Minimum energy performance standards for rented homes

Prohibition to let a property that has an energy performance certificates (EPC) rating below the minimum standard unless the property is exempt.

This content applies to England & Wales

Minimum energy performance standard for lettings

Properties which have an EPC below band E 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 does not affect the validity of any tenancy granted.[4]

Enforcement is by the local authority. The landlord can be fined if they breach the regulations.[5] The penalty notice cannot be issued more than 18 months after the date of the breach.[6]

Exemptions from energy performance requirements

The regulations governing the minimum level of energy efficiency are limited to tenants of properties let under:[7]

  • 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.[8]

The minimum energy efficiency requirements do not apply:[9]

  • 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.[10]

A 'cost cap' was 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 they have to part or wholly finance them.[11]

Cost exemptions obtained between 1 October 2017 and 31 March 2019 because no financing was available expire on 31 March 2020.[12] At this point, the landlord must 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.[13]

Where work is exempt because it would cost above the cap (from 1 April 2019), the landlord must also include three quotes for the cost of the work as evidence.[14] 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.[15]

More information is available in 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 they have 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.

Tenant requests for consent for energy efficiency improvements

From 1 April 2016, a private-sector tenant can request their landlord's consent for a relevant energy efficiency improvement in their home.

A relevant energy efficiency improvement includes draught proofing, cavity wall insulation, the installation of heating and hot water controls such as timers and thermostats, and replacement glazing.[16]

To be a relevant energy efficiency improvement it must be wholly financed by:[17]

  • means of funding provided by central government, a local authority or any other person

  • the tenant

  • a combination of the above two arrangements

As such, a request is only relevant if there is no cost to the landlord.

The tenant's request must:[18]

  • be in writing (it can be posted)

  • specify the improvements for which consent is being sought

Who can request consent from the landlord?

The power to request a relevant energy efficiency improvement is limited to private-sector tenants of properties let under:[19]

  • an assured or assured shorthold tenancy

  • a regulated tenancy

The Secretary of State can extend the power to request an improvement to other types of tenant.[20] To date, the power has been extended to specified tenancies granted to agricultural occupiers.[21]

Tenancies let by private registered providers of social housing are excluded.[22]

When a landlord can refuse an energy efficiency improvement

A landlord can only refuse consent to a relevant energy efficiency improvement on limited grounds.[23]

This includes when the request was made after the:

  • tenant had served a notice to quit

  • landlord had served a notice to end the tenancy and possession proceedings may be brought

A landlord can also refuse consent if the improvements would result in a reduction of more than five per cent in the market value of the property.[24]

Last updated: 14 January 2022

Footnotes

  • [1]

    reg 22(a)-(b) 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]

    reg 38 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.

  • [7]

    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.

  • [8]

    s.42(2)(c) Energy Act 2011.

  • [9]

    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.

  • [10]

    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.

  • [11]

    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.

  • [12]

    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.

  • [13]

    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.

  • [14]

    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.

  • [15]

    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.

  • [16]

    s.2(1) Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962; Sch.1 Green Deal (Qualifying Energy Improvements) Order 2012 SI 2012/2105 as amended by Green Deal (Qualifying Energy Improvements) (Amendment) Order 2014/2020.

  • [17]

    reg 6 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962.

  • [18]

    regs 3 and 8 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962.

  • [19]

    s.42(1) and (2) Energy Act 2011; reg 5 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962.

  • [20]

    s.42(1)(a)(iii) Energy Act 2011.

  • [21]

    reg 2 Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) Order 2015 SI 2015/799.

  • [22]

    s.42(2)(c) Energy Act 2011.

  • [23]

    reg 9 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962.

  • [24]

    reg 16 Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/962.