The new legislation which comes into force on 1st April 2018 states that to let or renew the tenancy of a property in the Private Rental Sector it must have an EPC rating of E or above.
With this in mind, any landlord should look at his property portfolio and check the ratings, are any of them rated F or G?
Why is this legislation being brought in? Basically it is to try improve the standard of the housing stock within the Private Rental Sector.
So what should you do if you own a property that falls into this banding. The likelihood is that you can make some relatively inexpensive changes and they can have a big impact. We are always happy to discuss an individual property to help you maximise the potential.
Normally the lower banded properties are the older buildings – either solid stone or solid brick construction. This will generally produce a recommendation on the EPC for internal or external wall insulation. In general this can be either prohibitively expensive or really inconvenient – internal insulation reduces room sizes! If this is a route you want to take please ensure you have documentary evidence and photographs of the work being done – as assessors we can only record what we see so once the work is completed we need proof of any insulation – not just a newly plastered wall.
Being really honest the best way to improve ratings is to look at the heating. Many rental properties are on electric only heating and there is a trend for pulling out the old night storage heaters and putting in trendy electric panel heaters – but they are just that – a panel heater!
Also consider that unheated rooms adversely effect the EPC rating – all habitable rooms (living rooms, bedrooms, kitchen diners) should be heated in some way.
One of the biggest energy costs can be the hot water. In electric only properties the most common option is immersion heater but a single immersion can be costly. Consider making the immersion dual or in the case of flats if there is already and only an electric shower, that an instantaneous water heater maybe more suitable and efficient – it will certainly show on the EPC rating.
There are still a few situations where you maybe able to get funding towards cavity or loft insulation, and even replacement boilers but there are a lot of caveats attached to this (boiler type, property location and age, benefits received) but again we are happy to discuss any property to see where improvements can be made cost effectively.
Further information on the new EPC legislation affecting all landlords, see this post.