Belvoir is urging landlords to budget and plan for mandatory changes to the energy efficiency of rental properties, due to come into effect next year.
“The Energy Act 2011 introduced several changes and the ones affecting the energy efficiency of a rental property and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are due to come into force from April 2016,” says Dorian Gonsalves, Belvoir’s Director of Commercial. “The second batch of changes will be enforceable from April 2018, but by taking action now, landlords will have time on their side to schedule the works and budget costs accordingly. They will also be able to spread the outlay over the next few years.
EPC ratings give an indication of how energy efficient a property is and vary from A for very efficient to G for inefficient. The ratings also demonstrate the environmental impact of a property in terms of carbon emissions and how costly the property will be to heat and light, both in monetary and CO2 terms.
“From April 2016 tenants who are living in F and G rated homes will be able to request that their landlord takes measures to improve the energy efficiency of a property,” says Dorian. “The landlord will then be duty bound to respond within a month with a view to bringing the property up to the minimum E rating.
“In addition, from April 2018 it will become unlawful to let a commercial or residential property on a new contract with an EPC rating of F or G – i.e. the lowest two energy efficiency categories. However, this ruling will not apply to existing lettings until 2023.
“If landlords wish to upgrade their properties, Belvoir advises them to instruct an approved EPC assessor to survey the property and establish the current rating. Should the rating be less than an E, the assessor can advise on how to improve it. Improvements could be as simple as installing energy saving light bulbs and draught proofing, but may also involve comprehensive improvements, such as replacing an ageing boiler, putting in secondary glazing or upgrading heating controls, and installing systems that are likely to have an impact on improving overall energy efficiency.
“A reputable letting agent such as Belvoir will be able to offer free expert advice to landlords on forthcoming changes to the law. If required, the agent can also act on behalf of the landlord and oversee any work that may need to be done. Landlords should act now to save money and schedule their energy efficiency improvements in order to remain legally compliant.”