From 2018, every rental property will have to have at least an "E” or above rating. Homes that fall into the F and G categories in the government’s Energy Performance Certificate efficiency scale will have to be upgraded.
Whilst there is still some time to prepare for the 2018 deadline – either by making the changes or selling properties that will bring high renovation costs – another deadline is looming. From April 2016, tenants will have the right to request that landlords carry out renovations to improve energy efficiency. Landlords will only be able to refuse these requests if they are deemed "unreasonable”. Tenants in less energy efficient properties can end up paying hundreds of pounds more in bills per year.
At the moment, around one in ten properties do not meet the required standards. Most of these are older houses built in the Victorian era or the early part of the twentieth century. The costs of adding double glazing and insulation to these could be considerable, although there are grants available. In certain cases landlords will be exempted from making the upgrades, but only if they are truly impractical.
Fortunately, in many cases upgrades are straightforward and comparatively low-cost. For example, some 40 per cent of F and G category properties could be lifted into an acceptable bracket simply by installing loft insulation. Since it costs an average of £100 per month more to heat a category G property, this is something that will be of great interest to a prospective tenant.
When buying properties for rental, landlords, particularly those entering the property market for the first time, are advised to pay close attention to the EPC rating of the property and to factor in the potential costs of upgrades when negotiating the purchase price.
Do you have a legal issue arising from a rental property that you own? Talk to us. We are experienced rental property specialists and can give landlords all the expert guidance they need. Call 01302 320621 or email email@example.com