Landlords are being urged to make sure their properties are more energy efficient ahead of new regulations coming in to force from 1 April 2018.
Members of Durham County Council’s trading standards team are advising landlords with less efficient properties that may fall foul of the new regulations if improvements aren’t made.
From April 1, all properties which are required to have Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) must have an energy rating of E or above, if a new tenancy agreement is signed.
The same regulation applies for tenancy agreements which will be renewed after 1 April.
Where below standard, improvements can be made to bring the property rating up to a minimum E rating.
Energy improvements such as installing a more efficient boiler, radiator thermostat valves, insulation, double-glazing, and solar panels are some of the measures which can improve an energy efficiency rating.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “These new requirements not only address the environmental impact of CO2 emissions from properties, which accounts for 12 per cent of the UK’s total CO2 emissions, but will also improve the daily lives of the county’s residents.
“There are a high number of domestic rented properties across County Durham, and these requirements seek to improve tenants’ living standards, as well as save them money on household bills.
“Where landlords fail to comply with their legal obligations, and let property below an E rating, or lodge false information on the exemptions register, they may face a financial penalty for each let property of up to £5,000.
“Failing to respond to an information request by ourselves may also result in a penalty notice of up to £2,000.”
The same will apply to non-domestic lets, with landlords no longer able to grant new or renewed tenancy agreements for commercial properties which fall below a minimum E efficiency rating.
The new provisions were first laid out in the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) Regulations which were introduced by the Government in 2015.
Further provisions will come into effect in 2020, when all rentals, whether new or existing, will be required to have a minimum E energy efficiency rating.
Further guidance for landlords can be found online via www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property