Mon 27 Jan 2020
Paul Bennett, Director
Time is running out to ensure that all rental properties have an EPC rating of at least an E. Landlords of new-to-market lets and those whose tenancies have recently renewed will have already had to meet MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards).
As of 1st April 2020, however, even properties partway through a tenancy need to meet the new standard. After this date, properties with a rating of F or G will be unlawful to let and letting agents can refuse to promote, let and manage these rentals.
Any EPC attached to a rental property will need to be valid (they expire after 10 years and have to be renewed) and show an E rating or above as of the deadline. Landlords with properties that breach the new MEES requirement, unless there is a specific exemption, may receive a financial penalty.
What is an EPC?
An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is an assessment of the energy efficiency of a property, and the rating can range from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). It informs perspective tenants how much a given property will cost to heat and light, as well as its carbon emissions, and will detail suggested eco-friendly improvements.
It’s worth noting that since 1st April 2016, tenants have had the right to request consent from their landlord to make their own energy efficient improvements to a property (at the tenant’s own expense), and the landlord is not be able to unreasonably refuse consent.
How can I improve an EPC rating?
If your current buy-to-let has an energy rating lower than E, there is still time to make changes before the April 1st 2020 deadline – especially as some of the improvements can be made relatively quickly.
Some energy saving swaps that can improve an EPC rating include:
Changing all light bulbs to energy efficient LED versions
Installing smart heating controls and radiators thermostats
Considering changing the boiler to a new energy efficient model
Ensuring all windows are double glazed
Improving wall and loft insulation
Insulating the hot water cylinder
Block any draughts
Don’t forget, if you need to gain access to your buy-to-let property to carry an inspection or make any energy improvements, you need to give your tenants 24 hours’ notice before you visit – ideally in writing. If you don’t, they are within their legal rights to refuse you entry.
EPCs – the future
The Government intends to make properties in the private rental sector even more energy efficient. It has muted intentions for all let properties to have a minimum EPC rating of D by 2025 and C by 2030, although this is not confirmed.
Behr & Butchoff is familiar with all aspects of MEES and EPC legislation, and is more than happy to advise on this matter, including the possibility of works funding and subsidies. Please contact us today for lettings advice.