As Cardiff’s largest letting agent, we are frequently asked questions by our landlords and tenants relating to energy efficiency improvements in their rental properties. These questions are often about who is responsible for carrying out the works and who pays for the improvements, however, the answer to these questions can be quite complex due to the nature of the regulations surrounding energy efficiency improvements. As a result, we’ve written a short guide to energy efficiency improvements which will hopefully clear up any confusion landlords or tenants might have.
It’s common knowledge that all properties available for rent or sale in the UK today need to have a valid energy performance certificate (EPC) which shows tenants and buyers how energy efficient a home is, and how much the running costs are estimated to be a year. EPCs summarise this information using a rating of A-G, with A being the most efficient and G the least. What many tenants and buyers don’t know is that the EPCs also detail the energy efficiency rating the property could achieve if specific improvements are made, and shows the most important modifications to reduce bills.
It is obvious that a property buyer is responsible for all energy efficiency improvements they wish to make. However, this issue causes confusion between landlords and their tenants. As of 1 April 2016, (Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015), tenants have the right to approach their landlord requesting consent to carry out any energy efficiency improvements listed in the EPC. Under the regulations, tenants are able carry out improvements if they are listed in the Schedule to the Green Deal Order 2012, or are required to connect the property to the gas network; these improvements are to be paid for by the tenant either personally or through any remaining government green deal funding projects. Landlords are not required to fund these works themselves at this point.
Along with the improvement request, tenants also need to provide their landlord with a copy of the property’s EPC, and a surveyor’s report or Green Deal Advice Report; tenants should also detail the works they wish to carry out. If any of this information is missing, landlords are within their legal rights to refuse permission. Landlords can also refuse permission if a surveyor’s report has indicated that the works will have a negative effect on the property, or reduce the property’s value by more than 5%. Landlords can also refuse to give permission if they have already granted similar consent to another tenant within the last 6 months, or if a third party refuses to provide consent or provides terms and conditions which the landlord cannot comply with.
In addition to the above, a tenant may not be entitled to make an energy efficiency improvement request if they have arranged improvements through a Green Deal package in the last 6 months, or if their landlord has sought to carry out improvements themselves within the last 6 months. Furthermore, tenants who have served a Notice to Quit to vacate the property, or have been issued with a Section 8 or 21 notice by their landlord, cannot seek energy efficiency improvements.
Once a landlord has received a request from their tenants about improving the energy efficiency of their property, they must advise the tenant within a timely manner whether they refuse the request and explain why, consent to the works, consent to the works subject to professional advice, or will provide a counter proposal.
If a landlord offers a counter proposal, this will need to explain in detail to the tenant exactly what works will be carried out, and show that the works will deliver the same cost savings as those detailed in the tenant’s original request. Landlords will also need to show that the works will be carried out in the next 6 months, and that funding is available to complete the improvements. If the tenant lives in a flat, the landlord will also be expected to tell the tenant that permission for the improvements will need to be obtained by the super landlord (freeholder) before any consent is given.
Tenants can refer the case to the First-Tier Tribunal if they believe the landlord or super landlord has refused consent when it wasn’t reasonable to do so.
We hope this information helps answer any questions you may have about energy efficiency improvements you or your tenant wish to make. However, if you need any more information, our lettings team here at CPS Homes can help answer any further questions to may have. To get in touch, drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call on 02920 668585, or pop into our Cathays branch on Woodville Road, Cardiff.