As landlords prepare for the new minimum standards for EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) ratings on their properties, Jo Morgan, Partner in Coodes Solicitors’ Residential Property team, says that tenants are already taking an interest in the changing legislation.
“Those of us in the conveyancing business have been aware for some time that new energy efficiency rules will come into force in 2018, which will make it unlawful to rent out a building with an EPC rating lower than an ‘E’. An EPC rating gives an indication of a building’s environmental credentials, with ‘A’ being the highest rating and ‘G’ the lowest.
“At Coodes we have noticed that not only are landlords starting to prepare for the changes to the regulation, but tenants are also well informed. In fact, conversations with lettings agents suggest that some people are already refusing to consider properties that fall below an ‘E’ rating. As the deadline gets closer, it is likely that this will become more of an issue and could make it difficult for landlords to rent out houses that have a lower rating.
“Although it is more than 18 months until the new minimum standards take effect, from 1st April 2016 tenants have had the right to request consent from their landlords to make energy-saving improvements to the properties they rent. Unless they have good reason, such as proof that the works would lower the value of the property, landlords can’t refuse the consent. Tenants do, however, need to ensure they can fund the improvements at no cost to the landlord, unless otherwise agreed.
“The types of improvements covered by this are wide ranging – from installing air source heat pumps or cavity wall insulation to replacing glazing. Making these improvements could benefit the landlord as well as the tenant. A recent National Landlords Association survey showed that 25% of tenants consider the energy efficiency of a property to be an important factor when choosing a place to live. The closer we get to the introduction of the new minimum standards for EPC ratings, the more important this is likely to become.
“Although the need and demand for the installation of energy efficiency and renewable energy into properties extends beyond the original EU Directive for EPCs, as the legislation is a result of EU directives, it will be interesting to see if any changes occur to these proposals following Brexit.”
For further advice and assistance on buying or selling a property, contact Jo Morgan at Coodes by emailing Jo.Morgan@coodes.co.uk or calling 01726 874727.