As society becomes more environmentally conscious, stricter energy efficiency regulations in the private rented sector are inevitable. This leaves landlords with two options: bury their heads, or welcome the changes, not just for the viability of their portfolios but to help satisfy the goal of making the property sector more energy efficient.

While increased regulation may dent profit margins, landlords must realise that energy-efficient housing is something tenants really value. Not only do Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) help reduce carbon emissions, they also reflect general market sentiment. Tenants are increasingly both environmentally conscious and mindful of rising energy costs, meaning there is huge demand for energy-efficient housing.

Portfolio and build-to-rent landlords are ahead of the curve, as most of their properties are already well above the proposed new minimum standard, and their market share is likely to grow.

But the way changes are being rolled out will alter the market and could exacerbate the housing crisis. The cost of upgrading a D- to G-rated home to be compliant is still unknown to many landlords, but it is likely to be prohibitive for most accidental or DIY landlords, and many will sell up. This loss of stock will put pressure on an already supply-constrained market and drive up rents.

Instead of increasing landlords’ costs by raising the minimum EPC grade to C, it would be more useful to enforce existing legislation. For instance, we must hold landlords accountable to their obligations and more barriers should be put in place to stop non-compliant landlords from advertising illegal F- or G-rated listings on DIY platforms.

Prior to changes coming into force, existing landlords looking to remain compliant should consider taking actionable steps to improve their properties’ EPC ratings.

Amid sky-rocketing rents and the cost-of-living crisis, bills are ballooning for tenants and landlords alike. Adhering to MEES not only future-proofs a landlord’s asset but also improves the market standard for energy-conscious renters.

Asaf Navot, founder, proptech start-up Home Made