Landlords warned to improve energy efficiency or risk being banned
Unlawful to let properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of F or G – the two lowest ratings.
Landlords in England and Wales will be banned from letting out poorly-insulated homes which fail new minimum energy efficiency standards.
From April 2018, any properties rented out in the private sector must have a an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or above.
The new rules come into effect for new lets and renewals of tenancies from April 2018 and for all existing tenancies in April 2020.
Campaigners have welcomed the move as potentially the most significant piece of legislation to improve housing stock in a generation. It could help vulnerable tenants in sub-standard homes who are currently paying £1,000 more on average for their heating, according to government figures,
Problems of mould, condensation and damp are far more common in privately rented homes than in the general housing stock, the English Housing Survey shows.
Some landlords are still unaware of the new minimum standards that could see properties with an EPC rating of F and G banned from being let to tenants.
James Hill, lettings manager of Brook Independent near Southampton, warned landlords not to put off making improvements until the deadline. He said: “It is best to dig up your EPC and check it.
“It is always good to forward plan and see what improvements need to be made. At the end of the day, landlords don’t want to be left with property they can’t let.”
EPCs were first introduced by the government in April 2007 and are valid for 10 years. Energy assessors give marks for items such as energy-efficient boiler, insulation, radiators, windows and double-glazing.
Industry experts estimate some 700,000 rental properties or one in six rental properties, could fail the new government minimum standards.
Local authorities have powers to issue penalty notices ordering improvements and fines of up to £5,000 per property if landlords flout the new rules. Landlords who don’t have a valid EPC certificate also risk loss of income if their property is unlettable.
Under the regulations, tenants living in F and G-rated homes will be able to request improvements, such as more insulation. The landlord will then be legally bound to bring the home up to an E-standard.
Measures that might bring an F or G rated property up to an E rating include solid or cavity wall insulation, double-glazing and loft insulation.However, it is recommended to obtain professional advice to look at the whole house to ensure upgrades are as efficient as possible.
Energy assessor Colin McNicholas, of C&N Property Services in Leeds, would like the regulations beefed-up to a minimum D rating. He said: “E-rated homes can still be draughty and cold, it really depends on the property.
“Insulation is a big point scorer but if the property has a half-decent boiler it could get an E-rating, so landlords who don’t like to spend money, may not bother with insulation.” Mr McNicholas said he had not come across many F and G rated rental properties.
He said: “It is fairly rare because a lot of landlords are aware they can more easily rent out their property if it is in good shape and this legislation has been on the cards for a while.
“If tenants are on benefits, landlords have been able to get new boilers and insulation for their properties (under the Green Deal) and many have taken advantage of that.”
Flats and bedsits are included in the new minimum energy efficiency regulations. The legislation applies to England and Wales only and does not affect rental properties in Northern Ireland or Scotland.