The EPC rating as we know, was introduced in 2011 as part of the Energy Act and gives a property a rating based on their energy efficiency from A (the most efficient) to G (the least efficient). This grade is valid for 10 years. Previously, the EPC rating acted as a warning – an official grading that demonstrated if your property was underperforming on efficiency. However, the government is now taking serious action, and The Energy Act should perhaps have been a warning to all landlords that were coasting along ignoring eco-friendly alternatives. Looming on the horizon now, as of 1st April 2018 landlords will not be allowed to let out properties which fall into an F or G category, with very few allowable exceptions or excuses. It is estimated that approximately 20% of all properties are in the F and G ratings, which means you not only need to make sure that you know in which bracket your property lies, but also plan on how to bring your property up to muster and create an “Energy Efficiency Plan.” You may well need to invest considerably in the refurbishment or remodelling of your home to enable you to actually rent it out legally.
The EPC inspection will look at details including your property’s age, insulation of the walls, floors and lofts, water heating as well as your glazing type. Some simple methods of making sure your property is up to scratch include:
– Replacing old, inefficient halogen bulbs with compact fluorescent lights or LEDs
– Ensuring your roofing insulation is 270 mm in depth. This change should prove relatively inexpensive and if your current insulation is less than 90mm you can apply for government funding to get your loft filled
– Replacing old boilers with a more modern brand
– Or for a slightly more affordable option, using modern controls such as adjustable thermostats to make sure you’re not unnecessarily heating empty rooms, which may help upgrade old bowers without the added expense
For those who are concerned over the price of these works, there may be some leeway for those who have implemented the maximum package of works allowable under the Green Deal. The “Green Deal” is actually a pretty reasonable measure which limits borrowing to the amount that would be covered by money saved on fuel bills, or over a seven-year payback period where Green Deal funding is not available. Landlords will also be exempt where a tenant has refused consent to improvement works or Green Deal funding in the past five years, or if the works would decrease the value of the property by more than 5%.
That being said there is still a fair amount we don’t know. There may well be exemptions to certain types of properties via secondary legislation, but we don’t yet know how large these proposed fines will be. Although the rumours suggest they could be pretty hefty, with the largest figures reaching up to £150,000.
If you are a concerned landlord, feel free to give me a call on 07969 927 422 or drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if it’s just for some friendly advice, I am only too happy to help. I can help carry out a full review of your property portfolio and review which properties don’t meet the new EPC rating, establish the cause of the poor rating, manage all necessary improvements, as well as providing energy performance reports and rating for statutory compliance. Let’s discuss how you should move forward and prepare for 2018.