The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is calling for a year delay in the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) for rental properties as it argues the legislation will ‘fail’ older rural properties.
From the 1st of April 2018 it will be illegal to let a property that has an energy performance certificate (PC) rating of below E. However, the CLA argues that this will lead to thousands of rental properties across rural England and Wales becoming incorrectly illegal to let.
Confusion remains as to whether listed buildings are exempt from the regulations, with the CLA suggesting that there needs to be a clear understanding of which buildings are affected.
It has also voiced concerns that people who own older homes are being pushed by the ruling into taking efficiency improvement measures that are either inappropriate or outright harmful’ to the structure and character of traditional homes.
A key concern is that older properties are built to allow moisture to move through the wall. In contrast, modern buildings are constructed with an impermeable layer of insulation to prevent moisture getting into the structure from the outside. Adding this layer to a traditional structure could damage the property and harm the occupier.
Furthermore, the way in which the government assess the energy efficiency of buildings is biased against old homes, with one third of properties set to be affected by MEES given a lower EPC than they deserve. This is because the EPC rating actually indicates how cost effective a property is to heat rather than how energy efficient it is.
Finally, the MEES legislation was originally drafted on the basis that property owners could procure financial support to make any improvements under the Green Deal. However, the Green Deal was scrapped in 2015, yet the legislation has not been updated.
CLA deputy president Tim Breitmeyer said: ‘We support the principles behind the MEES regulations, but there are so many errors, delays and uncertainties that it is almost impossible to advise anyone on how to be proactive and ensure compliance. This has a negative effect on landlords, tenants and the government’s own policy objectives. Without the framework in place it is unjustifiable to ask landlords to act on the regulations when so much remains unclear.’