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Changes to EPC rules could be expensive for landlords

View profile for Kevin Duffy
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Energy Performance Certificates, or EPCs, give an energy performance rating for properties, with the most energy efficient properties being awarded an A rating while the least efficient are rated as a G. Current legislation requires landlords to achieve a minimum of an E rating in order to legally rent out a property. A new government energy performance bill proposes raising this to a C rating.

The new Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings Bill suggests that as from 2025, properties that will be used for new tenancies must be rated C or above. As from 2028 all rental properties will need to meet this standard. Tenants have a right to receive an EPC when moving into a property.

It is also proposed to increase the penalty for landlords who do not have a valid EPC from £5,000 to £30,000 from 2025. This is part of the government’s work to try and meet a target of net-zero for carbon emissions by the year 2050.

Improving energy performance

With substantial increases in energy prices and rising concern on the part of both buyers and tenants when it comes to energy efficiency, measures to improve energy performance will be welcome on several fronts.

Period homes can be harder to raise ratings, for example, if it is not possible to insulate walls or add double glazing. New properties may already have some energy efficient features and it is often easier to add more.

The following have the potential to improve an EPC rating:

  • Loft insulation
  • Wall insulation
  • Double or triple glazing
  • A new energy efficient boiler
  • Using a renewable energy source such as solar panels or a ground-source heat pump
  • Ensure all lighting is as efficient as possible, using LED light bulbs
  • Install a smart meter and smart thermostat
  • Insulate the hot water cylinder, if there is one
  • Seal or replace draughty doors

Exemption from EPC

Very few rental properties will be exempt from the need to obtain an EPC certificate. Exemptions include listed buildings where energy efficiency improvements would unacceptably alter the property and detached buildings where the total floor space is less than 50 square metres.

Obtaining an EPC

An EPC is available from an accredited domestic energy assessor. They will visit the property and report on the following:

  • Energy usage
  • Carbon dioxide emissions
  • The amount of energy the property uses and level of energy efficiency
  • Carbon emissions

The report will also make recommendations on improving energy efficiency and give an estimate of the potential costs and possible savings. You will also be advised whether you are likely to be eligible for any related benefits.

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