From 1st October 2008 there are new rules for rented property including buy to let, commercial, residential or industrial.
All buildings will be required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) whenever they are bought, sold or rented. Currently these certificates are part of a Home Information Pack (HIP) and they will apply to all premises when they are let after 1st October 2008. Responsibility for the EPC rests with the landlord and the EPC is to be made freely available to any prospective tenant, prior to entering into a lease agreement.
These new rules apply to any building that is rented and it will be illegal to advertise a rental property unless it has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The Energy Performance Certificate will detail the energy performance of a property and a certificate will be required for each self contained accommodation unit. So if you have a block of 4 flats, each one needs its own certificate. The main exceptions will be temporary accommodation and holiday lets.
Whilst the document will contain suggestions on how the property can be improved in relation to energy efficiency, there is currently no obligation for landlords to carry out any improvements listed.
It is the landlords responsibility for ensuring an EPC is in place, so if you employ the services of a letting agent you should make sure they understand the rules and instruct them to comply with the regulations.
More information can be found here.