New bill sets minimum energy efficiency for renters

The Northern Ireland Assembly has backed a new law which sets a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for landlords hoping to rent their properties in Northern Ireland.

As well as stopping rents from being increased more than once a year, the Private Tenancies Bill dictates that homes cannot be let out if their energy efficiency rating is below an as yet undetermined point.

As the cost of energy continues to rise this legislation is designed to help tackle poverty across NI.

In England and Wales, private properties must meet a minimum energy efficiency standard, with the aim that renters can afford to heat them, but there are currently no such restrictions in Northern Ireland.

The Bill, which was passed by oral vote, was brought by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey. Ms Hargey said the bill would “provide enhanced protections for tenants when it comes to evictions” and was “the beginning of private rented sector reform”. She added “I have laid the foundations for energy-efficiency improvements that will reduce fuel poverty and assist us in meeting our climate change targets.”

The Bill now passed to Royal Assent and a schedule for implementation is to be announced.