Landlords would be forced to invest in bringing rental properties up to a certain energy-efficiency standard or face having to cut rents on properties that are more expensive to heat under proposals being considered by the Government.

The options are contained in a consultation paper on improving warmth and energy efficiency in Ireland’s growing rental sector that were published on Thursday by Minister for Energy Richard Bruton.

There is no requirement at present for either commercial or residential landlords to achieve a minimum grade under the State’s Building Energy Rating (BER) scheme. More than a fifth of rental properties in the State have the most inefficient ratings, F or G, on the BER scale.

Ireland’s private rental sector is growing, with a total of 341,908 tenancies now registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

The paper shows regulations making it mandatory to achieve a minimum BER standard in a property before it is offered for rent are being considered. Under another option out for consultation – called a “cost balancing arrangement” – landlords who are “unable or unwilling” to bring a property up to standard could be forced to compensate tenants for the cost of heating a property.

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