New EPC rules set To upset the PRS as well as me!

by Readers Question

5 months ago

New EPC rules set To upset the PRS as well as me!

Make Text Bigger
New EPC rules set To upset the PRS as well as me!

From April 2018, landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property in England or Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.

Now as a Landlord I had not taken too much notice of this looming legislation. My properties are well maintained and in good order I told myself. Imagine my surprise when my diligent agent contacted me and explained that shortly I could no longer rent out one of my properties, a flat, because of my EPC F rating.

Now since I bought this property I have had it fully double glazed and added loft insulation all at my own cost. The rest of the flat was heated through modern electric wall heaters and a modern gas fire. I thought these changes would be enough to raise the EPC to an acceptable rating. Imagine my surprise when I received another F rating with a new EPC.

Only installation of a new central heating system and possibly wall insulation would bring my flat to an acceptable rating I was told. That equates to a six thousand pound heating installation bill, however I could do nothing about insulating the walls as my well maintained 200 year old non listed building were solid.

Among the options available to me include signing benefit tenants to take advantage of government initiated ECO deals in order to cut down installation costs, something I really hadn’t wanted to revisit after a series of expensive repairs, or to sell the property outright and withdraw it completely from the rental market.

I wonder how many Landlords up and down the land are facing a similar dilemma and if this piece of legislation will result in a substantial increase of properties withdrawn from the rental market.

Rob



Comments

Neil Patterson

5 months ago

Hi Rob,
There does look like being a cost cap potentially of £2,500. See >> https://www.property118.com/energy-efficiency-cost-cap-consultation-landlords-nla-response/

There is also an exemption register and it mentions walls. Please see the full government guidance >> https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/669587/Domestic_Private_Rented_Landlord_Guidance_-_Updated_Version.pdf

Section 4.1.3

Relevant energy efficiency improvements - wall insulation

The Regulations recognise that certain wall insulation systems cannot, or should not, be installed on particular properties in particular instances even where they have been recommended for a property, and where funding can be secured to cover the costs of installing them.

Therefore there is a special provision relating to the circumstances in which cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation systems, and internal wall insulation systems should be installed.

James Barnes

5 months ago

This really is a feeble piece of legislation, if you can demonstrate some token effort at improving the property's EPC rating you'll probably be OK.

Robert Mellors

5 months ago

I took on a flat with electric heaters, and I removed these and installed gas central heating, but it did not cost £6k to do this, so it may be worth shopping around for some quotes.

In relation to insulation, although cavity wall insulation may not be possible, and external wall insulation may be very costly, it may work out more reasonable to add internal insulation, e.g. insulated plasterboard? Again, this would need to be assessed and quoted for, but it is just another possible option.

Kevin Thomson

5 months ago

I had one flat at F. I had to get it assessed pre-Green Deal and it came back as D. Nothing had been done to the flat, just a different opinion from a different surveyor!

I also had another epc where the floor area was measured wrong, which threw out all the ensuing calculations. Measuring is the foundation stone for a surveyor's work, if they can't do that properly then I have even less faith in them than previously.

I have another flat which is F and warm, and another which is C and freezing.

Still...epc legislation makes the Government look virtuous and helps surveyors to make money.

terry sullivan

5 months ago

the surveys are rubbish--paper exercise only

Chris Daniel

5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 11/01/2018 - 11:09
There has been a recent revision of Solid wall energy ratings, which should see many properties EPC's move somewhat upwards in the banding.
Add internal 'insulated plasterboard' has to be skim plastered of course, and that should do the trick ?

Darren Peters

5 months ago

Just to add, if you add something which will be invisible once done, Eg insulation-backed plasterboard, under-floor insulation or whatever, take plenty of pictures of the work done, perhaps even a quick smartphone video walkaround so that you can show the EPC surveyor it is truly the property in which they stand.
One might reasonably believe an EPC surveyor would have dedicated instruments to measure heat losses however they bring nothing but their eyes, a tape measure and sometimes a ladder.
It would be a shame to bite the bullet and spend a lot of money only to have it disbelieved. Even with pictures, I've had to remove plug sockets to show insulation depth.

Make sure you have LED bulbs in all light fittings. This makes a significant difference to the rating.

Paul Green

5 months ago

Adding gas central heating (after obtaining 3 quotes) will add value to your property investment and make it more cosy for tenants, potentially leading to longer tenancys. In the long term you will recoup any outlay 10 fold. Stick in their.

Matt Wardman

5 months ago

>Now as a Landlord I had not taken too much notice of this looming legislation.
It is difficult to muster much sympathy here - these rules have been high profile since about 2012.
And a demand for E is an incredibly weak requirement - and you will be required to reach D by 2025, and C by 2030.
One advantage for landlord PR is that we are just about as a sector to overtake Owner Occupied in energy efficiency as measured by EPC. Will not reduce the hate campaigns, but it will give some counter propaganda.
Particular measures that will fiddle the current version of EPC, which is biased towards gas heating and away from electric (which perhaps slugged your current rating) to give a higher number than perhaps deserved could be a small solar PV installation (up to 10 points), or a waste water heat-exchanger device on the electric shower (2-3 points I am told).
However, why on earth have you got Electric Rads in a low efficiency property? If you want a recipe for tenants wanting to leave, the bills from that setup are such a recipe.
You may get an exemption, or support if you go for benefit tenants.
Rather tan flap about with exemptions and excuses, I would suggest do the insulating work for a start as Internal Wall Insulation. I find that 50mm PIR insulation in some form makes a big difference and is not expensive; it should not cost much more than one year of profits on a normal property. You will also need to ventilate properly, which is important.
Alternatively, sell the property if it will be impossible to upgrade. At some stage the huge extra expense of living in such a property will reach the market value.
There are a number of shiny new renovations I have refused to buy because the idiots had left the EPC at an E by not doing the basics on the fabric, and to meet the 2025 regs would involve ripping out the renovation.
One question: have you included the financial benefit of fewer voids and tenant swaps in your justification?
Have you considered getting hold of the free trial EPC software from Stroma and doing your own model, so you get a feel for it? Pop over to the buildhub.org.uk forum, and we can explain it to you.
Cheers

1 2

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

Training Tips for Accidental Landlords