We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll probably mention it again, but changes that have a long lead time are easily ignored until the last minute – then, there’s a panic. Think about the system crashes at HMRC when everyone tries to file self-assessment tax returns on the last day. We’re putting this in big letters so you’re not in a panic at the eleventh hour:
From 1 APRIL 2018, all landlords will be required to meet new minimum energy efficiency standards.
Those in the residential sector will be required to bring their properties up to a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band E. The crucial thing to note is that you won’t be able to grant new tenancies or renew existing ones if the property falls below that level. And that applies even if your tenant is perfectly happy with things as they are.
The Government is determined to improve conditions for tenants, and landlords have to fall in line, even if it will take a long time for them to realise any financial benefit. If the tenant is paying the fuel bills, they’ll be happier, but with estimated bills to bring standards up to the required levels averaging £1,400, it’s your profits that will feel the pinch.
A few exceptions
You may not need to make the improvements:
- If your property is listed and the changes will affect its appearance
- If the improvement would reduce the market value of your property by more than 5 per cent
- If the anticipated savings over a period of seven years are less than the cost of the improvement measures.
That leaves most landlords with band F or G properties in the position of needing to consider changes to their property’s glazing, draught proofing and loft and/or cavity wall insulation.
What to do now
Firstly, review your position.
Work out which of your properties might need an upgrade. There are various arguments ongoing about solid wall properties and the amount of insulation they offer, so it might be worth having an EPC reassessed if you’re in this situation.
Make sure you know the work you need to do and whether you have access rights to carry it out. For example, if you own a flat in a block, there may be restrictions on the work you can undertake.
Check the dates that your tenancies expire. You may be able to schedule works accordingly and renegotiate rent to help recoup some of your outlay.
There’s a hefty fine
Most of all, don’t pretend the problem will go away. If you’re found in breach of the rules, fines are steep. The £5,000 you could be paying out would most likely have covered improvement costs several times over.
With everything else landlords are having to deal with, this extra responsibility and cost isn’t welcome, but in the longer term making properties more energy efficient should improve both their resale value and their rentability.
If you would like some assistance to find your perfect property/sell or let your property please contact Right Estate Agents on 0845 026 8527 or visit our website.