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Paul Bennett, Director

If you are a landlord with lets in progress, you need to be aware that, as of 1st April 2020, all properties in the private rental sector will need to meet new energy standards, as documented on an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate).

What is an EPC?

An EPC refers to the energy efficiency of a property. A home’s performance is independently assessed during a visit and is given a rating - A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). Each EPC is only valid for 10 years and a property with an expired certificate is illegal to let. An EPC explains how much a home will cost to heat and light, as well as what its carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be and a list of suggested energy improvements that can be made. 

What are the current EPC rules for let properties?

It became a lawful requirement on 1st April 2018 that all brand new and renewing tenancies must be offered with an EPC rating of at least an E – anything less is classed as an unlawful let and letting agents are bound to refuse to market these properties.

How are the EPC rules changing?

As of 1st April 2020, all tenancies must be accompanied by an EPC showing at least an E rating, whether they are in the middle of a tenancy, renewing or new to the lettings market. Any rental property with a rating of F or G will be classed as an illegal let. If the rule is breached, the landlord could face a civil penalty of up to £4,000.

How can I improve the rating of my buy-to-let?

If your let property has a rating of F or G, you must act now to make it more energy efficient. Take into account research into alternations, scheduling of works and the EPC assessment itself. Behr & Butchoff recommends the following improvements to help lift your EPC rating:

  • Improve loft/roof insulation – much of a building’s heat is lost if the roof space is not properly insulated to the recommended thickness of 270mm. 

  • Add wall insulation – likewise, heat can also escape through the walls, if not properly insulated. 

  • Eliminate draughts – this is a good way to stop your heat and money literally going out of the window.  Check under doors and around windows, as well as your letterbox, keyhole and any fireplaces.

  • Upgrade your boiler – speak with a Gas Safe registered engineer who is experienced in fitting boilers for improved efficiency and a product that comes with a warranty.

  • Install low-energy lighting – low energy LED or CFL lighting is a quick and easy way to add extra eco credentials.

Ask for expert advice

Behr & Butchoff has been advising landlords for many years on matters of compliance. If you’d like more information on the incoming EPC regulations, contact us today.