Minimum standards for private rented homes

Today we’ve seen the news emerge that the long-awaited regulations imposing minimum standards for private rented homes have been laid in parliament. The regulations are much as expected, specifying that homes will need to meet a minimum energy performance of an EPC E in order to be let legally.

Looking in more detail there are, of course, some concerns. The “cost effectiveness” test still means that many landlords will be able to do relatively little if they really want to play the system, and there is no trajectory specified at the moment – removing the incentive to go beyond the minimum.

But let’s be clear: even with these deficiencies, the arrival of this legislation is HUGE. Not long ago, the prospect of poor performing homes becoming illegal would have seemed almost laughable. As of 2018, that will be precisely what we’ll see happen in the privately rented homes sector as a result of these regulations. Fine, some landlords will try to minimise their effort, or evade the legislation, or evade it altogether, but many won’t. And as a result we could see a much-needed shot in the arm to the retrofit sector, with benefits to costs and supply chains that spread beyond rented homes.

So let’s focus on what the bright side and be grateful that somehow, under a Government ridiculed for its claim to be the “Greenest… Ever”, something very positive may well have just happened – laying the foundations for a new era in which efficient homes are the rule and not the exception. We can get around to strengthening the legislation once the election’s out of the way!

If you’re a landlord and want to know more about how we can help you plan how to comply with these regulations, visit our “services for private landlords” page.