New software being used to calculate EPCs could see around 80,000 PRS homes re-banded – meaning some landlords may not have to carry out potentially expensive improvement works.
New rules concerning Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards come into force in April 2018. 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 RLA has been campaigning on the issue for the last six years – on the basis the software used to calculate EPCs was flawed.
Now, following years of lobbying and campaigns, the government has now issued assessors with new RdSAP software – so any EPCs issued after November 20 can be relied upon as accurate.
It is estimated that almost a quarter of the 330,000 homes in the PRS with an F or G-rating could be re-categorised, the equivalent of 80,000 properties.
Some of these will improve enough to attain the E rating – although it is impossible to say exactly how many.
What changes can landlords expect to see?
- ‘Non-traditional’ solid wall properties are expected to see the biggest improvement. These homes will typically have walls made of 330mm (13”) thick stone, mixed earth or brick and stone.
- Those with traditional 228mm (9”) solid brick walls will see a lower but still significant improvement.
- Filled cavity walled premises will see a reduced EPC rating, but it is very unlikely that many could go down into Band F.
If your home is a low rated Band G it is unlikely there will be much movement. But as it is 10 years since EPCs were introduced many will be coming up for renewal anyway – so a retest will not be a loss even if the property does not rate well enough to increase a band.
What do landlords need to do now?
If your property has solid walls and you are in a Band F it is worth having a new EPC assessment – particularly if you have undertaken energy improvements such as having a new boiler installed or insulation added, as you are likely to have an improved EPC rating under the new software.
Those with Band G, who have solid walls and whose EPC is up for renewal in the near future and/or have installed a new boiler, insulation or other energy efficiency works since their previous EPC assessment may also wish to get a new EPC undertaken as a combination of the new rules and/or the improvement works may take them into Band E.
However, if after this you still have an F or G rated property – or if you opt not to have a retest – you must act urgently to ensure you rental homes are compliant.
Richard Jones, RLA company secretary said: “This change comes after six years of campaigning by the RLA for a proper scientific appraisal of the insulation properties of walls.
“This led to the Building Research Establishment undertaking research that demonstrated that sold walls in particular provide better insulation for homes than was shown in the EPC rating.
“We are delighted the new software is now in use, however time is getting short and we would advise anyone who wants to get a new EPC carried out to do so as quickly as possible.
“It is also worth being mindful of the fact that the minimum requirements may change in the future and to consider including further energy efficiency improvements if you are carrying out renovation works.”
Funding and finance options are currently available for RLA members and other landlord s to carry out energy efficiency imprvements.
For further information on grant and finance available through the RLA’s energy partners 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.