Landlords in England and Wales have less than a month to make sure that their properties comply with the Government’s new minimum energy efficiency standards.
From 01 April all properties rented on new tenancies, including renewals, will need to have a certificate to show they have a minimum EPC rating of E.
Government figures show that average energy bills for a band G property are £2,860 a year, whereas for band E they are £1,710 a year, meaning tenants could save more than £1,000 on their annual fuel bills.
Where homes have to be brought up to a minimum EPC rating of E the Government has capped the amount it expects landlords to pay to £2,500 to get their property up to standard. But there is a consultation underway and that does not end until 13 March.
It is possible to improve energy efficiency for £2,500 or less, according to a report from Parity Projects for the UK Green Building Council. It puts the average cost of raising an F or G rating to an E at about £1,400, with many homes slipping into that band for less than £1,000. Getting into band D would cost another £1,300.
There are exemptions, including for some listed buildings and ‘hard to treat’ properties where, for example, solid or cavity wall insulation is not appropriate for structural reasons.
Landlords who obtain exemptions will, in most cases, be allowed to defer the improvements for up to five years.
According to David Cox, chief executive of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), many landlords have been getting their homes in order. The number of properties which are EPC rated F or G has fallen from around 700,000 in 2012, to 300,000 today. However, there are still a lot which don’t meet the standards.
‘After the deadline passes at the end of this month, landlords face fines of up to £4,000 for flouting the law, or losing money on empty properties which can’t be let until they meet the standards,’ he pointed out.
‘This will also have implications on the wider rental market, which is in the midst of a serious supply crisis. There are Green Deal finance plans available and you can contact companies such as Propertymark’s industry supplier ECO-Energi to find out how to upgrade your property for a low cost. For any landlords who haven’t yet started to upgrade their properties, now is the time to act, and quickly,’ he added.