As of Friday, 1st April, private tenants will be able to request consent from their landlords to conduct energy efficiency improvements on their rental properties.
The landlord will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent. However, it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure that the works are funded and that there are no upfront costs to the landlord, unless the landlord agrees to contribute.
This is a separate regulation to the new energy performance rules, which will require all private rental properties to be brought up to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least an E from 1st April 2018.
Tenants in the private rental sector can make the requests in England and Wales from Friday. Properties covered by the regulations include those let under an assured tenancy, or a tenancy or shorthold that is a regulated tenancy for the purpose of the Rent Act 1977.
Regardless of whether the property has an EPC rating at the time of the tenant’s request, the tenant still has the right to make a bid. However, if a building is not within the scope of the EPC regulations, a landlord does not have to provide consent for the improvements.
The works covered by the regulations are any energy efficiency improvements that qualify for the Green Deal and the installation of a gas supply where the mains are within 23 metres of the property.
The tenant’s request is for a landlord to give consent to the carrying out of specified works. This includes not just the immediate landlord, but also the superior landlord or freeholder in leasehold properties. Consent must not be unreasonably refused by any of them.
Consent is required not just for permission under the terms of a tenancy agreement, but also for work outside the boundaries of the property, such as in a block of flats.
From 1st April, a tenant will be able to request consent to install energy efficiency measures at their property, as long as the measure is one of those listed in the Schedule of the Green Deal (Qualifying Energy Improvements) Order 2012, or is to connect the property to the gas network. The tenant must also have a way of funding the measure at no cost to the landlord, such as through Green Deal finance, Government grants or incentives, ECO, other grant funding, or paying for the measures themselves.
An EPC, surveyors report or Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR) is not required under these regulations, but may be required if the tenant wishes to make use of Government funding or ECO.
If a tenant does not provide an EPC, surveyors report or GDAR, the landlord will have grounds for refusing consent if they have advice that the measure is not suitable for the property.
For a request to be valid, a tenant must specify and provide details of the energy efficiency measures that they wish to install, and provide written evidence to the landlord of either a Green Deal Finance Plan, or evidence of quotes for the improvements from an authorised Green Deal installer, or installer who meets relevant installer standards.
Landlords are able to propose a counter offer, where the energy efficiency improvements would provide the same or mostly the same savings on energy bills as was specified in the tenant’s request. Additionally, the counter proposal must not include work that would result in an initial or continuing cost to the tenant that exceeds the cost of all the relevant energy efficiency improvements specified in the request.
Be aware that from Friday, you will be required to grant consent for tenants to have these improvement works completed.