Landlords Beware! – new EU regulations to protect tenants

As with a lot of EU Directives these days another one has slipped in with, what seems, the hope of catching out the unwary and imposing penalties on them for non-compliance!

This time the targets are landlords, both residential and commercial, and the directive in question is the snazzy named Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014.

The “purpose” of this new regulation is to enable tenants to pay for just the heat they use, and to put the onus on the landlord to make sure they capture the relevant information to be able to provide this level of accuracy.

As ever the devil is in the detail as to whether you are captured within these regulations, in short you need to work out if you are a “heat supplier” or a “final customer”.

A heat supplier is a person or company whom supplies and charges for the supply of heating, cooling, or hot water to a final customer.

A final customer is a person or business who purchases heating, cooling, or hot water for their own end consumption from a heat supplier.

Examples of where this could occur are in rented accommodation where there are multiple dwellings; sub-let space such as fitness centres or gyms in hotels or concessions in retailers; halls of residence; sheltered and social housing; residential care homes; shared offices; and shopping centres.

In any of the above examples the tenant or final customer may already have their heating metered and be paying for exactly what they use. However, traditionally the cost of the heating has been lumped in with all utilities and calculated based upon floor space. It is these arrangements that will fall foul of these new regulations.

In order to comply a landlord must first of all register themselves as a heat provider and then ensure that heat meters are installed on pipes going into a location.

The level of the fines for non-compliance have not as yet been clarified but are expected to be similar to those levied for non-compliance of CRC, and ESOS before, i.e. high!

To end of a positive, even though the regulations are onerous on landlords the remedy is quite easy to dispense. Meter installation is not the major exercise it once was and with new digital technology there are options to implement full managed billing services that take the whole issue of onward billing to tenants out of the landlords hands.

 

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