Landlords are being urged to consider what works may be required to improve their property's energy performance certificate ratings sooner rather than later, to stay ahead of planned regulation.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is warning that after 2016, landlords will be unable to refuse a tenant's reasonable request for Green Deal improvements. Furthermore, under the new legislation, landlords will be forbidden to let any properties found to have a poor Energy Performance Rating (F or G rated) after 2018.

Research provided by the British Property Federation (BFP) and Energy Saving Trust (EST) has shown that the cost of improving a typical F rated property to an E rating – which is likely to be the minimum standard for private rentals from 2018 – ranges from £100 up to £660. However, improving the property to the highest possible EPC rating could cost almost £20,000.

With December’s census revealing home ownership had fallen for the first time since records began and the number renting from a landlord doubling to 3.6 million homes, improving energy efficiency in the private rented sector will be key in helping to meet the government’s climate change obligations.

With this in mind the BPF and the EST has published a free guide explaining how landlords can plan and fund improvements to help ensure their investment will be lettable from 2018.

Thomas Younespour, senior policy officer for BPF, said: “The importance of a property’s EPC rating is likely to increase in the coming years. Not only have the rules been tightened over the provision and display of EPCs to prospective tenants and buyers, but regulations are planned for April 2018 to ban the letting of property with the poorest ratings – likely to mean F and G rated property.

“The details of such regulation are yet to be set out, but nonetheless indicate clear intent. It is often during void periods that improvement works can best be undertaken and therefore landlords are advised to consider sooner rather than later the energy efficiency of their properties and prepare a forward plan for works.”

NLA are launching an all-in-one product in February, NLA Green Deal that provides everything from initial assessment of a property, to finding a provider and installing the improvements.

David Salusbury, chairman of the NLA, said: “The Green Deal is a prime opportunity for private landlords to prove they are able to self-regulate and improve the energy efficiency of their properties. With over 4.5 million households currently renting private-residential property*, this will make a real difference to those who make their home in the sector, as well as helping landlords to future-proof their properties."

“It is imperative that landlords assess whether their properties are eligible for a Green Deal grant. The government has made it clear that there will be consequences for those who do not voluntarily improve the energy efficiency of their properties by a specific time, so there is no excuse not to comply with the cost-neutral scheme.”