If you haven't already heard, the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into force on 1st April 2018 - the change is going to relate to the new minimum energy efficiency rating which will be stated on the Energy Performance Certificate that every rental property is issued with.
After 1st April, no new tenancies or lease extensions will be allowed if the property's energy efficiency rating is either F or G (i.e. a rating lower than E). Tenancies that have already begun are not affected until 1st April 2020, unless they come up for renewal before then.
We had a quick Q&A with Emma Stanley, Director for LME Move, one of the UK's leading property management service providers. They're experts when it comes to EPC and the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, so it was a no-brainer to...well, pick their brains about the upcoming changes.
Hi Emma - why should landlords take note and act before April 2018?
The biggest risk for landlords revolves around delays in securing rental income due to enforced voids – a high percentage of landlords will wait until the last minute to act and will face longer wait and void times due to increased demand. That's why it's important to find out the EPC Rating of your property as soon as possible to allow you time to plan financially and logistically for improvements.
What are the consequences for not bringing properties up to standard?
Authorities will issue fixed penalty notices of up to £5,000 per property for anyone letting unlawfully after 1st April 2018. It's therefore vital to protect the value of your property - failing to improve or check if your property qualifies for exemption seriously reduces the buy-to-let sell-on value of any affected property stock.
So what should landlords do with rental properties with a F or G rating?
They should speak to their EPC partner to arrange an initial desktop review of the existing EPC - and where indicated have a new EPC carried out. Their partner's domestic energy assessor (DEA) can advise landlords how to minimise costs as some properties will be exempt under the MEES Golden Rule, meaning landlords save time and money.
If a new EPC rating is still below an E, improvements should be made to bring the rating up before you let or renew any contracts but, handily, the EPC will have a list of recommended measures for improving the property's energy efficiency which you can refer to. Your EPC partner can advise you about what to do based on your circumstances, and then the final EPC is issued to reflect the changes you make.
Emma and her team can be contacted on 01709 877924 or 0845 2410073 for specific EPC advice.