LANDLORDS have been warned that their tenants could soon demand they upgrade their homes to make them energy efficient.

From April, 2016 landlords will only be able to say “no”

to tenants demanding properties are made energy efficient in exceptional circumstances.

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The idea is to make sure nearly all UK buildings emit “close to zero” carbon by 2050 so the country can fall in line with legal targets.

According to the government, owner-occupied homes have a better standard of insulation and other energy efficient measures than rented dwellings.

For example, 5.8 per cent of all rented homes are in the lowest category for energy efficiency compared to 3.4 per cent of owner-occupied properties.

Furthermore, 20 per cent of privately rented households are “fuel poor,” meaning that occupiers struggle to heat their homes. This level is much higher than in owner-occupied homes.

Since the 2011 Energy Bill, a number of “green deals” have been offered to landlords and tenants.

These involve improvements being made to homes through various government backed providers, including some energy companies.

Both landlords and tenants must agree to the scheme, which can involve replacement boilers and even the installation of solar power.

The cost repayments are made by the electricity bill payer, nearly always the tenant.

However, it is expected that in the long-run the tenant will end up with lower bills as a result of the measures taken.

The government is now hoping to speed up the improvement process and will make a total of £120m available in a Green Deal Home Improvement Fund next year.

The following year tenants will be able to demand their landlords take measures to make their homes more energy efficient.

County Durham landlord Kathleen Heskett, who lets out a pair of properties, said she approved of the scheme.

“There’s more red tape and rules and regulations than I anticipated, but I can see the point of most of them,” she said.

“My partner and I are, I guess, ‘accidental landlords’, but years ago I used to rent a property myself and I strongly believe in being a good, responsible landlord.

“I think if people can see the point of the legislation and it actually improves the home, as this does, then it’s a good idea.”

n The government has also laid out plans to force landlords renting out business properties to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

The record for rented business properties in terms of energy efficiency is lower than for homes, with 18 per cent of nondomestic properties in the very lowest bands for environmental performance certificates.

The government, which has just issued a consultation document on the issue, says by April 2018 all non-domestic properties will have to hit a minimum efficiency standard before they can be let.