Landlords need to prepare for new EPC rules from April 2018

All privately rented properties in the UK will need to have an EPC rating of E or higher from this April – and this could be raised to a minimum of band C by 2035.

Landlords will need to ensure their buy-to-let properties have minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings of E on any new tenancy on a privately let property from April 2018. Where there is no change of tenancy, landlords will have until 1 April 2020 on domestic properties before the minimum rating rules apply to all existing tenancy arrangements.

EPC ratings currently range from A (most efficient) down to G (least efficient), and one must be obtained for every property in England and Wales that is either newly built, sold or rented. The certificates are valid for 10 years, and provide information about the property’s energy usage and running costs, as well as advice on minimising energy output.

If a local authority finds a landlord in breach of the new regulations after the April start date, they will be able to impose a fine of up to £5,000 per property, so it is vital that landlords are aware of the new rules – and take action to improve their property’s energy ratings if they fall below the required standard.

Cutting the bill

Installing double glazing, low-energy lightbulbs, room thermostats and extra insulation are all ways of improving a building’s energy performance. Although the measures can sometimes be costly for the homeowner, overall they will make the property more desirable for tenants as they will cut energy bills as well as make homes more comfortable to live in.

This week also saw MPs back a Bill that could mean that all domestic properties in England and Wales will need to achieve an EPC rating of C or higher by 2035. The proposal was put forward by Sir David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, who said that people living in “fuel poverty” should be helped to raise their EPC ratings.

The proposed Bill was unanimously supported in the Ten Minute Rule Motion, and will receive a second reading on 16 March which could see it progress further towards becoming legislation.

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