It is with great interest that I have watched the progression of the UK Government’s Energy Bill. Introduced to the House of Commons in March 2011, the Bill proposes a series of measures including the Green Deal (which will enable homes and businesses to avoid the up-front costs of energy efficiency measures by adding an extra charge to energy bills).
As the Bill makes its way through Parliament a number of changes have been proposed. Two changes in particular have key implications for the real estate sector:
- The Energy Bill has now been redrafted to include a duty on the Government to bring forward regulations which will prevent the letting of the UK’s worst performing property from 2018. The detail is not prescribed in primary legislation, but Ministers have indicated that “worst performing property” will mean all properties which achieve less than an EPC-rating of ‘E’. If the Bill receives Royal Ascent as expected, asset owners will need to assess the implications of this to their portfolios and respond accordingly to ensure that their assets remain marketable post-2018.
- Zac Goldsmith (MP)has tabled an amendment to the Bill, which, if accepted, would require the UK Government to legislate to make Display Energy Certificates (DECs) mandatory for all commercial buildings within 12 months of the Energy Bill becoming law. This motion is supported by the BPF, UK GBC and a group of property companies including British Land, Hermes, Henderson Global Investors and Land Securities.
While the final committee stages for the proposed Energy Bill have been delayed until the Autumn, if and when it receives Royal Ascent it presents a number of significant implications for the real estate sector and is definitely one to watch.