It's common knowledge that, from 1st April 2018, all properties on the rental market being marketed for new leases or renewals will need to achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of "E" and above and that those with ratings of "F" and "G" will be forced off the market until improvements are made. But while it’s easy to bemoan this latest measure as just another government intervention designed to drain the coffers of landlords, there’s actually a case to be made for improved Energy Efficiency Standards and it’s one that lettings agents can use to reassure reluctant landlords.
Most changes are small
Landlords with a low EPC rating should be reassured that there are a number of simple changes they can make to increase their score. Quick hacks like switching all lightbulbs for compact fluorescent tube lighting, making sure that curtains and draft excluders are thick enough to help the house retain energy and installing new window and door seals have a minimum outlay. Even more labour-intensive modifications like insulating lofts and wall cavities are relatively inexpensive when compared to the loss of rental income caused by having to remove a property from the market. Lettings agents should harness their connections in the construction industry to assist landlords where possible.
Increased energy efficiency will increase a property's value
While there is currently no equivalent energy legislation in the sales market (although all sale properties must display a valid EPC), making improvements to your property’s energy efficiency will only make it more attractive to buyers and could lead to an increase in the property’s value.
Energy bills will be reduced
Energy-efficient homes tend to have lower heating and electricity bills, making a property with a strong EPC rating infinitely more marketable to tenants. As the market shrinks in the wake of uncertainty over Brexit, having the edge over properties in the same market could be the difference between securing a tenant or not.
Increased stringency should improve safety standards
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer claiming the lives of around 25 people across the UK every year, often due to faulty boilers. Demanding more energy efficient homes should lead to tighter regulations around boilers and heating systems, making properties safer (not to mention allowing landlords to sleep more soundly at night).
There’s no way around it
The bottom line is, from the beginning of April, it will be illegal to rent out a property with a poor EPC rating and landlords who do so will be subject to a £4,000 fine for non-compliance. While it might seem harsh, lettings agents can sweeten the pill for their landlords by reminding them there’s still more than enough time to improve your EPC – and their rental income – before the measures come into place. All it takes is a little efficiency.
For more details, why not download our quick guide to the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards by clicking here or on the image below?