It is now just four months until new rules concerning Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into force.
From that date, any properties rented out in the private rented sector will need a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The new rules cover all new lets and renewals and will be extended to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020.
The exemption register is currently open – and revised software to be used by assessors to calculate EPCs, is now being issued, following a campaign by the RLA over ratings for solid wall homes.
However, the information out there can be conflicting and confusing.
Here Dave Princep, the RLA’s health and safety consultant, shares his advice to landlords when it comes to facing the changes up ahead and says applying for an exemption could be a short-term solution to a long term problem – and could end up costing you money. He writes:
“If you have a low EPC, applying for an exemption should really be your last resort.
Any exemption registered on the database triggers an automatic email to the relevant local authority, informing them that the premises is F or G band.
The local authority could then take action under the housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) to force the landlord to carry out improvements works to remedy a cold hazard, with HHSRS unaffected by the exemption register. In short, you may have to do the works anyway.
Although HHSRS does not mention any specific EPC ratings as being equivalent to a Category 1 Hazard, the lower the EPC the greater the probability that action would be warranted.
The recently published Government’s Clean Growth Strategy indicates that they will be shortly looking at increasing the energy efficiency standards that will apply to the domestic PRS – probably incrementally increasing the minimum EPC band at which premises may be let over the coming years.
Against this background it is recommended that landlords whose premises are below a band C to consider undertaking all cost-effective energy improvements whenever undertaking major refurbishment or significant works at their properties.
Those with band E premises should look carefully at their premises and carry out any less disruptive and cost-effective works as soon as they can and they consider scheduling in other energy refurbishments over the medium term.
Landlords with an F band whose rental properties are of solid wall construction should consider undertaking a new EPC assessment once the software is upgraded – which should be anytime soon. (Watch this space for further information on this).
According to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) around 100,000 PRS homes will be upgraded into Band E and therefore unaffected by the current restrictions.
Quite simply members with F & G ratings must take urgent action.
Funding and finance options are currently available for RLA members and other landlords and we would strongly advise landlords take advantage of it while the offer is there.’
For further information on grant and finance available though the RLA’s energy parters see the RLA’s energy efficiency funding page.
In addition to this the RLA has just launched two new classroom courses in Energy Efficiency Regulations and Practical Sustainability and Energy Efficiency. For more information and to book click here.