Posted on Monday, September 2, 2019
Did you know that all rented properties in England and Wales will need to achieve an energy efficiency rating of E by April 2020?
Climate change is rarely out of the news these days. The UK’s progress at cutting greenhouse gas emissions may not be as rapid as activists would wish. However, legislation is forcing improved energy efficiency in many areas of British life, in an effort to achieve a target of zero emissions by 2050.
Energy efficiency in the home is no exception; unsurprisingly, given that buildings produce an estimated half of the UK’s carbon emissions - double the amount caused by cars and planes.
So, in April 2018, new minimum standards for private rented property came into force. The changes meant that a landlord could no longer grant a new tenancy for a property whose Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating was less than a band E. (For domestic properties, the EPC ratings range from A to G, with A being the most efficient and G being the least efficient.)
By April 2020 the same rules will apply to all existing tenancies for domestic properties - and it’s worth noting that the government's aspiration is to make sure all privately rented properties reach an EPC rating of C by 2030.
If you’re a new landlord, you will need to make sure your property meets the standard before you begin the search for tenants.
Existing landlords, with properties rated as F or G, will also need to act fast to ensure they comply with the law in time for the April 2020 deadline. As a landlord it is your responsibility to take action and upgrade your property in time for the change.
The first step is to examine your existing EPC report. The recommendations page will list measures you can take to improve the energy performance of the property.
In general, landlords are free to make whatever changes they want to ensure their property meets the new minimum energy efficiency standards. Here are five things you really should consider:
A quarter of household heat is lost through the roof, but loft insulation is easy to install and relatively inexpensive. It’s also worth seeking professional advice about whether cavity wall insulation would work in your property.
Rickety old single glazed windows can be responsible for 40% of the heat loss in your house. Modern high-performance double glazing will make a significant difference to the energy efficiency of a home.
Replace your halogen spotlights with LED light bulbs - it's a cheap and easy way to nudge up your EPC rating.
The heating system accounts for a large chunk of a property's energy use. If you have an old, inefficient boiler, a new one could make a big impact on your EPC and cut heating bills substantially.
Consider new renewable energy sources. Installing solar panels, biomass boilers and ground-source heat pumps could dramatically increase an EPC rating and are essential if you’re aiming for the highest rating possible.
These changes will cost money and mean some disruption for you and your tenants. However, boosting the energy efficiency rating of the property may actually increase its value, should you wish to sell, and possibly make it more appealing if you need to find new tenants.
Your existing tenants may stay longer too, if the property is warm and cosy and has cheaper energy bills, meaning fewer void periods.
If you’re a landlord, with property to rent, contact us for help and advice about energy efficiency, and the many other regulations you need to keep on top of. We’d be happy to advise you further and help manage your rental home for you.