Thousands of landlords may be affected by new rules concerning minimum energy performance ratings.
From April 1st 2018, privately rented properties are required to meet new energy efficiency standards. If the properties do not meet the standard, landlords cannot rent them out to new tenants or relet to existing ones.
What are the new rules?
The new rules surround ensuring your property has a satisfactory Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Any properties rented out in the private sector now require a minimum energy performance rating of E on an EPC.
This means that landlords who rent out properties with a rating of F or G will now be breaking the law.
Initially, the new rule will only apply to new tenancies and renewals. It will apply to all existing tenancies by 2020.
What is an EPC?
Every domestic and commercial building in the UK that is available to buy or rent must have an EPC. The ratings range from Grade A (most efficient) to Grade G (least efficient).
The EPC will provide the home-owner cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating, highlighting what the rating could be if improvements are made.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the only way to obtain a valid EPC is through an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor. EPCs need to be renewed every ten years.
Who is affected?
The Association of Residential Letting Agents claims that around 300,000 homes with F or G ratings could be affected. In addition to this, the industry body claim that many landlords are still unaware of the new rules.
A recent survey found that only 4% of landlords knew of the new regulations. Another survey conducted by energy company E.ON found that one in four landlords do not actually know their property’s energy rating.
What will happen if I don’t meet the new standard?
Any property in the scope of the new regulations which does not meet the minimum EPC grade of E will be deemed a “sub-standard” property. After a property is declared sub-standard it must not be let, otherwise the landlord will be liable to penalties.
Local authorities may be able to impose civil penalties of up to £4,000 for non-compliance. In addition to this, landlords who do not have a valid EPC could face a fine of £200.
There is also the potentially devastating loss of income to take into account, which will impact the landlord while the property is legally unlettable.
What can I do next?
First, landlords need to make sure they have a valid EPC in place. You can check whether your property already has a valid EPC on the government’s EPC retrieval site below.
If you do not have an EPC, you will need an accredited assessor to carry out the check. You can find an accredited EPC assessor here:
- Accredited EPC assessors - https://www.epcregister.com/
In addition to this, landlords can start putting in place some simple quick-fixes to ensure their energy efficiency is up to scratch. These can as simple as:
- Installing energy-saving light bulbs
- Installing an energy-efficient boiler
- Cutting draughts, around windows and doors
- Installing home insulation
These changes to your property can make a significant difference to the EPC rating and could be crucial in having a property that is legally lettable.
How can Percy Hughes and Roberts help?
Our property specialists at Percy Hughes & Roberts Solicitors have years of experience in providing legal services for landlords. Our knowledgeable solicitors can assist landlords with any legal concern in this often complicated area of law.
Many landlords can become unstuck over the technicalities of renting properties, such as EPC ratings, and other complex areas. Our expert team can guide you through any issue, step by step.