Attention landlords! From the 1st April 2018, there will be a change in the regulations set out by the government’s Minimum Energy-Efficiency Standards (MEES). From this date, most landlords will be legally obligated to ensure that their privately rented properties have a minimum E rating for energy performance*. Any properties that are found to have a rating that is lower than the minimum requirement could cause the landlord to receive a fixed penalty fine of up to £4000.
What is the change in regulation?
The 1st April 2018 will see a change in the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations for most new lets and renewals of tenancies within the private rented sector. The change will then be extended to existing properties on the 1st April 2020. The new regulation set out by MEES will make it unlawful for most property to breach the minimum requirement of an E-rated EPC rating, unless legally exempt.
The government created the new regulation to tackle “fuel poverty” i.e. the state of being unable to adequately heat one’s home, and also serves the purpose of reducing our carbon footprint and promoting a more energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly way of life.
What does that mean for landlords?
The EPC requirements are likely to significantly affect landlords within the private rented sector, especially those who haven’t prioritised the energy efficiency of their properties or those with older, less efficient properties. Landlords will now be legally prompted to retrofit their properties, undertaking measures such as installing new energy-efficient boilers and room thermostats in order to help increase their EPC rating.
It has always been a legal requirement for landlords to retrieve and provide an EPC as soon as they place their property on the market; these certificates last for a total of 10 years. With the new legislation, further emphasis is likely to be placed on the need for this as tenants are now more likely to be aware of the importance of the regulations set out by MEES. All tenants are legally privy to the EPC of their homes as well as that of others, with the data being accessible on the online EPC register. Landlords could face an approximate £200 fine if they fail to provide a valid EPC. EPCs can be provided by domestic energy assessors, with prices beginning at approximately £35; assessors can be found on the EPC website.
In addition to facing fines, landlords can be penalised in a number ways if they fail to comply with the new EPC regulations. For example, their property could be taken off of the market if it is deemed as substandard, whilst properties within the threshold that are on the lower end of the standards (such as D rated properties) could run the risk of being shunned by potential tenants. Landlords could also find themselves being challenged to lower their rent prices due to the home’s inefficiency. Contrastingly, landlords who invest in measures to retrofit their properties could potentially raise their rental value.
What properties does it apply to?
The new regulation is applicable to all properties within the private rented sector unless they are legally exempt. This includes assured tenancies, shortholds, statutory periodic tenancies and agricultural occupancies.
The following properties are classed as valid exemptions, if you have a property that falls under one of these classifications, you must ensure that you register the exemption with the PRS Exemption Register in order for its exempt status to be validated.
Buildings that do not need an EPC***:
- Places of worship (churches, synagogues, mosques etc.)
- Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
- Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres
- Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that don’t use a lot of energy
- Certain buildings that are due to be demolished
- Holiday accommodation that is rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a licence to occupy
- Listed buildings (get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character)
- Residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year
Be sure to bear in mind that exemptions only last for a period of 5 years, following this, they must be renewed.
Best ways to improve your EPC rating
If you want to improve your property’s EPC rating in light of the new regulations, there are a number of measures that you can take in order to retrofit your property and make it more energy-efficient for your tenants. For example, you could:
- Install a new boiler system – A new energy efficient boiler could be a great way of enhancing the energy-efficiency within your property. An A-rated boiler system will provide effective heat and hot water without wasting excessive energy in the process. Modern energy-efficient boilers are condensing which means that they produce water vapour condensate in order to increase the heat generated from the fuel and reduce the energy wasted. This could also reduce annual energy bills**.
- Extra home insulation – Ensuring that your home is insulated could lessen the heat loss within your property, making it easier to heat and more energy-efficient. Frequently found in walls and ceilings, insulation involves creating a barrier between areas that differ in temperature (in this case warm inside temperatures and cold outside temperatures) in order to prevent heat from being lost.
- Install double glazing – By doing this you could increase your property’s EPC rating as double glazing provides a layer of trapped air between two panes of glass, which tends to reduce heat loss as air is generally a poor conductor of heat.
- Room thermostats – By installing room thermostats into your property you could provide your tenants with more control over their heating and allow them to create personalised heating schedules. Modern technology has led to the creation of smart thermostatic controls which feature innovative functions such as motion detectors and thus reduce energy wastage by only generating heat when needed.
- Low-energy lightbulbs – The clue is in the name with these appliances. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) could enhance your EPC rating by providing light without using or wasting excessive energy. This is especially in comparison to traditional incandescent light bulbs which are slowly being taken off of the market in favour of energy-efficient, alternative sources of light such as CFL’s and LED’s.
All in all, there are a number of measures that you can take in order to make your home more energy-efficient and potentially enhance its EPC rating. If you’re looking for a new, energy-efficient boiler for your property, look no further than HomeServe. We provide A-rated boilers from the leading brands within the industry (such as Worcester Bosch and Ideal) as well as first-class installations by Gas Safe registered engineers. Whether you’re interested in a combi, regular or system boiler, we will aim to provide you with exactly what you need.
We also stock a range of smart thermostats, including Nest, Netatmo and Tado controls which possess features that will enable your tenants to heat their homes both comfortably and efficiently. If you have any questions about a new boiler installation or regarding getting a new smart thermostat installed, don’t hesitate to contact us as we possess the knowledge and expertise to help you make the right choices for your property. Call us to speak to one of our expert advisors or alternatively use or online quote tool to receive a personalised quote for a new boiler installation; it could take just 30 seconds!