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New energy standards could pose trouble for UK landlords

Of all of the potentially sound reasons to sell buy to let property, overly burdensome regulations have to rank highly. That makes it highly advisable for current owners of rental property to heed the words of law firm Maples Teesdale, which has warned they could be financially penalised and prevented from letting their properties as a result of new minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) set to take effect from 2018.

The company suggested that the new legislation could amount to a ticking time bomb for a buy-to-let market that could be consequently hampered by decreased property values and rental income. The non-domestic minimum energy efficiency regulations for England and Wales dictate that all relevant properties will need to boast a minimum standard of energy efficiency before they can be let out to tenants, save for certain exemptions, by 1st April 2018.

UK landlords must also factor in - from 1st April 2016 - Tenant's Energy Efficiency Improvement Regulations that will enable tenants to ask for their landlord's consent for energy efficiency measures that the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse.

Maples Teesdale partner Neil Sagoo commented: "These regulations are likely to have a big impact on the private rented sector. They are presenting a straightforward ultimatum: bring your properties up to scratch in terms of energy efficiency, or risk losing income."

The firm has warned landlords that they could face severe consequences as a result of any failure to make the investment needed in their properties to meet the minimum standards. Not only could non-complying landlords be hit by financial penalties with a possible connection to the amount of rent earned for as long as they are in breach, but in extreme cases, they could be forced to make the required improvements by a tribunal.

According to Sagoo, "This means that landlords can no longer pay lip service to energy efficiency. Whereas it was once a worthy aspiration, it is becoming is fundamental as fire safety or building regulations and is to be ignored at your peril."

A brief consultation took place at the end of last year, the government subsequently signalling its intention to have the regulations in place prior to the May general election. It is thought that MEES' implementation will take place in stages, with all new lettings being subject to the new rules by April 2018, followed by all remaining existing lettings from April 2023.

If that sounds like too much of a burden to realistically cope with as a landlord, never fear - here at Open Property Group, we offer a swift and reliable means by which you can sell buy to let property so that you can reduce the size of your portfolio - or end your involvement in the private rental market altogether. Get in touch now for a no-obligation cash offer for your property.

Published on 30th January 2015

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