Landlords; you cannot unreasonably refuse your tenant’s request to make energy efficient improvements to your property.
This blog addresses a tenant’s request to make energy efficient improvements where an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is in place.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/962) (“MEES Regulations”) allows assured shorthold tenants of some types of residential property, to request the landlord’s consent to the tenant making energy efficient improvements to the property. The Landlord is required not to unreasonably refuse consent to the improvements being made, even if the tenancy agreement prohibits such alterations.
A tenant can serve a notice on the landlord (“tenant’s request”) requesting the landlord’s consent to the making of one or more relevant energy efficiency improvements. The notice must do the following:
- State the energy efficiency improvements proposed for which the landlord’s consent is sought
- If the improvements have been recommended in a report, include a copy of any recommendation report, surveyor’s report or Green Deal report
- Written confirmation as to whether the tenant proposes to wholly or partly fund the improvements, or include evidence that funding is being provided free of charge under an energy supplier’s obligation. If the proposed works are not being funded under a Green Deal plan, then a quote from a Green Deal installer or other approved installer for the cost of the improvement.
A tenant may not request consent where the following applies:
- After notice has been served ending the tenancy
- Where the tenant has notified the landlord that they intend to vacate on expiry of the fixed term, within 3 months before the expiry of the fixed term
- Where the landlord has served notice ending the tenancy either by way of section 8 or section 21 notice
- The landlord has commenced proceedings for possession and the proceedings have not been resolved or an order for possession has been made
- Where the tenant has arranged for improvements under a Green Deal plan within the preceding 6 months
In the event a tenant’s request is served on the landlord, the landlord must not unreasonably refuse consent. There are however, legitimate grounds contained within Part 2 of the MEES Regulations where a landlord’s refusal of consent, will not be unreasonable, which are as follows:
- Where an independent surveyor’s report concludes that the proposed improvements would devalue the property by more than 5 % of the market value (“devaluation exemption”)
- Where a tenant’s request was made in the last 6 months from a different tenant in the same property and has been complied with
- Where a prohibition order and demolition order have been served or a declaration of clearance order has been made.
- An approved expert has determined that the proposed improvements are not appropriate due to a potential negative impact on the fabric or structure of the property
- If the proposed improvements are the same or substantially the same as an energy improvement, which the landlord proposed in the preceding 6 months.
What is currently unclear is whether the circumstances listed above are the only circumstances in which consent can be reasonably refused.
The landlord must reply to a tenant’s request within 1 month by way of either an initial response or a full response.
Failure to respond to the tenant’s request means that your tenant can apply to the First Tier-Tribunal. Even if you serve a counter-notice, if it doesn’t comply with the requirements in the MEES Regulations, your tenant can still apply to the Tribunal.
If you have any queries about a tenant’s request, please contact our property litigation team on 01803 202020 and we will be happy to help.