Solicitor urges Merseyside landlords to check EPC ratings or risk losing income
From April 2018, private rental landlords across England and Wales could find their properties classed as ‘unrentable’ unless they take action, due to new Energy Efficiency regulations.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, due to come into force on April 1, 2018, will make it unlawful for landlords to agree new lets or the renewal of tenancies for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E unless the property is registered as an exemption.
On the energy efficient rating scale of A to G, G is the least efficient.
The regulations will apply to all non-exempt domestic rental properties from April 1, 2020, including pre-existing tenancies.
With at least one in six private rental properties reportedly set to fall below the required standard, legal expert Danielle Hughes from Kirwans law firm is urging landlords to improve their EPC ratings now in order to avoid huge problems next year.
She explains: “Landlords have been hit with a raft of new regulations over the past 18 months, and many have found it extremely difficult to keep up with the increasing obligations and ever-changing legislation.
As a result, I have serious concerns that many landlords may be completely unaware that their properties could fall below the new minimum legal requirements for energy efficiency standards in England and Wales.
“This would mean that they could unknowingly be letting “sub-standard” property in direct breach of the new Regulations. Landlords would be at risk of prosecution, which must be enforced by local authorities with a civil penalty of up to £5,000 imposed for breaches. The local authority must also serve a compliance notice upon the landlord, asking them to bring the property up to the required standard”
Danielle has compiled five tips on improving a property’s energy rating:
Fit new loft insulation so that it measures at least 270mm in depth. Look into grants and funding opportunities to see if your property qualifies. Ensure that any cavity walls are also insulated.
If you’re able to invest a little more, then consider replacing an old boiler with a new condensing one. As well as hugely increasing your EPC score, this could reduce running costs by hundreds of pounds each year, making the property much more attractive for prospective tenants. If you want to boost your EPC score even further, then why not look at introducing updated heating controls too, such as boiler programmers, room thermostats and individual Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs).
There are plenty of ways to improve lighting efficiency, but switching from halogen to more energy efficient lighting will have a big impact for relatively little cost. Introducing Low Energy Lighting (LELs), Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) can make a real difference.
Replacing single-glazed windows with double-glazed units will have the dual effect of sprucing up your property and giving its energy efficiency rating a boost.
Draft-proof doors and windows
Look around windows, doors, loft hatches and floorboards in order to identify draughty areas, then address the best way to prevent the draught, be it excluders, fillers, curtains etc. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that the materials for draught-proofing an entire property could cost between £85.00 – £275.00 if you want to do it yourself, while hiring a professional could cost considerably more.