Energy efficiency in private rented housing

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in privately rented homes

Under the Energy Act 2016 landlords must:

1) Have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and provide a copy to tenants whenever they rent their properties out*; and

2) Ensure all rented homes have at least an E rating on the EPC:

  • Since 1 April 2016 – tenants can request energy efficiency measures and landlords may not unreasonably refuse consent.
  • From 1 April 2018 – all tenancies starting new or renewing after this date MUST have at least an E-rating on the property's EPC by law at no upfront cost to landlord
  • From 1 April 2019 – all tenancies starting new or renewing after this date MUST have at least an E-rating on the property's EPC by law for up to £3,500 worth of work
  • From 1 April 2020 – all other privately rented homes (i.e. those on continued leases) MUST have at least an E-rating on the EPC to be lawfully let out.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure they meet these requirements and have an EPC rated E+ as evidence that their property is legal to rent out (unless the property is exempt, see below).

*A copy of the EPC certificate must be provided by landlords to all assured shorthold tenants at the property whose tenancies began on or after 1st October 2015 (required under the Deregulation Act 2015).  

Further information on minimum energy efficiency standards in privately rented dwellings is available from the Resident Landlords Association.

Energy Performance Certificates

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold, or rented.  They contain information about the property’s energy use and typical energy costs, and how to reduce these. For more information on EPCs and whether a property needs one or not, visit the .Gov website.

To access an existing EPC or find an EPC assessor, visit the EPC Register website.

Exemptions from the Energy Act 2016 requirements

1) Buildings that don’t need an EPC; and 

2) Properties on the Government's Exemptions Register (available October 2017) are exempt from the Energy Act 2016 requirements.

Listed Buildings may be exempt if the necessary work to achieve an E+ rating would unacceptably alter the building’s character and appearance.

In order to know what energy efficiency improvement work would be necessary will likely necessitate getting an EPC. To understand the requirements and the historical significance of the property, landlords of Listed Buildings and/or properties in Article 4 conservation areas (currently Jericho and Osney) are advised to submit a Listed Building Pre-Planning application, listing all works intended to be carried out.  Advice from the pre-application will help landlords gauge whether recommended works are likely to be possible before putting in a full planning application.   

Apply for listed building pre-application advice

All properties will need to meet the Government's requirements in order to be added to the Exemptions Register (available October 2017), and must be on the register (or meet the E+ rating) to be legally let to new tenants from April 2018.

Further information and guidance: