If all your properties have an energy rating of between A-C, you’re probably going to be fine, says Eco-energi managing director John Davidson. But even if your EPC is currently a D or E, where E is the minimum allowable under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES), you may not be in the clear. EPCs were introduced in England and Wales in August 2007 and are valid for ten years. Over the past decade these assessments have become far more accurate, so landlords and agents under the impression their EPC rating will ensure compliance, may not be safe. And Davidson should know. He was the Chief Executive of Gas-elec, the largest and most successful building services franchise in the UK, specialising in servicing and maintaining all the gas and electrical facilities in more than 80,000 landlord-owned properties. His business now is in energy efficiency and his experience in thermally upgrading rental properties to meet specific standards is second to none. He can advise on and provide both the finance and the assessors and installers to implement those upgrades.
“There are only five months to go before the law comes into force and landlords and their agents need to know the size of the problem,” says Davidson. “What they need right now is a precise understanding of whether they need to do anything at all; if they do, what’s it going to cost.”
Davidson has created the Compliance Advisory Report (CAR) to help. It provides all the information about a property vis à vis MEES compliance. CAR examines the current EPC, taking into account any remedial works that have been done since the EPC assessment was made and gives advice on what needs to be done to improve the rating to band E as a minimum. It’s a desk top service which means the cost is low. Starting at £30 for the CAR (the price is dependent on the number of properties in the portfolio), you’ll know within hours exactly where you stand. And knowledge is power; having a clear idea of what needs to be done is the first step in being proactive about MEES compliance. CAR is particularly useful for properties where the EPC is likely to be in bands F or G. If the cost of these upgrades need to be funded, then the newly-launched Green Deal can help.
Funding the Upgrades:
Through Green Deal landlords can have boilers, heating controls, insulation, ground and air-source heat pumps and central heating installed with little or no upfront costs. What might be of interest to landlords and tenants is the Green Deal’s Golden Rule, which states that loan repayments, which are made via the electricity bill, must be equal to, but cannot exceed, the savings achieved by the thermal improvements. Green Deal funding can only be accessed through Approved Green Deal Providers like Eco-energi.
Every article about MEES compliance places a big emphasis on time and the fact that it’s running out, but a lot can be achieved in a few months. For example, once a landlord has a completed CAR and decided that Green Deal Funding is the route to take, he or she can have an approved Green Deal Loan and Green Deal Approved Installers on-site and ready to start work within three weeks.
CAR represents a small outlay that could save landlords and agents time and money.