Buy to let landlords located in Wales and England, who own period or particularly draughty or cold homes, are the target of the Government’s new rules and regulations on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). Since April 2018, landlords who own the coldest privately rented properties are now being forced into improving their homes with energy-efficient solutions, although support is available to pay for the costs of these measures. Nonetheless, the new regulations announced from the Government will go even further, and will require landlords to contribute some funds into the costs of the upgrade.
In 2019, rental properties which attained an Energy Performance Certificate rating of a G or F, which are the two lowest energy efficiency ratings possible, must have measures put in place by the landlord to improve the warmth of the home before the property can be put onto the rental market to find new tenants.
These new rules are expected to impact around 290,000 rental properties, which equates to approximately 6 per cent of the entire domestic rental market. However, these changes are estimated to save households, on average, £180 each year, while also reducing carbon emissions. Analysis has also shown that energy efficiency measures have the potential to increase property values, with the average cost to the landlord being offset by an increase in the property’s value.
Claire Perry, the Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, has emphasised that although most landlords across the country take a great deal of pride in the accommodation that they own, a small minority continue to rent out property which tenants find challenging to keep warm. It is crucial that these homes are upgraded to ensure that they are far more energy-efficient, which is one of the most effective ways to fight fuel poverty and reduce energy bills for tenants.
Heather Wheeler MP, the Housing Minister, added that she strongly welcomes the new measures, explaining that she believes the rules will help improve the country’s coldest homes, as well as protect tenants and save them money in energy bills. She claims that these regulations will build on the government’s continued work to clamp down on the small number of rogue landlords, in addition to increasing the standards of property in the Private Rented Sector, adding to the government’s reviews of health and safety standards and the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms within rented properties.
Most landlord businesses will remain unaffected by these changes, as the majority of rental properties are compliant with the rules already. In cases where upgrades are required, most landlords renting property which is currently a G or F rating in EPC, will see an average bill of £1,200 to bring the property up to an E band. An E rating would bring the property below the upper limit being introduced by the new regulations. Examples of the measures that will be implemented include increasing loft insulation, installing low energy light bulbs and more efficient floor insulation.
For upgrades which would cost landlords over £3,500, landlords can register for exemption. The new measures have not been given an exact date for commencement by the government, but they will be in place during 2019, and will impact approximately 200,000 landlords.
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