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Energy Performance Rating - New Rules

This section of the Property Portfolio is aimed at supporting landlords who may be affected by the measures in the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations 2015 that require a landlord to make energy efficiency improvements to their property. In response to legislation this page will go on to describe what Cornwall Council and others can do to support making essential improvements to privately rented properties affected by the regulations. 

You can find a more comprehensive guide to MEES regulations by visiting the Private Sector Housing Minimum Energy Standards Page.

The new rules came into force on 1 April 2018.  Landlords with properties that have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G are restricted from creating new (or renewing existing) tenancy agreements until such time that the energy efficiency of the property is improved to an E rating or better.

All landlords and property agents involved in renting private properties with an EPC rating of F or G.

All buildings constructed, sold or rented require an EPC.  This enables potential buyers, tenants or building occupiers to consider a building's energy efficiency and typical energy costs before making a commitment to the contract. It also gives suggestions of how to reduce the energy usage of that building.

Landlords have been required to have a certificate in order to be able to market their property for sale or rent since 1st April 2008. If you don't know if your property has one, or you can’t find it, you can search for an EPC certificate online by searching for "EPC Register" and by using the property’s postcode.

If you think you need a new certificate, you should find an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor; again you can find these by putting the relevant searches into the internet. 

It’s time to try and improve your rating. That might include investing in things like loft and wall insulation, LED lighting, and updating old boilers and appliances, or considering converting your energy supply to a sustainable energy source.

From 1 April 2020 all domestic private rental properties must be at a minimum of EPC band E, whether a new lease is being signed or not.

Your Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA), who created your EPC Certificate, will suggest recommended measures that can be undertaken.  The guide Selecting Energy Efficiency Measures has been produced to help you understand your EPC and what energy efficiency measures may be expected of you.

Your property might be exempt if it’s a listed building, or if it’s hard to treat or improve for structural reasons. If all suggested improvements have been made and the property remains EPC rated F or G, the building might also be eligible for exemption.

Please refer to our Private Sector Housing Exemptions page to find out more.

According to the new rules, exemptions must be registered on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register, details of which can be found here.

If you plan to exempt your property don’t delay. Register the exemption as quickly as possible to avoid breaching the regulations.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 has given local authorities the power to enforce minimum housing standards in the Private Rented Sector. This places a duty on all landlords to remove any Category 1 Excess Cold hazards in a rented property, irrespective of the minimum energy efficiency standards or any exemption registered.

Non-compliance with the MEES can attract a penalty of up to £5000 per breach per tenancy, but offences under the Housing Act in relation to Improvements required can impose civil penalties of up to £30,000 per offence. Therefore it is essential that the EPC rating and the MEES is not considered in isolation without assessing whether the heating provision to a property is adequate.

To ensure that you meet your statutory obligations, an Enforcement and Penalties guide has been produced to explain what enforcement action may be taken.

Some new amendments have been made to the Energy Efficiency Regulations governing England and Wales, which came into force on the 1st April 2019. 

The “No cost to Landlord” principal, where Landlords of F and G properties were only required to make improvements if they could do so entirely using third party finance or funding, has now been removed.  A cost cap of £3500 has also been introduced, which requires Landlords to use their own funds for relevant works, where no cost funding is available, up to the value of the cap before they can claim an exemption.

Landlords with existing “no cost” registered exemptions will only remain covered by these until the end of March 2020.

The key changes from 1 April 2019 include:

  • For F and G rated properties the landlord financial contribution element is capped at £3500 (including VAT)
  • An introduction of a high cost exemption which applies to properties rated F or G that cannot be improved to a band E at a cost of £3500 (including VAT)
  • Discontinuation of the zero cost to landlords’ exemption;
  • Existing exemptions for landlords currently registered due to being unable to fund energy efficiency improvements will end on 31 March 2020
  • Removal of the consent exemption in cases where a sitting tenant has withheld consent to a Green Deal finance plan.

Landlords who have a current exemption should make sure that they know whether this will be affected by the new regulations, and seek a new exemption if appropriate after 1 April 2019. Any landlords with F or G rated properties should review their Energy Performance Certificate which indicates what changes they can make to increase the rating of their property, and ensure they meet the requirements, or have a valid exemption, before 1 April 2020.

Useful sources of funding and information

Warm and Well Cornwall

Operated by Cornwall Council Warm and Well Cornwall provides access to funding through Energy Company Obligations (ECO) and Warm Homes Fund for energy efficiency measures based on occupant eligibility.

  • 01872 326 552 

Community Energy Plus

Community Energy Plus is an award-winning social enterprise that provides complete energy answers to help householders in Cornwall enjoy warmer, energy efficient homes as part of a more sustainable future.

  • 0800 954 1956

Green Deal

The Green Deal is a Government authorised scheme private to help home owners make energy-saving improvements to their home and find the best way to pay for them.

The improvements that could save the most energy depend on the property, but typical examples include: 

  • insulation, such as solid wall, cavity wall or loft insulation
  • heating
  • draught-proofing
  • double glazing
  • renewable energy generation, such as solar panels or heat pumps

Simple Energy Advice

Simple Energy Advice provide impartial and independent advice to help you:

  • Reduce your energy bills
  • Make your home warmer
  • Plan home improvements
  • Make your home greener
You can also use an energy efficiency calculator which will give you tailored advice for your property and advise if there are any grants available in your area.

Cornwall Council Building Control

ESconsult provide a range of consultancy services including Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) . These provide information which is a mandatory requirement for any new build dwelling or new dwellings created by conversion.

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