Energy efficiency isn’t something that tenants have historically looked for when deciding on a property to rent – normally the decision is more dependent on factors such as local transport links, the state of repair of the property and how much the monthly rent is likely to be. However, more of a spotlight has been thrown onto energy efficiency as a result of the requirement to provide an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) when advertising a property, as well as the general increased focus on energy efficiency in the home.
There are many reasons why energy efficiency is important in 2015, key among them is reducing the negative impact that we have on the world around us and overall human energy consumption – which sometimes, when you look at the statistics, is staggeringly wasteful. However, perhaps the main reason is that energy efficiency in the property in which you live will reduce your monthly bills. Energy bills have been in the news quite significantly over the past couple of years and are one of the main reasons that many of us have been feeling the pinch as the cost of gas and electricity has soared – particularly during the colder winter months. Even recent drops in prices have done little to correct things. Just imagine how much less pressure you would feel if you didn’t have such a high energy bill to factor into your expenses each month.
As a tenant, however, there’s very little that you can do about this, correct? Well at the moment, yes, but there are regulations currently going through parliament that will change all this in the very near future. The Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations are – as you can tell from the name – specifically aimed at tenants who are renting privately. They are attached to the Energy Act 2011 and, once they have been approved and made law, will have a practical effect as soon as April 2016. Here’s what you can expect from the Regulations:
April 2016 – residential private landlords will no longer be able to unreasonably refuse consent to a tenant’s request for energy efficiency improvements where these can be paid for either by the Green Deal or other subsidies. This covers improvements such as insulation, heating, draught proofing, double glazing and renewable energy such as solar panels.
April 2018 – from this date private domestic and non-domestic landlords must have carried out any necessary improvements to ensure that their properties reach the E rating on the EPC before a new tenancy can be granted to either new or existing tenants.
April 2020 – these rules will also apply to landlord occupied properties in the domestic sector.
Of course this all sounds great but do these energy efficiency measures translate into any actual savings for tenants? According to the Energy Saving Trust yes they do – double glazing, for example, could save the average home £100 a year in reduced fuel costs and solid wall insulation up to £455 a year. With average annual fuel bills coming in at £1,264 being able to force your landlord to make your home energy efficient could be seriously financially beneficial.