New EPC Regulations set to hit Landlords
By Carl Agar
Landlords who haven't kept up to speed with the evolving EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) regulations affecting their properties are going to go on a steep learning curve - as of the 1st of April 2018 – unless of course they would rather pay the £4,000 penalty.
As discussed in previous blogs, a consultation was concluded and legislation passed that will see the new government guidelines on minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector come into effect on the 1st of April.
From that date, landlords will no longer be able to actively let a property that has an energy efficiency rating of F or G.
At this stage it will be illegal to enter into a brand new let for such properties, or renew a tenancy agreement of any existing tenants (although the tenant can still continue to reside at the property on a periodic tenancy until April 2020).
In addition, landlords should be aware that failure to provide evidence of a valid EPC will invalidate the execution of any section 21 notice, and landlords must be able to prove that the tenant has been provided with a valid copy.
This is especially important for landlords operating HMOs using ASTs - as typically the EPC regulation would not apply to such lets. Now though, the EPC becomes essential should an HMO Landlord need to serve a section 21 notice.
Guidelines on the new legislation are now available.
When the government gave notice of their intention to bring in the bill, back in 2015, it was estimated that there were around 400,000 rented properties – or one in ten - in the private sector in England and Wales which would fail to meet the guidelines for the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.
Landlords who are unsure of if they have an EPC for their properties can check the EPC Register on the Government’s website and download a pdf of the certificate. You can rest assured if it isn’t on here then you don’t have one!
The private rented sector is by far the worst offender when it comes to poor energy efficiency within homes, which is why the Bill is aimed at the sector in particular (it doesn’t apply to social housing or holiday homes).
Here are a few ideas on how to improve the energy efficiency rating of your property:
- Upgrade your lighting to LED
- Ensure appliances such as washing machines or other major appliances in the property have an ‘A’ rating (most new machines are ‘A’ and ‘B’ rated these days)
- Update old system gas boilers or solid fuel to a combi boiler
- If using electric heating change any convector panels to oil filled energy efficient ones
- Change single glazed windows and doors to double glazed
- Insulate the attic and or the walls.
There are a number of schemes around which will help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their homes. For assistance you can contact your local authority, who should point you in the right direction.
Final thought, another thing for landlords to be aware of is that it will be considered an offence to withhold consent for any reasonable request from a tenant to improve the energy efficiency of their home
There is further guidance on the gov.uk website as to what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ request and on what grounds landlords can refuse such requests.