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Landlords beware! Is your property EPC compliant?

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By Claire Hastie

Since 1 April 2018, there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to have a minimum energy performance rating of ‘E’ on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations apply to new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1 April 2018, and for all existing tenancies from 1 April 2020. Unless there is an exemption (such as the property is listed and upgrading the energy efficiency would be detrimental to the character of the building), it is unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating. Penalties up to £4,000 can be imposed for such breaches. The regulations apply to any domestic, private rented property which is required to have an EPC. If the property is exempt, then it must be listed on the PRS Exemptions Register – the property will be assessed and, once declared exempt, the exemption is valid for a period of 5 years.

These new rules have come into force quietly, and it is likely that many private landlords are blissfully unaware that they are letting unlawfully - we are yet to see how the regulations will be enforced by the local authorities. Accordingly, not only those with existing properties, but those looking to buy-to-let will have to be conscious of the EPC rating at the time of initial purchase. Even those buying a property to live in should be aware of these obligations as they may wish to consider letting it out in the future.

There are a number of schemes in place to help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their rental properties. For further information, you can contact your local authority, who will be able to provide direction in this regard.

Another point for landlords to be aware of is that it will be considered an offence to withhold consent for any reasonable request from a tenant to improve the energy efficiency of their home. There is further guidance on the government website as to what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ request and on what grounds landlords can refuse such requests: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-private-rented-propertyminimum-standard-landlord-guidance-documents. Only time will tell how this will impact landlords, and ultimately their profits!

For further information, please contact claire.hastie@twmsolicitors.com

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