Government Urged To Amend Energy Efficiency Laws

Pressure has been put on the Government to close a loophole in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rulings that can negatively affect certain tenants. The loophole that has been found to allow a number of landlords to avoid informing potential new tenants the energy efficiency of their property.

The law allows landlords who are renting out rooms of a particular property individually to neglect informing potential tenants of the property’s energy efficiency. However, the Energy and Climate Change Committee plans to bring this issue in front of the Government in the form of a private members bill this month.

An energy performance certificate is a requirement whenever a property is constructed, sold or rented, and illustrates where a property is or isn’t energy efficient.

Dr Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test and a member of the energy and Climate Change Committee, intends to introduce a bill targeting the landlords who rent rooms in houses of multiple occupancy (HMO). These houses included student houses, bedsit accommodation and hostels.

New laws were passed last year dictating that everybody renting or buying a new property had a right to view the energy efficiency of the property in the guise of an Energy Performance Certificate. These rulings will help those looking at investing in the property understand how high their energy costs may be. Furthermore, it would help the dwellers understand the impact upon the environment that they are having.

Dr Whitehead hopes that the bill will ensure that an EPC for the whole building is made available free of charge to any potential tenant. The bill would have an immediate impact, allowing the tenant to understand the energy efficiency of the property and its repercussions before signing a contract with a landlord.

Her explained: Because HMO landlords renting out their rooms on an individual basis don’t at present have to provide EPCs. They avoid what was supposed to be a universal government requirement across the private rented sector to give tenants the right to request reasonable energy efficiency improvements and to bring the energy efficiency of properties up to grade E by 2018.

This Bill draws in HMOs under the scope of the 2011 Energy Act, which was always I believe the original intention of the Government but which hasn’t happened because of this loophole. It’s a simple way of getting tenants a fairer deal, and making sure the Government’s aspirations on improving energy efficiency in the private rented sector do move forward. I hope the Government gives the Bill a fair hearing next week.

This bill has earned the support of the UK Green Building Council; their Director of policy and communications, John Alker argued: “Privately rented homes are some of the poorest performers on energy efficiency, leading to tenants with unhealthy homes and high bills. I hope the government does the decent thing and accepts this is a loophole that needs to be shut tightly, and doesn’t stand in the way because of any misconceived notions of red tape.”

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