Landlords With Low EPC Rating to Be Banned

Since 2008, Landlords have faced the legal requirement of obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate, EPC prior to letting their property. The EPC provides a rating on a scale of A-G showing the Energy Efficiency and the Environmental Impact. The EPC also contains recommendations as to how the Landlord can improve the energy efficiency of their property, although undertaking these works is not compulsory.

However all this is about to change – The UK Government has stated that properties with an F or G rating will no longer be allowed to be rented from 2018. There is speculation that these measures will be phased in from as early as 2016 if Government rumours are to be believed.

So what will this mean for Landlords? The average Energy Efficiency rating for properties in the UK is “D” but ratings below this are not uncommon with housing stock is still dominated by solid brick construction houses. An EPC survey undertaken on such a house could quite possibly have a rating of F or G if there was inadequate heating, or no double glazing. Large houses tend to have low Energy Ratings as they lose heat via their greater surface areas.

From 2018 Landlords will be faced with the choice of either upgrading their property or removing it from the rental market.

Landlords who have invested in flats as opposed to housed are less likely to suffer under the proposed legislation as flats tend to have higher Energy Ratings. This will usually be because they were constructed more recently or are “sandwiched” between other flats. However the only foolproof way to assess your Energy Rating is to commission an Energy Performance Certificate.

How can I improve the Energy Rating of my rental property? will be the question Landlords will be asking. The EPC contains recommendations of the works required and also shows a “Before and After” rating. One of the most common recommendations is to install Low Energy light bulbs; these are now cheap to purchase and the quality of the light provided is almost equivalent to standard incandescent bulbs. Landlords with low voltage Halogen downlighters should consider using LED replacement bulbs. Loft Insulation is another common recommendation and where possible this should be increased to the minimum 270mm thickness required under current Building Regulations. Subsidised Loft Insulation is available from your Energy Supplier under the Governments CERT legislation and this may cost less than £100 for a typical house. Additional recommendations include Cavity and Solid Wall Insulation along with improvements to Heating Controls. Once a Landlord has commissioned an EPC they will have a report that is specific to their property.

Landlords who may be concerned over their ability to fund these Energy upgrades should seek comfort in the Governments Green Deal which is due to be introduced early in 2012. This will allows Landlords to fund Energy Saving improvements via their Energy Supplier and household names such as B&Q, with the repayments made from savings on the properties energy bills. Now as the bills for the property are paid by the tenant, this effectively means that the Landlord will obtain these improvements with little or no cost to themselves.

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