As of April 2018, landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property in England or Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of “E” before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.
These requirements will then apply to all private rented properties in England and Wales – even where there has been no change in tenancy arrangements – from 1 April 2020 for domestic properties, and from 1 April 2023 for non-domestic properties. At the moment listed buildings are exempt from this ruling.
Here are five tips to help you as a landlords improve your property’s EPC rating:
1. Think about where you could be losing heat: Draughty windows and inadequate insulation are common culprits for low EPC ratings. Double glazed windows help enormously, but as a second best, fitting a pane of plastic or glass inside the existing window recess, called secondary glazing, would work to save a significant amount of energy. With insulation, both cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation are good ways to make the property more energy efficient.
2. Look at your boiler: If you can, consider replacing your old boiler with a new condensing one, which will not only help increase your EPC score, but help save money. In addition, look at updated heating controls.
3. Consider updating your lighting: Swap existing lights like halogen bulbs for lights like Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), halogen incandescent lights or Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL).
4. Renewable energy technologies can help contribute to your EPC rating, once the right insulation is in place. For example, you could consider solar photovoltaic panels. They reduce your electricity bills while bringing in modest payments from the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme.
5. Make sure that the changes you make to your property are permanent improvements to the fabric of the building, otherwise they will not make any difference to the EPC ratings.
There are a few cases in which you can apply for an exemption from these new rules. Landlords who want to must ensure the case is registered on the PRS Exemptions Register.
These exemptions include:
– Where landlords have made all possible “relevant energy efficiency improvements” but the property remains below an “E” or no improvements can be made
– Where the landlord needs consent from a tenant and they withhold it. This must be documented.
For a full list, read the National Landlords Association website.
If you would like some more information about the new regulation, read the Government’s guidance to landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property on complying with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard (EPC band E).