EPC Regulations – should landlords sell band F and G rated flats?

by Mark Alexander

20:45 PM, 18th March 2013
About 6 years ago

EPC Regulations – should landlords sell band F and G rated flats?

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EPC Regulations – should landlords sell band F and G rated flats?

EPC Regulations - should landlords sell band F and G rated flatsEPC regulations are beginning to worry many landlords so I would like to raise this question; “should landlords be selling leasehold flats with a Band F & G EPC rating now?”

Just in case you are not aware, it will be illegal for landlords to rent out Band F and G rated properties from 2018. Further, we can not refuse tenant request to improve the EPC rating of these flats from 2016.

The Problem?

As leaseholders we only rent the space, we do not own the building. Therefore, how can we add cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or external wall insulation without the freeholders and every other leaseholders consent? I don’t think we can!

Can we compel our freeholders to do the works? I don’t think we can!

OK, we might be able to add a more energy efficient boiler but that’s about it isn’t it? Somebody suggested internal wall insulation to me today but who’s going to want that?!!! Making rooms smaller and what about sockets or kitchen/wardrobe fitting etc.?

The only logical conclusion for me at the moment is that if you own a flat with an F or G EPC rating get rid!

That’s not advice by the way, it’s merely a frustrated conclusion that I’ve come to, hopefully because I’m missing something!

I’m not the only one with similar concerns. Only last week, landlord Neil Branch posed the following question:-

“I have a 2nd floor flat that has an EPC rating of H. I would like to put in cavity wall insulation to raise this to a rating of E, to meet future regulations. However none of the other tenants in the block (15 flats) seem interested. Any suggestions as to how I could go about this?”

Any ideas good people?

 



Comments

10:56 AM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

Internal insulation may not be as difficult as it may seem for some. If your score is only out by a few points one could use Sempatap internal wall insulation its only about 15mm thick so there is no real room loss. Costs roughly £30 square meter installed.

In the end the rating depends on how many heatloss walls to the flat that needs insulating. I suspect most will have no more than 2. If Sempatap is insufficient then probably 50mm insulated plaster board will suffice fixed to the heatloss walls costing about £45 square meter. With heating costs so high tenants will be attracted to a low running cost flat.

ian

13:02 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

ask freeholder to have all 15 flats cavity insulated leasholders have no say in the matter. wall insullation can be installed from the inside of your flat. but first you will have to stop it falling down cavity. drill holes at skirting level around the rooms into the cavity and then use expanding foam to bridge the gap. you still might need permission from freeholder. good luck

17:25 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

They are in more trouble than you think. There is no "H" rating on the EPC !

Neil HEWITT

17:32 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

I would recommend that a landlord contacts the energy assessor who produced the EPC, for advice. Any good assessor will be willing to talk over the phone, apart from those assessors who do very cheap EPCs. Look at the recomendations on the EPC. Can any or some increase the rating? Often this may be as simple as a new gas boiler. Storage heating lowers the rating, and is not attractive to a prospective tenant, so by investing, you can increase the rating, and perhaps have more rent, and a better tenant. Als, the report refers to EPC Adviser, which will assist with modelling of recomendations.
I suspect that some landlords are trying to have a dig at the concept of energy efficiency, rather than spend money. I currently rent, and would never choose electric heating. The choices are there.

Reader

20:02 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

Try insulating the walls internally with 50mm insulated plaster board. Dont buy Chinese plaster board go for the quality British product. Yes it is a mess and the property will [probably have to be empty. Dont be affraid to do the ceilings at the same, that will stiop the upward loss of heat too.

Moving the electricity to enconomy 7 can help.

Become friendly with your EPC assessor you would be amazed at what is possible thereafter.

I seriously wonder if landlords who need all sorts of materials and new heating equipment could not form a buying group. For instance fan assisted modern night storeage heaters are about £600+ each from Dimplex. Surely if we were buying hundreds of these together a sensible price could be obtained.

