Landlords Not Switched on to Energy Efficiency

by Property118.com News Team

16:18 PM, 29th September 2011
About 9 years ago

Landlords Not Switched on to Energy Efficiency

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Landlords Not Switched on to Energy Efficiency
Green grassed house

"A third of landlords ignoring the green calls"

More than a third (35%) of buy to let landlords don’t know or don’t care that their rental homes fail to meet minimum energy performance standards.

Around another 17% of landlords suspect their letting properties would not meet the basic standards expected by the government’s new Green Deal.

From 2018, buy to let homes that fail to score more than the minimum will be banned from letting until remedial works are carried out.

Meanwhile, the Green Deal will make funding available for energy efficiency improvements from next year.

Landlords can take a loan of up to £10,000 to improve each letting property with repayments coming from energy savings resulting from the work.

The findings come from new research by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) that looks at tax breaks and other incentives for landlords to upgrade their properties.

Ian Potter, ARLA’s operations manager, said: “The clock is ticking for the landlords to improve environmental performance, but the investment just isn’t there to ensure that this change takes place in the government’s timeframe.

“ARLA has campaigned for the government to incentivise – through tax relief – the improvement of rental properties.  Otherwise it is going to be exceedingly difficult for the majority of landlords to find the funds to improve stock.”

Under the Green Deal, tenants will repay any money loaned to the landlord for energy efficiency improvements as a levy on their bills – but many property investors are concerned tenants will not welcome the extra cost.

“The issues of fuel poverty among too many households has been raised again as we approach winter,” said Potter. “We urge the government to ensure that the Green Deal is an effective solution to the crisis we will face unless the energy efficiency standards in housing stock can be improved.”

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) disclose all the information a landlord needs about the energy rating of a letting property.


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Comments

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21:10 PM, 6th October 2011
About 9 years ago

Hello Graham, Well, you clearly have different information from me: I've had EPCs done on 10 different properties, and I've always been told that replacement "energy-saving" light bulbs (screw or bayonet) do not count towards improving the property's energy rating because they can be removed. You only get points for energy-saving lighting if it's a fixed installation as in a new-build where 75% of fittings must now be in the new 2- or 4-pin format. For example, one house I renovated in 2009 received a "Very Poor" rating on the lighting, despite having bayonet low-energy bulbs in every socket except for halogen downlighters in the kitchen and main lounge.

The purpose of EPCs may be as you say, but the categories A-G are so broad-brush (even new-builds generally only get B/C) I contend you could just as easily compare properties by just using your own eyes: a single-glazed, solid wall, draughty Victorian property is obviously going to be worse from an energy point of view than a sealed modern new-build where the only way to get fresh air in and avoid condensation-mould is to open the windows or run the extractor fans non-stop. I don't think tenants and buyers are being foolish at all for not asking to see EPCs: they clearly don't care much about energy costs because there are far more important factors at work in their decision-making, such as location, aesthetics, decor and price.

21:41 PM, 6th October 2011
About 9 years ago

Was this always the same DEA? Are you sure he/she is qualified (still)? This is such an elementary mistake that I can't believe he has actually passed the qualifications required by ABBE!

There is no difference in recording lighting with incandescent, CFL or LED lightbulbs other than to record their presence and the number of each kind. If the contention given to you by your DEA was correct then you wouldn't be able to record any lighting because all could, potentially, be removed by the outgoing tenant/owner. It is only plug-in lighting that is ignored, the type that plugs into a wall socket. All other is recorded.

As to assessing a property purely by sight, without taking any measurements or correctly assessing construction, yes, I'm sure that an experienced DEA could get a ballpark assessment and be reasonably close. In fact, based on comments that I have regularly heard of owners and landlords claiming that a DEA has carried out a survey "...in 10 minutes...", I'm sure that there are those that do just that. Clearly they are hoping that they can get away with it in the hopes that they will never be audited. I've been audited over a dozen times by my regulatory authority (NHER) on surveys I have carried out and have never once failed the audit.

Sadly, the fees now being offered by estate agents and online EPC sourcers amount to peanuts. I refuse to have anything to do with these organisations. Sadly there are DEAs who will accept a fee that barely covers the costs on the basis that they will do 10 to a dozen a day. There is no way that a DEA can carry out a dozen EPC surveys in a day without taking shortcuts that are unacceptable and which debase the value of the service we provide.

As to why potential tenants and owners don't ask to see EPCs is that they simply haven't been publicised, either in so far as they exist or as to the potential value that they offer. I still get, "EPC? What's that?" from many people who ask what I do for a living!

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