This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Minimum energy performance standards

This content applies to England & Wales

The minimum energy performance standard for residential lettings and exemptions to the standard.

The minimum standard for lettings

Properties which have an EPC rating of band E or below are classed as 'substandard' by regulations.[1] Unless the property is exempt, a landlord should not:[2]

  • from 1 April 2018, granting a tenancy or renewing an existing tenancy for a property that has an EPC rating below band 'E'. Renewal in this context means when the tenancy is replaced by a new tenancy or becomes statutory periodic
  • from 1 April 2020, continuing to a let a property that has an EPC rating below band 'E'.

The EPC must be no more than ten years old.[3]

A breach of the regulations will not affect the validity of any tenancy granted.[4]

Enforcement

Enforcement is by the local authority, and the landlord can be fined if s/he breaches the regulations.[5]

Scope and exemptions

The regulations governing the minimum level of energy efficiency are limited to tenants of properties let under:[6]

  • an assured or assured shorthold tenancy
  • a regulated tenancy
  • an assured agricultural occupancy or occupancy granted under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976.

The Secretary of State has the power to extend the scope of the regulations further.[7]

The minimum energy efficiency requirements do not apply:[8]

  • to tenancies let by private registered providers of social housing in their role as social landlords
  • in cases where the tenant refuses consent to allow the energy efficiency improvement to be carried out. This applies if consent has been refused at any time in the last five years unless, from 1 April 2019, that tenant's lease comes to an end
  • if the required improvements would result in a reduction of more than 5 per cent in the market value of the property
  • for six months (temporary exemption) from the date a landlord becomes the landlord of the property in question in certain circumstances.

Cost exemption

Until 31 March 2019, landlords are not required to make energy efficiency improvements if they cannot be financed (at no cost to the landlord) by central government, a local authority or any other person, either separately or in combination.[9] However, a 'cost cap' is introduced on 1 April 2019 so that a landlord can be expected to make improvements identified as necessary and costing £3,500 (including VAT) or less even if s/he will have to part/wholly finance them.[10]

Cost exemptions obtained between 1 October 2017 and 31 March 2019 because no financing was available will expire on 31 March 2020.[11] At this point, the landlord will have to reapply, subject to the cost cap (unless another exemption is in place).

Exemptions register

Landlords who are relying on an exemption must register on the National Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register and give certain prescribed information including a copy of the energy performance certificate and details of recommended improvements as well as the particular exemption which applies.[12] Where work is exempt because it would cost above the cap (from 1 April 2019), the landlord will also have to include three quotes for the cost of the work as evidence.[13] If, from 1 April 2019, it is more than the cap (or until 31 March 2019 cannot all be financed other than by the landlord), but no funding is available, evidence of the lack of funding should be provided.[14]

The government has published the guidance PRS exemptions and exemptions register evidence requirements

Restriction on service of section 21 notice

A landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 notice to end an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) if s/he has not provided a tenant with a copy of the EPC. This restriction only applies to ASTs granted in England on or after 1 October 2015. For details see Restrictions on use of section 21.

[1] reg 22 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[2] reg 23 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[3] reg 22(c) Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[4] reg 26 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[5] regs 34 and 40 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[6] s.42(1) and (2) Energy Act 2011; reg 19 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660; reg 2 Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) Order 2015 SI 2015/799.

[7] s.42(2)(c) Energy Act 2011.

[8] s.42(2) Energy Act 2011; regs 31 to 33 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660 and Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/595.

[9] reg 24(3) Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660.

[10] reg 24(3) and 24(4) Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660 and reg 5 and 6 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/595.

[11] reg 25(3) Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660 and reg 7, 8 and 9 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/595.

[12] reg 36(2) and sch, Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660 and Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/595.

[13] para 1A, sch, Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660 and Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/595.

[14] sch, Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962 as amended by Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/660 and Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/595.

Back to top