the minimum D or E rating, with nearly 20% of these households in fuel poverty – almost double the national average.
Green Heat owner Peter Thom welcomed the announcement as a much-needed step forward in reducing energy consumption and enabling tenants to live in properly insulated homes they can afford to heat.
“Fuel poverty is a major problem in this country, particularly among those living in rented accommodation, who are often on low incomes and more vulnerable,” he said. “Many are paying much higher bills in an attempt to keep heat-leaking properties warm and suffering poor health as a result of draughty, damp living conditions.”
Landlords have three years to bring their properties up to the new standard, but tenants currently living in F- and G-rated homes will be able to request improvements such as more insulation from 1 April 2016.
The landlord will then be legally bound to bring the property up to a Band E rating. If they refuse or fail to make the improvements, they could ultimately be forced to pay a penalty notice.