Mary Latham

20:38 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

Now you have opened up a can of worms Mark!!

I have several 1960's flats. I contacted all the Managing Agents and asked them to get the FREE cavity wall insulation installed. Some of them did this with very little trouble. Some charged the leaseholders a fee of around £100. Some did NOTHING.

It is probably too late to get this done for free now and I am very angry that these agents did not do their jobs properly - but I am considering what action I can take against them for taking fees and not providing the service we pay for.

There are a few problems that landlords need to be aware of

1. Often the brick ties are bridged by the mortar that the builders scraped off their tools into the cavities at the end of the working day in those days. These will be really difficult to fill for obvious reasons and the cavities may need to be cleared - At what cost I cannot imagine, particularly on high blocks where scaffolding will be needed!!!

2. The freeholder needs consent from all the leaseholders and may charge for "admin" services

3. Where mortar is not sound there will need to be some re-pointing before the cavities can be filled.

I have had my flats internally clad where the Agents did not get the cavities filled and I have also had the lofts on two top floor flats insulated (at no cost) I did not ask or tell the freeholder because I had no intention of paying for permission.

My flats are now D rated despite being all electric with night storage heaters.

Internal cladding, as has been said, it not as expensive as you might think and makes a huge difference - no more condensation, reduced fuel costs and nice cosy flats. I have only had external walls done and, because the windows are so big in these flats, the area is actually not so big. Sockets need to be brought forward and skirting replaced so there is that additional cost. I was able to off set some of the cost against the £1,500 annual allowance for energy performance measures which many landlords forget.

My flat let really well and give me a good return so they were worth the investment. Tenants like big rooms, big windows, good storage and plenty of garden areas between each block which you do not get in modern flats.

I will not be selling mine but I can see where landlords who bought at the height of the property boom may well want to sell theirs.

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20:50 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

As far as I’m aware (and I may be wrong!) you WILL be able to let a property with an EPC rating of F or G, as long as you have done everything that a Green Deal assessment says will pass the Golden Rule – although I’m pretty certain that this is not yet set in stone, so with the possibility of a new government in the driving seat is it really worth worrying about yet?

If you are concerned I would look very carefully at your existing EPC to make sure that it accurately reflects the property – I have seen some shocking examples in my time, many of which will make the EPC rating worse than it could be if done properly. An example would be one done by the “I don’t need a ladder to do the inspection” brigade of assessors – if they don’t look in the loft they won’t know how much insulation there is and the software will default to a figure based on the age of the property which will negate the effect of the nice new insulation you just had put in.

So check that the “Dwelling Type” is correct, and that you agree with all the data in the “Summary of this home’s energy performance related features” section on page 2

If in doubt about the quality of your EPC speak to the assessor who did it and if you don’t like their answers try getting another one done by a decent assessor – it may cost you £80 but that’s a pretty cheap way of getting your property up into band E. And if you’re still an F or G at least you will know that you have an accurate “baseline” from which to work.

Reader

21:00 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

Hello Mary, You may have obtained a D but don't forget tenants can still request energy improvements under the Mean Deal.

23:10 PM, 19th March 2013
About 6 years ago

Ha Ha Tommy ! must have walls missing to be a 'H' on EPC!

Neil HEWITT

7:50 AM, 20th March 2013
About 6 years ago

In response to the suggestion to have a decent assessor in to do an accurate EPC. Excellent comment, and may I be as bold as to suggest to actually search for an assessor who is a 'Home Inspector', who conducts Home Buyer Surveys. This is for the simple reason that they are a lot more professional, and will understand considerably more than many assessors who cover energy only. This may cost more, but professional services are never low cost. Also, ask if they do understand about private renetd, and HMOs.
There are many poor energy assessment out there, and that often do increase the rating, this is like a dodgy MOT on a car, and should a situation arise when a new EPC is required eg. for Green Deal, or EHO assessment, a lower rating may occur.

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