New Energy Efficiency Regulations in England and Wales – Northern Ireland to Follow?

October 2, 2015

The 26th March 2015 saw the implementation of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Sector) (England and Wales) Regulations. The provisions have far-reaching implications, setting a minimum lawful Energy Performance Rating of ‘E’ for domestic and non-domestic properties alike. From 1 April 2018 the regulations will apply to all new leases/lease renewals and from 1 April 2023 they will be enforced in respect of all privately rented property, including where there is an existing lease.

Unless the particular circumstances fall within stated exemptions, Landlords will be given a period of 6 months from the grant of a new tenancy to comply with the new regulations, otherwise, penalties will become payable. Further, where a non-compliant property is sold, the new owner will be granted a similar 6 month reprieve to make the necessary improvements.

The penalty for non-compliance will be a £5,000 fine along with publication of the landlords’ failure to comply. Infringement by letting of a non-compliant property for a period of less than 3 months will result in a fine calculated at 10% of the property’s rateable value with a minimum threshold of £5,000 and a maximum of £50,000. Failure for a period of 3 months or more will attract a penalty of 20% of the rateable value with a minimum threshold of £10,000 and a maximum of £150,000. The changes arising out of enforcement of these regulations could therefore have very significant implications for the marketability and rental prospects of some properties unless they have been upgraded to meet the minimum EPC rating.

Whilst to date there has been no similar proposal in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Government states a target of a greenhouse gas emission reduction by at least 35% by 2025 compared to the level recorded in 1990. For now, we must wait to see whether Northern Ireland will follow England and Wales in setting a minimum lawful Energy Performance Rating for domestic and non-domestic properties.

Please note; the content of this article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional legal advisor before any action is taken.

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