Property Managers and Landlords across the UK are being tasked with making rental homes more energy efficient in-line with amended regulations.
Tenants who are living in homes that have the lowest energy performance ratings could save around £180 per year on their energy bills as the upgrades come into effect. Since April 2018, support has been available to landlords for improvements on the coldest privately-owned homes.
Landlords to become accountable
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said that after a public consultation the new requirements will want landlords to be accountable for some of the costs of upgrades also.
The lowest two energy efficiency ratings available are Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings F and G. Over the course of next year, properties with these ratings must be made warmer before they can go on the rental market. This is expected to cost around £1,200 and will affect 290,000 properties, which embodies approx. 6% of the overall domestic market.
It is hoped that the changes will save household on average £180 per year. It will also reduce carbon emissions and potentially increase property values. This would then be good news for landlords as it would offset the costs of the updates.
Claire said: “While the vast majority of landlords take great pride in the properties they own, a minority still rent out housing that is difficult to keep warm. Everyone should be protected against the cold in their own home and this announcement will bring this reality closer”.
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler welcomed the announcement. She said: “These new measures will help improve the coldest homes, protecting tenants whilst also saving them money.
“This builds on our on-going work to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector, including through our reviews of health and safety standards and carbon monoxide alarm requirements in the home”.
Most landlords won’t be affected by the changes as their properties are already compliant. Where upgrades are necessary, the average cost to improve an F or G rated property to a band E is expected to be around £1,200. This is well below the upper ceiling being brought forward under new regulations.
Examples of measures include installing floor insulation and low energy lighting or increasing loft insulation. If upgrades will cost more than £3,500, landlords will be able to register for an exemption.
The measures will come into force during 2019 and will affect around 200,000 landlords, some of whom will still have access to a variety of funding schemes. This includes support from the Energy Company Obligation scheme and local grants to bring their properties up to the required standard.
Ministers said that these measures will help to ensure the housing and energy market works for everyone by bringing greater fairness to energy costs and making renting fair and more transparent for all.
Remote homes to take a hit
However, the Countryside Landowners Association (CLA), whose members provide around 40% of all private rented housing in the countryside, said landlords in rural areas will be hit hardest by these regulations.
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer pointed out that properties not connected to the gas network are automatically scored lower for using alternative fuels. He said: “The majority of our members have already taken steps to ensure their properties comply with these energy efficient requirements, and in many cases, have invested far greater amounts than the £3,500 cap.
“However, around four million properties are off the grid and rely on fuel which is more expensive than gas. This automatically results in a lower score than their urban counterparts, which increases the costs of compliance. Removing fuel price from how properties are judged would help to address this issue.
“Some landlords with properties in more scenic parts of the country could decide it is simply not viable to make the upgrade and either sell or let as holiday accommodation”.
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