New regulations to affect heating provision in HMOs

As a consequence of the European Union Directive on Energy Efficiency, updated in 2012, brought into statute through the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 mean that HMO tenants will be able to view and take note of their energy usage.

The purpose of this move is to help build green thinking into daily living practices within HMO properties. However, this change will impact a great many HMO landlords throughout England and Wales.

The Government’s reasons behind the move, apart from having to pass EU laws into the UK statute book, is to help “up to one million tenants renting from a private landlord so they can look forward to warmer homes that cost less to heat” (Gov, 2015). This move is being introduced by April 2018, and by law, landlords will be required to get their energy ‘leakiest’ properties up to E band grades. The Government argues, “fuel poor households living in the least efficient privately-rented homes already need to spend on average around £1,000 more to keep warm compared to the average home” (Gov, 2015).

The Residential Landlord Association argues, “As a result, the government passed The Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014. These require that anyone providing heating, cooling, or hot water to someone who is required to pay for it whether directly or by incorporation in their rent must provide a metering system of some description to allow that person to measure their use and provide thermostatic valves to allow for a degree of control to be exercised by that user. This caused a great deal of concern as the cost of fitting all this in many HMO properties would be prohibitive. There is an exemption to allow the changes not to be made where the cost is disproportionate but it was not clear how it was to be applied. The situation was further complicated by the wording of the EU Directive which makes reference to apartments, a concept that is not commonly used in Britain (RLA, 2015).”

These new changes now mean landlords of HMO properties who are also the heating supplier as defined by the tenancy agreement, will have to notify National Measurement and Regulation Office by the 31st of December 2015. This notification, delivered via a specific application available via the NMRO website will include the following details:

  1. Location of communal heating equipment and dials
  2. Estimates of the total capacity within the property for heating purposes
  3. Total number of HMO tenants
  4. Number of meters allocated and locations installed
  5. Name and address of the property’s heating supplier

Such notifications must be re-completed every four years as per the legislation. The purpose of these notifications is to make a UK green network of HMO properties. The Government wants all private and social housing associations and landlords to be greener by 2021. This is just one single act of many that are coming in this Parliament that will impact on landlords both in terms of time and money. Therefore, you must by the end of this year complete a notification application and send it to NMRO in order to avoid a £150 fine beginning from the 1st of January 2016. In the long term, projections from the RLA, indicate that landlords could save £1,200 a year from energy efficiencies. So it is in your interest to make your property more energy efficient.

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