Did you know that from 2018, private landlords will not be able to rent their properties out if the energy rating (i.e. the EPC rating) of the property is less than E.
That means if an EPC is carried out on the property (which is a legal requirement on rental properties) and the rating on the EPC is either a F or a G then you will not legally be allowed to rent out the house or flat once the existing rental contract expires.
Over 400,000 properties will affected by this change!
It has been estimated that as many as 10% of the 4.2 million rental properties in the UK fall into this category. To help ensure there is a smooth transition before the 2018 deadline, from 2016, tenants can request consent from landlords to improve the efficiency of the property they are living in and the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent, however the responsibility to pay for the measures will fall on the shoulders of the tenants (unless the landlord is happy to contribute).
In terms of energy saving improvements, tenants can pick anything from the Green Deal list of improved products, but perhaps most interestingly is that tenants can also request installing a gas supply in an off gas property where the mains are within 23 metres of the property.
What should landlords be installing to improve efficiency?
The best place to start (and certainly the cheapest) is loft insulation – an uninsulated loft to a fully insulated loft (300mm of insulation) may add ten points to an EPC or more.
If you are close to hitting an E, a really simple change to get a few extra points is to replace all lighting in the home to energy saving lights. A £20 spend may allow you to still rent out your property, so certainly worth doing!
If you have a property built between 1940 – 1980, it will likely have cavity walls. If this is the case, there is still some companies that can offer free cavity wall insulation, which is a great way to improve the efficiency of your rental property without spending a penny.
If your flat suffers from damp problems, or it was built prior to 1930 then it might be better to opt for solid wall insulation, where the home is clad on the outside. This can bring a house up by as many as 20 points on an EPC and can make a cold home really nice and cosey inside. Not only does it keep the home warmer, it helps stop damp since water no longer condenses because the wall surfaces are warmer to touch. In addition, solid wall insulation also provides a protective barrier to the elements, so if your home suffers from penetrating damp then this is the ideal answer.
The final thing is the heating system – an antique boiler might still be as reliable as anything, but if it is only running at 50% efficiency, then replacing it with a new 90% + efficient condensing boiler will not only help your tenants out because the energy bills will be lower, but also you will see a marked improvement on your EPC rating.
If you are interested in getting an EPC carried out on your property, or you simply want some more specific advice on what to target in your home to help improve the rating give us a call on 0208 144 0897.