April 20, 2020   |   Jack Taylor

Energy Efficiency Regulations Change Despite Lockdown

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Energy Efficiency Regulations Change Despite Lockdown

Private landlords who have been delaying works on their properties to comply with the latest criteria for the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will find that lockdown has thrown a spanner in the works.</>

 On the 1st of April the government’s new EPC regulations came into force. This means that landlords must not grant new tenancies on properties that do not meet the band E standard. The regulations will also extend to pre-existing tenancies, a move which the industry had been hoping would not come into effect straight away. 

This change comes at a very difficult time with the country in a state of national emergency and individuals in an enforced lockdown. Any landlords that were hoping to carry out last minute works on their properties will perhaps be wishing they had undertaken the work at an earlier date, before the coronavirus crisis plunged the UK into such troubling times.

Landlords in Scotland, however, have been offered a lifeline by the Scottish Assembly. Kevin Stewart, the Scottish Minister for Housing, took the decision not to make the regulations due to COVID 19, saying:

“I am aware that this is an unusual step, but these are unusual and fast-moving times.” 

He added that he and the government were fully committed to meeting their energy efficiency goals but given the highly unusual situation presented by the coronavirus, some leeway must be offered.

The UK government, on the other hand, has not been so understanding.

David Cox, who is the chief executive of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents), said “We have lobbied the government for a postponement, but it seems very unlikely in England.” He justified his point stating the law was originally passed in 2014 meaning that landlords have had 6 years to prepare and make the necessary changes to their properties. 

Landlords found to be contravening these new regulations are liable to receive fines starting at £5000 if they are renting out non-complaint properties for less than three months. If any landlord is found to be renting out a property that has been non-compliant for more than 3 months, the fines become rather more severe going up to a maximum of £30000, with an additional £5000 fine for providing misleading information.

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