The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says that from April 2018, landlords in England and Wales will be legally required to raise the energy efficiency of rental properties to at least "Band E" in energy efficiency standards.
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ranks a property's efficiency from A for the most well-insulated and energy-saving homes, to G for the worst.
From April 2016, landlords of privately rented homes will also be required to accept reasonable requests from tenants for energy efficiency measures to be installed.
Commenting on the announcement Richard Lambert, chief executive officer at the National Landlords Association (NLA), said: "The Government has struck a delicate balance between making clear what is expected and ensuring that there is a realistic prospect of landlords being able to comply.
“Setting the standard at a sensible rather than aspirational level, allowing time to achieve it and granting exemptions if the necessary improvements cannot be funded through the Green Deal or other government subsidies means that these new regulations will not impose an unreasonable burden. Indeed, where a landlord is in a position to undertake improvements, there will be no good reason not to.
“The NLA actively encourages landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties because it's good business practice: a warm tenant is a happy tenant."
However Friends of the Earth – which led the campaign for tougher rules – said the new rules don’t go far enough.
“The new regulations only ban the most dangerously cold homes, and are riddled with loopholes which unscrupulous landlords can take advantage of.
“Regulations requiring private rented homes to be insulated to a far higher standard are vital to prevent cash-strapped tenants shivering in heat-leaking homes, and to help reduce the nation’s contribution to global climate change.“