Insurance giant AXA says that one in 20 rental properties still have energy performance ratings below the minimum standards due to come into force in April next year.
The company surveyed 1,000 tenants in August this year and found that 50 of them were living in properties with an Energy Performance Rating of F or G.
The company says that this means, if its research is applied to the UK housing market, some 200,000 properties still need work on them to get them above the F rating threshold, below which from April next year landlords and agents will not be able to offer properties for rent.
AXA also says that tenants living in the best-insulated properties with an A rating are paying a lot more in monthly energy bills than those in the bottom two – £61 versus £112 – and that tenants living in poorly-insulated rental properties are over-paying in total by £13 million every month.
“Many landlords we speak to are ‘accidentals’, who typically own one or two properties,” says Gareth Howell, Managing Director of AXA Direct (pictured, left).
“They are, by and large, professionalising and investing more seriously in their tenants’ comfort and the future health of their rental properties.
“Pockets of failure exist in this market, but it is not the story for the 95 per cent of landlords who are trying to do the right thing.”
The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards introduced within the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Sector) Regulations 2015 applies to properties in England and Wales only – Scotland already has similar regulations in place.
Extensions and exemptions
In some special circumstances landlords can be given extensions of up to six months to comply with the regulations, while the MEES regulations do not apply to lettings of six months or less.
Landlords can also apply for a five-year exemption if the tenant refuses to allow the works, or they can obtain written advice from an expert that improvement works would devalue the property by 5% or more.
The new MEES regulations will be enforced by local Trading Standards Officers and fines of up to £150,000 per violation are able to be slapped on errant landlords.
Read our latest blog on the new EPC ratings.