Definitions and processes update – sale and rental
Definitions and outline processes for sale and rental
1. At the Wider Context 8 subgroup meeting, members considered a paper setting
out proposals on the situations in which the REEPS standard should apply (in
terms of the types of “sale” and “rental” to be considered for trigger points), and
outline processes for enforcing that standard.
2. This paper provides a summary of those discussions; seeks REEPS’ members
views on several recommendations; and notes areas for further development,
either pre-consultation, and/or as specific issues to raise during the consultation
phase. This will be relevant to Item 6 Forward Look on today’s agenda.
3. We will also need to consider how these issues might be affected if the
consultation also proposes a backstop date.
Definition - sale
4. If all transfers of properties/changes in title are included in REEPS, the demand
for exemptions and abeyances may hold up a number of transactions, for
example where a person inherits a property but has no available funding to carry
out improvements (as they would not be covered by the flexibility to “pass it on”
as the inheritor is, in effect, the buyer). REEPS previously agreed in principle
that exemptions and abeyances should be as few and as simple as possible.
5. The Wider Context subgroup therefore recommends that for the purpose of the
consultation, the standard should only apply to transactions where money has
changed hands and where the property is covered by the EPBD.
Definition - rental
6. For the purposes of REEPS rental properties can be defined as properties that
are covered by the PRHP (private rented housing panel) and the requirements of
EPBD. The Wider Context subgroup considered whether to exclude HMOs and
agricultural tenancies as they are covered by other regulatory regimes (although
the repairing standard also applies to HMOs), but agreed that further work should
be done to look at whether they can be covered by REEPS.
7. Further work needed:
 we will work with subgroups to identify recommendations on inclusion of
other types of rental within the scope of REEPS, including HMOs,
agricultural tenancies and holiday lets.
Definitions and processes update – sale and rental
8. The subgroup also considered outline processes for applying and enforcing the
standard at the point of sale and rental. Situations (4) and (5) recognise that there
may be situations where a property does not have to meet the standard:
(1) Property is sold/rented as meeting the standard
(2) The property is sold/rented as not meeting the standard and the obligation is
passed to the buyer/landlord must comply within a certain time
(3) The property is sold as not meeting the standard, but the buyer does/landlord
does not do the work
(4) Exemption/abeyance identified pre-sale/rental
(5) Exemption/abeyance identified post-sale/rental
(1) Property meets the standard prior to sale/rental
9. An EPC is required at the point of sale/rental, and its rating should be included in
the advert. This should provide the evidence that a property meets the standard
10. For sale, this should be confirmed during the conveyancing process. For rental, it
will be important to raise awareness with tenants so that they know to ask for the
EPC and its rating.
11. Areas for further work:
 whether sanctions are needed if subsequently found not to meet the
 identify roles for estate agents, letting agents, solicitors in advising buyers
and tenants of the “REEPS ready” nature of the property, to include within
the consultation;
 consider routes for ensuing tenants get the information.
(2) The property is sold or rented prior to meeting the standard
12. For sale, the obligation would pass to the buyer. A clause could be written in to
the missives to confirm that the seller is not responsible for carrying out the work.
The buyer would complete the work, and provide evidence of this.
13. For rental, the tenant should be made aware of this, if enforcement is to be
through the repairing standard. It may also be advisable for the landlord to get
written permission from the tenant to ensure access to the property to complete
the work.
14. Further development work:
 a process needs to be in place for the buyer/landlord to confirm to the
enforcing body that they have done the work;
 clarification of whether that requires a new EPC in every situation, or
whether an alternative may be suitable;
 exploration of how these properties/obligations can be flagged to the
enforcement authority
Definitions and processes update – sale and rental
identifying proposals for the timescales for completing the work, with
reference to measures identified through modelling.
(3) The property is sold or rented as not meeting the standard; the buyer or landlord
does not do the work within the specified period
15. The processes would be the same as in (2), up until the point at which the
deadline for completing the work passes.
16. For sale, the intention is to consult on a proposal similar to existing work notice
powers, in that the local authority can enforce works that have been required,
and potentially carry out the work and recharge the owner.
17. For rental, we think that the consultation should propose that this be enforced
through the repairing standard, as third part reporting introduced in the last
Housing Act means that the onus will not always be on the tenant. REEPS may
also wish to make a recommendation to Ministers to consider looking at landlord
registration over the longer term (this can be picked up in Item 6 on today’s
18. Further development work:
 identify sanctions to propose in the consultation phase, including exact
nature of local authority enforcement in the sale situation;
 messaging around linking that with property condition;
 potential costs of local authority enforcement
Exemptions and abeyances
19. A property may not be required to meet the REEPS standard at the point of sale
or rental, either because it is permanently exempt, or because it is covered by a
temporary abeyance.
20. Following the discussion on scenarios at today’s meeting, the project team will
work with the subgroups to identify reasons for applying an exemption or an
abeyance, but the following provides an indication of current thinking/issues
about how these would be applied in reality. The assumption would be that a
permanent exemption would relate to the property only, whereas an abeyance
could be due to the property (eg current technical feasibility, agreement of other
owners) or the person (eg vulnerability, financial situation).
(4) – property is not required to meet the standard at the point of sale or rent
21. If the property is exempt, the process should be similar to situation 1 for both sale
and rental, though the conveyancing and letting processes may require an
additional check that the property is, in effect, covered by an exemption.
22. If the property is in abeyance at the point of sale or rental, the buyer/landlord
must be made aware of the reasons for that abeyance, and any resulting
obligations should that abeyance be removed.
Definitions and processes update – sale and rental
23. Further work:
 what would be the proof of exemptions and abeyances? How and where
should that be recorded?;
 where a property is covered by a (temporary) abeyance, consideration needs
to be given to whether an obligation would pass to the buyer/remain with the
landlord to improve the property if and when that abeyance was lifted (so
similar to situations 2 and 3); or whether that would only be reviewed at the
point at which the property was then affected by REEPS (eg next time it is
sold or rented, or at a backstop date, if applicable).
(5) – property is required to meet the standard at point of sale or rental and
obligation is passed to the buyer/landlord to comply; subsequently a reason for an
exemption/abeyance is identified
24. There may be situations where a buyer or landlord under situation (2)
subsequently identifies a reason for an abeyance or an exemption from meeting
the standard.
25. Further work/possible question for consultation:
 whether exemptions or abeyances should only be applied for before the
deadline for meeting the standard;
 what proof would be required, and how would this be recorded?