EPC failed – Can’t let it, can’t sell it, can’t pay for the work?

by Readers Question

11:07 AM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

EPC failed – Can’t let it, can’t sell it, can’t pay for the work?

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EPC failed – Can’t let it, can’t sell it, can’t pay for the work?

Hi, I just had my two flats out of date EPC assessments done and one failed.  The grade was G the lowest on the scale. I have been informed by the assessor that I cannot rent the flat with this low grade, and recommended I change the electric boiler to gas.

We don’t have gas piped to the flats and the gas company said if they could supply the gas pipe it would take over three months and could cost around £1000. The second recommendation was to insulate all inside walls with 50m insulation, I have already installed 25m but this would not count because he can only assess what he can see. The cost of the installation is between £5000 and £8000.

I asked if I can do the insulation myself and save some money the answer was no i have to get a company who can supply a certificate. I can’t get any grants for the work because the tenant has to be on benefits and I don’t have a tenant. I agree this flat requires upgrading, and I’m prepared to do that but the cost for a new boiler and insulation would be £12.000. This would mean no rent for the next two years.

The problem I have can’t let it, can’t sell it, can’t pay for the work. Help!

Brandy

Comments

Lusso

12:01 PM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

Change the EPC company, if you have already insulated internally its not difficult for a competent surveyor to investigate the fact and include same in his calcs
H

Phil lloyd

12:03 PM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

Hello Brandy,
Your first port of call should be gov.uk and look to see if your property qualifies for a PRS exemption.
I am an energy assessor and you do not have to use a company to install the insulation though you may be better advised to use one as the work needs to be done to the correct standards to ensure it is effective and that you do not introduce further problems to the property now or in the future such as cold spots etc. The assessor however must be satisfied that there is evidence of the insulation being present on the walls when they assess and the assessment must be non invasive so drilling holes or the like by the assessor is not permitted. This can be done by attending and seeing the works in progress for themselves prior to it being finished and decorated, by leaving a point of access, providing date stamped photographs showing the insulation in place and ideally with a tape measurement or manufacturers specification being provided. There are other ways the assessor can be satisfied that the insulation is present also.
There is no reason for you not being able to sell as long as it is to a private residential purchaser or to an investor who does not require a mortgage and is prepared to bring the property up to an 'E' rating prior to renting it assuming the property is in England or Wales. Scotland and N Ireland may have different requirements.
I hope this has helped you a little even if it is not a comprehensive answer.

David

12:25 PM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

There has to be something wrong with a system that is advising homeowners to replace electric heating with a fossil fuel alternative.

Maurice Mcguire

16:48 PM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Phil lloyd at 15/01/2021 - 12:03
Thankyou Phil for the good advice.Three years ago I installed 25m installation with plasterboard facing would I be allowed to add another 25m on top of the existing boards to make the 50m required or would have to start again.The report also advised me to install insulation to the floor this would be very difficult as most of the large flat has wooden floors.Thanks again.

Tim Rogers

18:02 PM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Phil lloyd at 15/01/2021 - 12:03
Didn't I read somewhere that the government is intending to raise the EPC level to 'C' before you can let?

reader

19:27 PM, 15th January 2021
About a month ago

Dear Brandy,
Don't panic ! .First find an EPC assessor you can work with before you spend a single penny. Ask them to specify the minimum requirements to meet the band you wish to achieve. Then do a cost benefit equation to work out your wisest options. Consider that the government says it is going to phase out gas boilers so electricity might be the way forward. Your EPC advisor can tell you the most efficient night storage heaters to hit your target but generally Quantum night storage rads are the most effiicient but also quite expensive.
Quite often there are energy company offers to upgrade your property free of charge if there is no source of gas inside the building. Make sure their specifications meet those of your assessor and they are not goiing to destroy the character of your property eg, skirtings, picture rails, cornices or outside features.

Nicholas Ainger

10:58 AM, 16th January 2021
About a month ago

If I may you’ve missed the key area of the Regulations that permit rentals to lawfully continue if F or G rated.
There is a price cap of £3,500. No measures have to be installed if they exceed the price cap. You only have to install those which are ‘relevant energy efficiency measures’ which might be low cost such as lighting or heating controls.
Regulation 25 permits an exemption on this basis.
There is a consultation to raise the bar to Band C by 2025 for new tenancies, 2028 for existing, and a price cap of £10,000.
A lot depends on whether you wish to reach Band E now, or just be compliant.
EPC ratings are based on cost, not carbon, so fossil fuels will be beneficial under the current Regs unless the EIR becomes pertinent (the Environmental Impact Rating).
As for most landlords you’re best to pay for advice which could save you a lot of money if you go down an unnecessary path.
Finally, an expired EPC doesn’t have to be replaced unless you need to rely upon it. An expired EPC can’t fall foul of the Regs because it no longer exists, even though it’s on the register. Which is why the Regs consider voluntary EPCs which are exempt from needing to comply with MEES until you need to rely upon it (for marketing purposes).
I charge for advice but fire back queries and glad to help.
Chartered Surveyor. ECO, PAS2035 auditor etc etc.

Prakash Tanna

12:16 PM, 16th January 2021
About a month ago

Hi. You have been given some really good advice above. It's also not difficult to drill trial holes in the p/b at various locations to confirm what type of insulation have installed and the thickness. Did you not take any pics when you put it in, most assessors should accept that too as evidence?

In the meantime, if you are of the mind you would prefer to sell rather then carry out the necessary works get in touch (info@tannaproperty.com) and subject to location/price i'm always keen to buy more stock. The failed EPC would not be an issue.

Goodluck!

John Allies

15:19 PM, 16th January 2021
About a month ago

Dear Brandy
I am an energy assessor and the first thing I have to say is, how does a flat come up with a G rating? I have been doing EPCs for 10 or 11 years and I have never had a flat with a worse rating than F and they have been few and far between. I obviously don't know the property but I am intrigued to have a look the EPC. You say there is an electric boiler so there is reasonable heating, all be it slightly expensive. You say you have put in some internal wall insulation, I agree with the earlier comment that an assessor cannot drill holes in the wall but he can tap the wall to see if it sounds solid or hollow. If there is a hollow ring it means that some form of insulation has been added.
An assessor should be able to offer you advice and wouldn't charge you for it. As already mentioned there is a cost cap of £3,500 inclusive of vat to improve energy performance for properties in bands G and F and to get this you would need to register with the PRS Exemptions Register, this is the maximum you would have to pay.
As also mentioned the government department BEIS have recently issued a consultation document requesting opinion on increasing the minimum EPC rating in the PRS sector from E39 to C69 which could have a big effect on the market.
Following other comments, I would totally agree that you should go to another assessor put your situation to him and ask for guidance. I still find it hard to accept your property has a G rating.
The alternative to this is to sell it and there is no minimum rating required to sell a property. A buyer whether a householder or BTL can see what is on the EPC and make their own decision.
I would certainly be happy to discuss it more with you if you want to.


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