Not only is it against the law to let a property which breaches the minimum EPC rating requirement of 'E', The Negotiator reports that the government is proposing to introduce a new and wide range of offences that could lead to landlords being listed upon the recently-introduced 'rogue landlords' database.
One of these offences is failure to provide a tenant with an EPC - a step further to the current legislation outlining a landlord's responsibility to maintain and exceed a rating of 'E' or above. At present, the only exception for failing to make improvements is if the landlord has a suitable exemption (such as the cost of making even the cheapest recommended improvement would exceed £3,500 incl. VAT).
However, when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of their properties, a concerning 49% of landlords recently surveyed by E.ON said that they do not feel adequately informed about how to do so.
Not only does this mean that landlords might struggle to make their property compliant with the minimum EPC rating regulations, but they also might miss out on the other benefits of making a property more energy efficient.
Richard O’Neill, Lettings Managing Director for Romans, has provided a number of useful tips if you’re a landlord looking to improve the energy rating of your property:
1. Make sure your property is adequately insulated
Don’t underestimate the importance of thorough insulation in making a property more energy efficient. If the property was constructed before or around 1920, it most likely has solid walls. Solid wall insulation can be installed from either the inside or outside of a property. If the property was built after 1920, it’s likely to have cavity walls, which has a double external wall with a small gap between which can be filled with insulation.
2. Use good insulation as a positive marketing method for your property
Make a play of your energy saving standards. Don’t just think of improving energy efficiency as something for meeting regulations – it’s a commercial decision too and, since many tenants are responsible for paying energy bills, some may be willing to pay slightly more rent for properties that are energy efficient. Therefore, make sure you’re making the most of this as a selling point.
3. Properly insulated windows should be high on your priority list
Without properly insured windows, your property could be losing up to 10% of its heat. Double glazing makes a big difference when it comes to lowering energy bills as well as reducing condensation and noise. Instead of double glazing, you could install secondary glazing which involves fitting a pane of plastic or glass inside the existing window recess to create an insulating layer of air. Though not as effective as double glazing, secondary glazing still saves a significant amount of energy and allows you to maintain good kerb appeal by keeping original features, such as sash windows.
4. Remember that your EPC will only reflect permanent energy-saving features
EPC ratings will only look at permanent improvements to the fabric (bricks and mortar) of your building, so serious consideration should be given to long-term upgrades that will help to reduce heat and energy usage. Simple things – such as draught excluders – will help to keep heat in, but to have a significant impact on an EPC, you need to find more permanent ways to fill the gaps to stop heat escaping through windows, doors and letterboxes.
5. Don’t forget about renewable technologies!
For those really looking to bring their properties up-to-date, it’s worth considering renewable technologies such as solar panels with an at-home battery to store electricity for use even when the sun goes down. Be aware, though, that these will contribute to your rating only if they’re helping to heat the house, rather than providing electricity for other uses.
For more information on how best to boost your property’s energy efficiency, contact your local branch here.
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