The Energy Bill was first introduced in the House of Lords in December 2010, and the process completed within the Commons on the 14th September 2011. The House of Lords were in agreement with the amendments made to the Bill by the House of Commons, which allowed the Bill to receive Royal Assent on October 2011 and the Energy Bill was passed then as the ‘Energy Act 2011’.
The new legislation, which is part of the Energy Act 2011, makes landlords legally responsible for improving the energy rating of their property by various means. ‘The Green Deal’ is also going to be introduced as part of the ‘Energy Act 2011’ where there would be a financial arrangement to allow landlords or homeowners to make energy-saving improvements to their property and pay back the cost over time through their electricity bills. Although some of the legislation is yet to be brought in to action over the next few years, it is advisable for landlords to plan ahead and start making their properties more energy efficient.
So the pertinent question now is, will this new legislation really push landlords and tenants to concentrating their efforts on keeping their properties energy efficient? Perhaps it will because more recently, landlords, tenants and even lettings agents in London and other parts of the UK are being trained to conduct the audits or certification of properties (Energy Performance Certificates). This audit or certification considers factors like identifying the type of boiler, the water heating and storage, thickness of walls, number of low energy light bulbs, etc.
The Energy Act aims at introducing energy efficiency measures to residential and commercial properties in order to achieve low carbon emission with better energy supply and use. This will then help to create fair competition within the energy markets.
The current Energy Performance Certificate rating is from A-G and the figures from a recently conducted, over 14 % of landlord owned properties come under the bottom two energy efficiency categories F and G. Ideally, each home must have this certificate which displays the complete information on how much energy the property typically uses.
Interestingly, as per the legislation under the Energy Act 2011, renting out properties that lie below the minimum standard E will be against the law from April 2018 onwards. In such a case, landlords shall become legally compelled to upgrade the energy efficiency and rating of their property.
It is important that this legislation be forced into practice because introducing new energy efficiencies will only contribute in making a property more appealing to tenants. This is because tenants would obviously want to reduce their overall costs by saving on soaring energy bills. Landlords must therefore focus on improving the property from this perspective also to face the upcoming competition in the rental market in London.