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10% of privately rented homes to be hit by new EPC rules

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In a bid to improve EU energy efficiency and reduce emissions across the UK, new laws have been introduced that require all rented properties meet a minimum energy performance standard by April 2018.  Sarah Brooks, Residential Conveyancing Partner, advises landlords to start planning for any adjustments that will need to be made, otherwise risk facing a penalty fee or a restriction on renewing contracts.

From 2008, all property owners are required to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) completed, which shows in a ranking scale from A to G how energy efficient the property is and consequently the level of environmental impact.

“The new laws mean that if a property is currently rated either F or G, which is the inefficient end of the scale, they must be brought up to at least E level by 1st April 2018,” explains Sarah.  “If they don’t meet this, then landlords will not be able to renew the contract or let the property to anyone else until the energy performance levels are rectified.

“Those in the market for buy-to-let properties need to be aware of these new rules, and place a priority on bringing the property up to the minimum standard as quickly as possible,” advises Sarah.  “It could take a substantial amount of time to review steps that should be taken to improve the home energy efficiency, as well as forecasting the cost and viability of any plans.  These steps cannot be rushed or considered lightly, especially if there are tenants in the property.

“Even though the rules aren’t enforceable until 2018, from April 2016 tenants living in F and G rated properties will have the right to request improvements that would move the property to an E rating, such as more or better insulation.  If a landlord fails to meet such a request, they could face a penalty notice, as well as any reputational damage as the government plans to announce any persons who are non-compliant.

“There are currently 4.2 million privately rented homes currently across the UK, and at least 10% of these are either F or G rated homes,” concludes Sarah.  “Landlords are advised to review the terms of any existing leases and consider the implications these rules could have, and tenants should also be aware of any improvements their landlords are planning.  Not only would their lives be disrupted by any changes, but they could also be liable for payments under the repair terms of their lease.”

If you’re looking for a buy-to-let property and would like some advice on the new regulations, you can contact Sarah or the Conveyancing team on 01329 222097 or visit their section of the website here.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.