It may come as no surprise that we are becoming heavily more legislatively based as an industry. There are in excess of 150 different pieces of legislation which private Landlords & Letting Agents now need to adhere to. I find myself asking quite frankly, what is the point? I would imagine, this ever-increasing red tape is implemented to eliminate any hooky landlords and/or agents who don’t play by the rules and give the rest of us in the Private Rental Sector a bad name.
However, without any acting regulatory bodies enforcing these procedures, I would envisage this would have the opposite impact on what the government are trying to do, whereby good landlords and agents continue to act in accordance with tenancy law and consequently, are put under increasing pressure whereas, unscrupulous property members continue to pervert the course of justice without penalty.
As I dismount my high horse, I believe in a stronger regulatory framework in our sector as, in time, it will mean better quality of housing stock for tenants and better levels of service provided by agents for their landlords. One of these pieces of legislation is the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) which sets out to improve energy efficiency in the Private Rental Sector.
Effectively, since 1st April 2018, it has become a legal requirement to ensure that any property marketed to be rented out under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, to have a minimum rating of ‘E’ or above. As a side note, from 1st April 2020, this legislation is being back-dated retrospectively across all existing Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
With the legislation out of the way, let’s look at the statistics. According to The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, since 2008, there have been a staggering 20,586,000 Energy Performance Certificates lodged in England and Wales. In York specifically, a total of 62,572 Energy Performance Certificates have been lodged on the EPC register. Of these EPC’s, 1,917 came back as an ‘F’ rating and 514 as a ‘G’ rating, meaning 2,431 properties would currently be illegally rented under MEES, if marketed since April 2018. Admittedly, there are certain caveats and ways one can apply for exemptions e.g. where a property is a listed building. However, simply stating ‘my property is a listed building’ will not be enough defence if Trading Standards come knocking.
On the plus side, on average, York outperformed the rest of Yorkshire and Humber which, according to MHCLG reported that 6.35% of properties fell below MEES guidelines.
When all is said and done, my first piece of advice is if you are renting a property, check the EPC register to assess the EPC rating and should this fall below an ‘E’, then there will be recommendations shown on how to improve the rating and there may be certain exemptions you can potentially rely on. If you require any assistance on raising the energy performance of your rental property, please get in touch as I’d love to help.