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Changes to Energy Performance Certificates

Changes to Energy Performance Certificates are coming – and both landlords and tenants alike need to know now that energy inefficient homes could be subject to fines from April 2018.

The new laws will make it illegal for properties currently in the lowest energy efficiency categories of F and G to be rented out to tenants. The penalty for non-compliance will be a fine of up to £4000, so landlords need to take steps now to avoid charges.

This is all part of a set of new regulations that the Government began to roll out last year. Since 1st April 2016, tenants have had the legal right to ask for permission to make energy-related improvements to properties. As part of the law, landlords are obliged to agree, if the tenant agrees to fund the work – even if this means making changes to the fabric of the property.

The more significant changes come into force in 2018 – as of 1st April next year, rental properties will be required to carry a minimum ‘E’ rating for energy efficiency in order for tenancies to commence or be renewed.

The changes do not stop there, either – from April 2020, all rental properties will have to comply with the new law, regardless of whether or not the tenancy began before the rules were changed.

Landlords shouldn’t panic, however, because even if their properties perform poorly on an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) test, there are some easy and fairly cheap ways to improve energy efficiency in the home:

  • Check window and door seals: one of the most common (and easiest to fix) problems involves energy escaping through small gaps. Changing these seals is budget friendly and can be done yourself.
  • Make some changes to the lighting. Again, this is another easy one to address yourself. Replace high-energy bulbs with LED lights or fluorescent lighting. These bulbs will last for years and cost a fraction of the price of traditional lighting, in terms of running costs.
  • Add insulation. If your roof is not insulated or the insulation is too thin, have a new layer installed to improve the warmth of the building. You could also consider cavity wall insulation if it’s possible at your property.
  • Replace the boiler. This one can be a more costly affair, but it really will make a difference to your energy levels. A modern boiler will not only save money on bills; it will also take up less room than an old-fashioned one, so it’s a win-win. Some energy companies even offer boiler scrappage money to encourage customers to replace their aging systems, so shop around for the best deal.
  • While you’re at it, have a thermostat and/or a control system installed. If you don’t have a thermostat in your property, then chances are that your system is pumping out wasted energy at times when your home is already sufficiently heated. Having one installed will prevent this waste and, better still, you can have a remote control system fitted at a relatively low cost nowadays so you can even operate your heating from your phone – perfect if out and forget to switch it off!

Not only will these changes benefit tenants, who can enjoy warmer, more environmentally friendly homes; they will also be a long-term plus for landlords because energy bills will be reduced (this is a positive for tenants who pay their own utility bills and for landlords who pay for energy through building management fees/during void periods).

So, don’t delay – check your property’s EPC rating today and take steps  now to avoid unnecessary fines in future.

Are you looking for someone to run an EPC test for you or to make some energy-related property improvements? The Julie Twist Properties maintenance team is on hand to arrange appointments and complete the jobs needed to help you to comply with the new laws.

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