Radical new proposals for energy efficiency in the private rented sector could see landlords fined up to £30,000 for not improving their properties and tenants given the ability to claim compensation.
The Government's consultation on its energy efficiency regulations sets out its aim to upgrade as many private rented homes as possible to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C by 2030.
It says the sector has some of the coldest homes - about 67% are rated at less than EPC band C - posing a risk to tenant health and leading to higher bills.
Ministers hope to introduce the changes for new tenancies from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028, and to increase the maximum investment amount, resulting in an average per-property spend of £4,700 under a £10,000 cap.
This ultimately aims to benefit landlords, tenants and the environment by creating lower energy bills, warmer homes, potential property value gains and greater carbon emission savings.
But an alternative proposal in its consultation would see landlords required to reach a dual metric target of both Energy Efficiency Rating (cost) band C and an Environmental Impact Rating (carbon emissions) band C, with an increased cost cap of £15,000.
The Government is also considering requiring letting agents and online property platforms to only advertise and let properties that comply with the regulations, as well as requiring them to provide an EPC before advertising a property, increasing the fixed civil penalty fine for offences to £30,000 - per property and per breach - and introducing a property compliance and exemptions database.
It suggests that local authorities could inspect properties and use EPC open data for enforcement, and to give tenants power to request that energy performance improvements are carried out when a landlord is non-compliant. It's also proposing that tenants should be able to request redress from the landlord if they fail to comply.
Read the consultation document in full. Landlords and other interested groups have until 30th December 2020 to respond.