The Energy Efficiency Regulations 2015 moved to set out minimum standards for the housing market in England and Wales.
These regulations make it illegal for landlords to give a new lease for a let on properties that have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E from April 1st 2018.
Energy Efficiency Rules
It is important for buy-to-let landlords and letting agents to start thinking now of the potential impact that the changes could have on their investment.
Any landlord found to be letting a property after the 1st April date that does not comply with standards will be at risk of prosecution from their local authority. Penalties could stretch to up to £5,000.
The local authority serving the penalty must serve a compliance notice upon the landlord, informing them to bring the property up to standard.
Certain properties could only require a couple of tweaks, while others could require some more substantial works
Danielle Hughes, of Kirwans law firm, noted: ‘Landlords have to balance this work against the risk of them being in breach of the legislation and facing a criminal conviction and penalty fine. As long as the rating is at a minimum of E, it is up to them which methods they chose to improve the property.’
‘Careful assessment of the options and setting an appropriate plan of action over the next 12 months is the best way to ensure that the properties are ready and fully compliant by April 2018. Planning now will also have the obvious benefits of spreading the cost and making sure that the relevant third party contractors are available to undertake any necessary work,’ she continued.
So as an investor, what measures can you take to improve the energy efficiency of your property?
Insulate your walls and loft-One simple way of saving on bills and to make your property more energy efficient is to get cavity wall and loft insulation. Make sure you look into grants for these works as there are many funding opportunities available.
Replace your boiler-If you are able to, consider replacing your boiler with one that is more energy efficient. While this may cost you in the short-term, the money you could save will more than cover these in the long-term. In addition, it will make your property more attractive for would-be tenants. Should you want to go further, look at updating heating controls, such as room thermostats and boiler programmers.
Let there be (efficient) light-There are a number of ways to improve the lighting efficiency of your property. Try using more energy efficient lightbulbs to save more cash than you would imagine. You could introduce Low Energy Lighting, Light Emitting Diodes or Compact Fluorescent Lights.
Double-glaze windows-Consider replacing all single-glazed windows with double-glazed ones. This will not only spruce up your property but will give the EPC rating a real improvement.
Deter the draft-Be sure to check all doors, windows, loft-hatches and floorboards to identify any particularly drafty locations. When you have sourced the problems, think about the best way to solve them. This could be through using excluders, curtains or fillers. Why not employ a professional to get the job done thoroughly?