Stuck with low EPC empty house we can’t rent?

by Readers Question

9:05 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Stuck with low EPC empty house we can’t rent?

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Stuck with low EPC empty house we can’t rent?

My Husband and I (in our 50’s) bought a house, our first one together. We managed to save up the deposit and recover our credit over 15 years to get a mortgage. Shortly after completing I fell ill and had to move into a bungalow, but I am still working for now.

The house has an EPC score of 21/F and is standing empty. It has electric storage heaters, we cleared the house, bathroom is new and had gas connected, but we cannot afford to put the central heating in. We have enough savings for cheap carpets and basic kitchen, but would need another £5k for central heating. We tried the council for grants, nothing available to us as we both had a house back in the 80’s with ex partners.

Has anyone found any solution to improve their EPC even just to an E so we could rent it out?

We have it back on the market as we are paying rent and a mortgage which leaves us with little to live off. It breaks our heart we won’t be able to keep it as it was our retirement plan in 15 years.

Now we face renting for the rest of our lives again.

Many thanks

Worried



Comments

Guy

9:31 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Hi,

I take it that you have an EPC. That should identify the measures that can be taken to raise the energy performance rating. The quickest one that can have an impact, at relatively low cost, is to switch all light bulbs in the property to LEDs. In addition, you can normally add insulation to the loft, which again is a relatively affordable option. The EPC should also identify who carried out the assessment, so you could also try calling them and ask them what the impact would be to carry out those couple of measures, plus any other affordable suggestions they might have.

Where is the property located?

Please feel free to send me a message if I can help further - not sure if I am allowed to post my email address, but if so, here it is: guy@blueinfinityproperty.com

Best,

Guy

Chris Daniel

10:03 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Should call Energy Savings Trust ( find their 0800 number online ) they'll tell you what grants are available, as the Big 6 energy suppliers are forced to spend x % of their profits each year on CO2 reduction.

David Price

10:11 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Without seeing the property and the EPC it is difficult to give advice. I think Guy has given the best generic ideas as nearly everything else is expensive. It is possible to get a temporary exemption , a tedious process which is best avoided.
In the middle of a housing crisis yet another property has been taken off the market.

Jireh Homes

11:22 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

First the bad news: Check the date on the EPC, as the later versions (2009 & 2012) of the RdSAP software used to create the SAP Rating typically results in a lower rating. Changing all the light bulbs typically only gains 1 SAP point, so only helpful if borderline on rating. Loft insulation is a major factor. Reviewing the recommendations on the EPC report may not identify the best solutions, suggest if contact with EST not helpful engage with local DEA (Domestic Energy Assessor) and request they model options to raise rating to achieve the E39 rating.

reader

11:24 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

I had a G rated property ( it had: a flat above, wooden uninsulated floors, solid stone walls, modern double glazing, electric panel heaters, single rate electricity). I had installed a dual rate (economy 7) electricity supply free of charge from my energy supplier and bought all LED bulbs which brought it up to a middle F.
I asked my friendly enegy surveyor to carryout a new survey. This has two important influcences on the rating. Firstly the computer software used to calculate efficientcy is often updated and could be beneficial (see RLA campaign for such solid wall buildings). But most importantly I asked him to calculate a number of "what if" senarios and work out how I could achieve a basic E. He came back with a very simple solution install the latest high efficientcy night storage heaters and hey presto ! Target was hit an E achieved.

Be VERY careful what heaters you install as the software only recognises certain brands and models. I was informed Dimplex Quantums and Elnur HHR models do the trick. Search really hard and you will find the larger models for just over £700 (in their packaging), installation costs are extra.

If I installed a dual rate hot water cylinder the flat would hit a D rating. That is the target the government have previously suggested is their long term aim. From G to D !

I am told that things like installing draught proofing can score points, making sure there are no unheated passage/hall ways in the building, obviously lots of loft insulation.

There are companies that specialise in free internal insulation for tenants in F and G properties, you could discuss their services and what they could do for you. But my "what if" discussion with my friendly EPC surveyor did the trick for me and did not involve the mess or destruction caused by internal insulation.

Do not just rely on the pro forma recommendations in the EPC have a specific discussion with your surveyor to obtain the most points for the least expenditure.

Speak to your accountant there used to be an energy saving tax allowance, may be it is still available, it all helps.

In which region of the country are your properties? I might be able to introduce you to my EPC surveyor.

Mike

11:31 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

EPC ratings can vary quite a bit between one inspector to another, its no different to any other trade, just as you may get different quotes for the same job, that is exactly how it is, there isn't an exact standard, that has been my experience. A company who wants to prompt you for business will usually come up with a much lower rating, than someone you may engage independently to survey your property for an EPC rating, even a boiler can make difference if it is a condensing boiler as opposed to non-eco boiler. One would think Night Storage heating would be as good as any gas fired heating as it uses lower night tariff.
I am guessing to get an F rating the house has no double glazing, no energy saving bulbs, no gas fired central heating, no loft insulation, no cavity walls hence no possibility of injecting insulating foam into cavities, build of solid walls,
also with gas central heating ratings can be further improved if you have thermostatic radiator valves on each rad except the one that cannot have any as it may be controlling the room thermostat, a friendly surveyor can usually give you a little higher rating if you offer him coffee and biscuits. Definitely worth putting the kettle on!

A gas central heating with an average priced boiler should cost no more than about £3500.00 for a three bed house, but you may find you could get quotes as far apart as the universe.

Mike

11:45 AM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Beware of quotes and estimates, as the experience tells us that nearly every job ends up beyond the price quoted because of extras or other difficulties encountered during installations that were not taken into consideration at the time of providing an estimate. My mate had an extension quoted for £35K ended up costing him over £100K, Many builders and installers these days underquote just get the job and later on up their prices and you have no choice, and no one is doing anything about these rouge traders.

Jon

13:54 PM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Hello
Don't worry, although you have to have an EPC - which you have - if you rent the house as a shared housed on more than one tenancy, you don't need to comply with the MEES minimum E level. You might not want to do this forever but you can let, even to a couple as long as you let on two tenancies one person for each bedroom perhaps and with the tenancy giving them shared use of the other parts of the house. If the house is otherwise perfectly lettable, I believe you can do this perfectly legitimately. If you do, I would be completely upfront about why you are doing this but also commit to using the rental income to move towards improving the EPC rating to an E as soon as possible. As mentioned by others, loft insulation is cheap and effective and with careful research, the right electric heaters and water heaters will be probably be a cheaper replacement / upgrade than installing gas central heating. Another area that I am looking at for the near future, especially for all electric properties, is solar pv panels - I just need to be completely sure that the EPC will properly reflect the benefits of fitting them.
Good luck.

Rob Crawford

15:27 PM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Some energy providers still provide grants for loft and cavity wall installation. That would certainly help. Also, talk to your Council's Private Rented Sector team. Let them know you have a property you would like to rent to benefit tenants. They may be able to release some landlord incentive funds to get the property up to scratch. I would not normally recommend benefit tenants but this could be a possible means to an end - Councils are so desperate at present!

Michael Barnes

16:17 PM, 7th February 2019
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 07/02/2019 - 11:45
Quotes are binding; estimates are not.

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