Yes, the new regulations are referred to as both the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in different places. They apply to the whole Private Rented Sector (PRS) both Residential property (The Domestic Regulations) and Commercial Property (The Non-Domestic Regulations).
If you are a landlord in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) then the new regulations on the energy efficiency of property apply to you. Depending on whether you rent out residential or commercial property you are affected by either the Domestic or Non-Domestic Regulations.
Ignoring the Minimum Energy Performance Standards will mean that from 1st April 2018 you will not be able to lawfully put in place a new lease on your property. From the 1st April 2020 in the case of residential property and from 1st April 2023 for commercial property the rules will apply to all let property, not just new lettings. The sanctions for providing false information to the local authority or letting a property that has an EPC rating of less than an E include fines that start at £1,000 per infringement and can increase to £150,000 per infringement. If you are guilty of multiple infringements the penalties are cumulative. While it may seem expensive to carry out the required works, it will be significantly more expensive not to!
From the 1st April 2018, the Minimum Energy Performance Standards apply whenever there is a new lease on a property. The obvious case where there is a new lease is when a new tenant occupies a building but other situations where a new lease is created is where a tenant signs a new fixed term tenancy or when a fixed term tenancy ends and becomes a periodic tenancy. For example, if you let a house on a 12 month assured shorthold tenancy on the 2nd April 2017 it will expire 1st April 2018. On the 2nd April 2018 if that tenant is still in occupation they either need to sign a new fixed term tenancy or their agreement becomes a new periodic tenancy, either way the property must comply with the new regulations before 2nd April 2018 or the landlord could be liable for a significant fine.
It is difficult to know exactly how many properties the Minimum Energy Performance Standards will apply to but it is thought that approximately 75,000 commercial properties have an EPC rating of F or G and around 450,000 residential properties. To carry out works to all those properties before the 1st April 2018 nearly one a minute would need to be refurbished!
There are a number of exemptions that mean that in some cases you will not need to carry out work but we expect the number of properties that this applies to will be fairly minimal.
In some cases, landlords will take the opportunity to renovate what are often older less well maintained properties. While this will result in a capital outlay it should result in a property that is easier to rent at a higher rental value. In some cases energy efficiency measures, such as renewable heating systems could provide a return on investment in their own right and reduce your tenants bills.