It will become illegal for landlords in the UK to rent out energy inefficient housing from April 2018, thanks to a new government law labelled the UK’s most important piece of green building legislation for existing stock in a generation.

The new requirement means landlords will need to get a property to a “Band E” Energy Performance Certificate rating before it can be put on the market (the lowest ratings are bands F and G, with most housing sold in the UK rated between bands C and E).

According to a government press release, the average difference in a heating bill between a Band E house and the most inefficient housing is £880 (A$1730) a year, with up to one million tenants set to benefit from the changes.

“These new regulations will drive bills down in some of the worst-insulated homes where up to one million tenants are paying too much to keep warm,” Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Amber Rudd said.

“It’s also good news for landlords, who can benefit from improved properties with the financial support of the Green Deal and other schemes, and a real boost to the industry.”

Tenants may benefit before the April 2018 deadline, from April 2016 being able to make alterations to improve energy efficiency that cannot unreasonably be refused by the landlord.

Acting chief executive of the UK Green Building Council John Alker said it was the “single most significant piece of legislation to affect our existing building stock in a generation, affecting a huge swathe of rented properties”.

“Government deserves huge credit for sticking to its guns. Some will undoubtedly cry ‘red tape’, but good landlords and forward-thinking property companies have nothing to fear. This could provide the impetus needed to upgrade our worst-performing, most energy-hungry rented properties and help to kick-start a multimillion pound market in energy efficiency products and services in the UK,” Mr Alker said.

Jenny Saunders, chief executive of fuel poverty charity National Energy Action, said the private rented sector currently had a number of properties not fit to rent out along with a high proportion of tenants in fuel poverty – having to spend more than 10 per cent of household income on energy bills.

“We hope the introduction of the new regulations can help landlords drive up standards in the sector, deliver more affordable fuel bills as well as reducing carbon emissions,” she said.

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  1. I agree it’s great news for the environment but unfortunately, as usual, those at the bottom of the economic ladder will suffer ie the tenants. Rents will increase and the availability of the rental housing stock will drop – ensuring even more rent increases. When governments introduce legislation they don’t factor in safety nets. The tenants are far more likely to be Labour than Conservative voters, so why would they bother?!