Latest News

Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (R0PA) report to Government

18 July 2019

Today, Thursday 18 July 2019, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) released a report on the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) proposing a new regulatory framework to cover estate agents across the UK and letting and managing agents in England only. Read More...

More needs to be done to improve Universal Credit

17 July 2019

At recent Government meetings about Universal Credit, ARLA Propertymark highlighted that the continued cap in Local Housing Allowance is having a significant impact on its recipients’ ability to obtain good quality and well managed accommodation. Read More...

Are you ready for MEES next week?

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Unless you've been living under a bush, you'll know that Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) come into force across England and Wales on 1 April, meaning that some of your clients will inevitably need to make improvements before granting a new tenancy.

Plenty has been said about MEES before, but for those that may have missed it, here is a summary of the basics:

What type properties and tenancies does the regulation apply to

The regulations apply to any property type that requires an EPC and is one of the following tenancy types:

  • An assured tenancy (including an assured short hold tenancy) defined in
    the Housing Act 1988.
  • A regulated tenancy defined in the Rent Act 1977
  • An agricultural tenancy as set out in the Energy Efficiency (Domestic
    Private Rented Property) Order 2015.

Stages of implementation

Stage 1- with immediate effect, all properties that don't meet exemption criteria must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate of an E rating before any new tenancy is granted. 

Stage 2 - By 1 April 2020 ALL tenanted properties must have an energy rating of E or above, regardless of whether the tenant has been in the property for years, or its a new tenancy.

Exemptions

  • Property Devaluation - an independent surveyor report shows that energy efficiency measures would devalued the property 
  • temporary exemption - due to only having recently become a landlord
  • The cost cannot be wholly financed at 'no cost' to landlord (please see below)
  • Third-party consent exemption - e.g. external wall insulation or solar panel may require planning consent
  • Where all the ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’ for the property have been made (or there are none that can be made) and the property remains sub-standard. If this is the case the property must be registered on the PRS Exemption Register.

If they feel their property is exempt for any of the above reasons, landlords need to register exemptions on the PRS Exemptions register

What action should I take?

You should make sure that you become familiar with the current energy ratings for properties that you let, and keep in regular contact with your landlord clients where improvements are needed and check the progress of any works that are being carried out so that you can be ready for when the tenancy is up for renewal. Otherwise you could find yourself with a shortage on properties on your books that you are able to let out.

You should also advise your landlords to consider obtaining new EPCs for their properties even if the tenancy isn't due to end for a while. This will help with planning and ensure the rating is up to date (the methodology used to conduct EPC assessments has changed since they were introduced nearly a decade ago). They/you can then arrange for the relevant efficiency improvements to be carried out, before obtaining a new EPC done, unless of course, they are applying for an exemption on the property. 

Do the regulations apply to HMOs or sales?

Yes, the regulations do apply to HMOs for the property as whole. The regulations do not apply to sales.

The 'no cost' principle

As it stands, landlords are only required to carry out improvements where they can be done at 'no cost' - i.e where funding schemes such as Green Deal Plan, are available to cover the full cost of purchasing and installing the improvement(s). 

However the Government is currently consulting on removing the 'no cost to landlord' principle, instead suggesting a cap on landlords contribution to improvements,  which we have argued against in our response

Enforcement and Penalties

Local Authorities will be able to issue a compliance notice, apply financial penalties (up to £5000) and other enforcement action such as making the breech public by publishing details in the PRS Exemptions Register. 

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark commented on the upcoming energy efficiency deadline for landlords:

“On Sunday (1st April), all rented properties on new lets (including renewals) will be required to comply with the Government’s minimum energy efficiency standards. This will ensure tenants have better quality and better-insulated homes, as every BTL will be minimum EPC rated E – but there are thousands of landlords who aren’t ready for the deadline.

"While the number of properties which are EPC rated F or G has fallen dramatically from 700,000 in 2012, to 300,000 today, many landlords are yet to prepare their properties for the new laws. Sunday’s deadline means they’ll either face fines of up to £4,000, or lose money on empty properties which cannot be let until they meet the standards. Either way, it’s another kick in the teeth for hard-working landlords, and tenants looking to find affordable accommodation.”

READ THE FULL GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE

The case in Scotland
The Scottish Government have recently proposed that private rented properties should have a minimum of an E rating starting from 2019, escalating to a D rating by 2022. They have now released their analysis of responses from the public consultation on energy efficiency and condition standards in privately rented housing.

Help is at hand

ARLA Propertymark members can download our fact sheet on the regulations for more information, and contact the ARLA Legal Helpline if you need help deciphering the regulations and how they apply to properties you manage.  

Propertymark Industry Supplier Eco-energi has developed the Compliance Advisory Report (CAR). CAR examines the current EPC, considers any remedial works that have been done since the last assessment, and provides advice on what needs to be done to improve the EPC rating to E as a minimum. It’s a desktop service which means the initial outlay can be as little as £40, but it provides the vital information on whether you can relax or should act. Once the CAR has been received, and action is necessary, we can have the remedial works assessed, costed and, once agreed, works could be under way within a couple of weeks.

Call 01344 876 672 or email info@eco-energi.com for more information, making sure you mention that you're an ARLA Propertymark member.