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How Should Landlords Prepare for the New EPC Requirements in April 2020?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are a legal requirement throughout the UK. They provide the energy rating of a property, therefore indicating the typical energy costs for potential renters before they begin the rental application process.

As a private landlord, you’ll be responsible for ensuring that your property has an Energy Performance Certificate prior to the commencement of a tenancy; without these, a landlord cannot enact the Section 21 eviction notice. The Energy Performance Certificate must be shown to tenants at property viewings, otherwise, tenants should ask their letting agency or landlord to supply it.

An Energy Performance Certificate outlines the improvements that landlords could potentially make to the energy efficiency of their rental property. This can be useful if you’re a landlord looking to improve the home before letting it to potential tenants. This might include improving the loft or home insulation, which can boost your energy efficiency – therefore attracting more potential renters.

Landlords renting out a property without an EPC will be breaking the law, and on April 1st 2020, the regulations surrounding EPC are about to become stricter. In this article, we explain what to expect from the changes to the Energy Performance Certificates regulations.

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What will change on 1st April 2020?

Previously, properties were given an energy rating between “A” and “G”, with “A” rated properties being the most efficient. The better the rating, the more cost-effective the home will be to run.

From 1st April 2020, EPC requirements state that properties will be required to have a minimum “E” rating. This means that if a property is given an “F” or “G” band, the landlord will be legally required to invest in the property to improve the energy efficiency rating. If a landlord fails to comply with this legislation, they are at risk of receiving large fines of up to £5,000.

Not only does this new legislation apply to new rental properties, but it also applies to existing rental properties where tenants are already renting. To put this into perspective, all rented properties will need to have an EPC rating of “E”, even if the tenant has been renting in the property for some time before 1st April 2020.

A positive to the new legislation is that there is a cap to how much landlords should spend on energy efficiency improvements, which is currently at £3,500, including VAT. This means that landlords should never be required to pay more than £3,500 to improve the energy rating. If the energy efficiency rating of the rental property cannot be improved under £3,500, landlords can register an exemption.

Landlords should also consider future changes to energy efficiency legislation, with government talks of potentially raising the minimum energy rating to D in 2025, and to a C rating in 2030, in England and Wales.

What does this mean for tenants?

Landlords must provide the energy rating of the property when it is advertised. However, if the energy rating isn’t provided along with a full energy report, the tenant must request it from their landlord or lettings agency.

If you’re a tenant renting a property with an “F” or “G” efficiency rating, tenants should be cautious and should consult their landlord for clarification on what steps will be taken to ensure the energy efficiency is improved before the legislation comes into force in April.

You should consult your local council if the landlord hasn’t taken the appropriate steps to improve the energy rating by April 2020. The council can then order your landlord to make these necessary improvements.

Getting an Energy Performance Certificate

Realistically, you should have an energy report and EPC ready for when your property is initially placed on the rental market so that potential tenants are aware of the expected energy costs. As the certificate lasts for 10 years, once you have it finalised on your property, it won’t need to be repeated for a long time.

Energy reports and Energy Performance Certificates must be produced by an approved Domestic Energy Assessor. To find an approved assessor, you should contact the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, or alternatively, find a domestic energy assessor online.

To save you the trouble, we can also arrange an EPC for you, issuing them to a vendor prior to going on the market.

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Managing your rentals

If your knowledge isn’t up to scratch, or you are looking to expand your existing portfolio, we are here to support. With years of experience and in-depth local market knowledge, our lettings and sales team are experts in matching people with their perfect property. JOHNS&CO landlords and tenants are well looked after and receive an unprecedented level of service. Our dedicated, concierge-style approach to our service includes: an unrivalled pro-active service to our residents, clear understanding of the latest legislation changes and quarterly inspections to determine the condition and upkeep of your property.  To enable us to reach the high level of service we expect to provide, all of our property management team are members of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, a professional body which sets and regulates the high standards and levels of professionalism of its members.  

As a landlord with JOHNS&CO, you will receive a tailored range of services from our experienced lettings team, allowing you to benefit from a dedicated property manager on-site at each development we represent, a tailored marketing campaign to advertise your property to rent and our vast links with corporate companies. You can also be sure of efficient handovers, professional advice for rental legalities and even furniture installation too.

We know how important it is to keep void periods minimum, and we do everything we can to minimise them. This commitment has seen us let property in new build developments up to six months ahead of completion.

To discuss your requirements in more detail, please contact us.