EPC’s were introduced in 2008 as a guide for tenants and purchasers to gain some insight into the energy efficiency performance of the property they were entering into, and at that stage it was a “must have” report but as long as it existed, the rating didn’t actually have any bearing on the status of your property. These EPC’s also lasted for 10 years. Over the last 10 years, the government have been to-ing and fro-ing and chucking white papers around everywhere, and now they have settled on changing the legislation once again in 2018 and then AGAIN in 2020.
So, from April 2018 the new legislation will come into effect regarding Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and even though the final guidelines have not been published, we feel it prudent to act now as in some circumstances immediate action is required.
From 1st April 2018 new tenancies can only be issued where rental properties have an EPC rating of E or better. This applies to any form of new tenancy, whether that is a completely new tenancy with new tenants etc, or a renewal of an existing tenancy, or a contract change etc from fixed term to statutory periodic. From 2020 the EPC rating will need to be an E or better all the time, not just at a new tenancy, renewal or change of tenancy type. These are known as “trigger points”.
If your current EPC does not meet the new legislation, should you wish to continue the current tenancy to the tenants, or if the tenants decided to vacate and we look for new tenants, unless we improve the EPC rating to an E or above (or an exemption is granted) unfortunately legally we will not be able to rent the property out. Unfortunately failure to comply with this legislation will result in very hefty fines being calculated on a daily basis.
With this in mind, therefore, we have been in contact with our EPC Inspector who has recommended where a property has an EPC rating below an E, in the first instance they attend the property to provide a new EPC which will provide clear guidelines on what action is required to improve the EPC rating.
This will be charged at the following rate:-
£95 plus VAT for studios - 2 bedroom properties
£125 plus VAT for 3 bedroom properties and above
Once we have the new EPC and with the help of our EPC Inspector we will be able to glean from the recommendations the most cost effective way to improve your EPC rating. At this stage we would of course provide you with this information and where applicable costings for such work. Once the necessary recommendations have been carried out we will then be able to arrange for the EPC inspector to revisit at a cost of £40 plus VAT to issue the updated EPC certification which will be valid for 10 years.
Unfortunately it is not recommended to work with the old EPC recommendations as I am sure you will appreciate that various regulations have since changed and therefore the recommendations suggested previously are no longer up to date. It may also mean however that if you have carried out improvements since the last EPC was carried out, the new EPC rating is higher and therefore you will meet the new legislation guidelines.
Now, in the circumstance where your property has a rating below E, and it doesn’t encounter one of these “trigger points”, this is when the legislation for 2020 will come into effect.
From the year 2020 ANY property with a rating of below E will NOT LAWFULLY be able to be rented out or issue a tenancy for that property (unless an exemption is granted). So we need to act now and work through the recommendations over the next coming months to ensure that if your property falls under this bracket, it is brought in line with government rulings. If we start the process in the coming months, we can get any works carried out gradually, therefore reducing any large outgoings in one hit.
It is accepted that for some properties the E rating target is not possible at all. The EPC for these properties will state the best possible rating, and landlords will be required to attain the ‘best possible’ rating, rather than an E Rating. So in effect the landlord will have had to have all suggested works carried out, and if then the EPC rating is still below and E, an exemption will need to be applied for. There are a few other instances where Exemption from individual recommendations can be sought but application needs to be made IN ADVANCE of marketing or renewing/changing tenancy. Unfortunately failure to comply with this legislation will result in very hefty fines being calculated on a daily basis.
Listed buildings are not exempt from requiring an EPC. They must have one
Some of the recommended improvements may conflict with their Listing, therefore owners would be able to claim Exemption from those particular recommendations (they would still need to do non-conflicting recommendations)
If you believe your property may be exempt and wish to apply for an exemption, as the Landlord it will be your responsibility to apply for the exemption. You will be required to provide full evidence (which we have not been given details of which will be required) in order to apply for this and exemptions are not guaranteed.
Also, as a lot of EPC’s were originally carried out in 2008, there will also be a necessity for that to be renewed, even if it is a rating of E or above, when it expires.
We will be contacting all of our landlords on an individual basis to let them know if their property is affected and what the next steps will be as every property and tenancy is different.
Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us