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

by Readers Question

9:05 AM, 7th February 2019
About 7 months 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

Zoe AM

16:20 PM, 7th February 2019
About 7 months ago

Wow thank you for so many ideas. All lightbulbs are changed. EPC was done in 2011. Loft insulation is 3 star ‘assumed’. It’s a solid red brick 1900’s house. So I’m guessing we won’t be able to insulate walls. It’s all double glazed but only scored 3 stars. Not sure how you can make that any better?
I am more than willing to let the property at a lower rate as it’s exoensive to run the electric heating. It’s in Felixstowe in Suffolk. If anyone has a friendly assessor here.

Ian Narbeth

16:55 PM, 7th February 2019
About 7 months ago

Dear Worried
Are you able to borrow in order to fund improvements to the energy performance? The lender's security will be enhanced because at the moment the property is unlettable.
Alternatively, there are rent to rent landlords who will take a 5 to 7 year lease and guarantee the rent and then refurbish and let out either as a BTL or an HMO. You may have to accept a slightly lower rent to allow for the upgrade costs to be amortised. At the end of the tenancy you would have an improved house. Ideally you need legal advice for a contract with the rent to renters but I suspect you may not have the budget for that.. You also need to check their credentials.
On a practical level 12 inches of insulation in the roof space helps greatly. You might be able to get solar panels on a lease arrangement but that is comparatively expensive finance.

Rob Crawford

8:13 AM, 8th February 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Zoe AM at 07/02/2019 - 16:20
Hi Zoe, a significant amount of heat will be lost through these walls. Cladding the insides of all external walls with insulated plasterboard would be very effective. This would need to be done after the first central heating fix, i.e. Before radiators and boiler are fitted, pipe work in the first fix will be hidden behind the plaster board. Ideally, loft insulation needs to be 300mm thick. If you don't insulate as suggested, the heat from any central heating system will just be lost making the property expensive to heat. This insulating will also reduce the threat of mould substantially. It's worth the hassle and cost.

Robert Mellors

11:09 AM, 8th February 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 07/02/2019 - 16:55
This is good advice Ian, as I have taken on properties on a Rent to Rent 6 year lease at a low rent from a landlord who could not afford to pay for improvements (and had no access to credit), on the basis that I would invest around 15k on bringing it up to a good lettable standard (it was declared uninhabitable prior to me taking it on). This has worked well and the property has been successfully let for around 5 years now. The owner would get the property back at the end of the lease period in a good condition, and can then choose to sell it or let it direct to tenants or renegotiate a further lease period with me. It solved the owner's problem, brought a property back into use, and provided a home for a family in housing need. - Unfortunately I do not operate in the Suffolk area so I cannot help with this one, but as a general principle, leasing to a Rent to Rent organisation could provide a possible solution.

Robert Mellors

11:15 AM, 8th February 2019
About 7 months ago

In relation to the cost of installing central heating, as some others have already mentioned, it may be a good idea to shop around for a better quote as 5k seems a bit high. Also, there may be companies that can provide finance for this, so although you will have to pay interest on the finance, at least you would then be able to let the property and get an income with which you can pay off the finance. That way you get the EPC rating boosted up (so you can let it), you get an income (rental income), and you also get a property that is worth more (capital appreciation).

Puzzler

8:06 AM, 9th February 2019
About 7 months ago

British Gas offer an interest free credit deal 2 years or longer at a reasonable interest rate. They may not be the cheapest over all but they supply good boilers (Worcester Bosch) and a service agreement which you can continue after the guarantee period. They also offer landlord cover. Other energy providers may do similar. There is a credit check. From their website:

If you want to pay monthly
Loan agreement through British Gas - British Gas in its role as credit broker can arrange a finance agreement to fund up to 100% of the cost of your central heating installation. Access to a finance agreement is not guaranteed and you will need to go through a lender approval process which will assess your financial circumstances and your ability to repay the loan. The lender will also undertake credit checks on borrowers.

2 Years Interest Free 0% APR or
3, 5, 8 and 10 Years 9.9% APR
No deposit required
Make additional payments at any time (subject to charges on 9.9% APR only)
Minimum loan amount £1,000

Gennie Nash

16:19 PM, 11th February 2019
About 6 months ago

I have been reading these comments with interest. I had a flat, over a shop which was the main problem! There was absolutely nothing extra we could do to get this flat into the acceptable EPC band. In the end, we had to ADD two electric storage heaters, to run separately, along side the electric 'central heating' (water filled radiators run by electric, so just like actual central heating!). I feel your pain! Sometimes you need a human being to look at a situation and use some common sense. I hope it goes well for you. I'm off to read the rest of the comments.

Jay James

18:37 PM, 11th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Hi 'Worried' of the header article.
What have you decided?

AvenuesLandlord

2:04 AM, 14th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Get more quotes for central heating.

It will be better in the long term. Tenants prefer them. This might help you avoid tenants leaving every 6 months due to high running costs. It will also save on void months/redecoration between tenants and tenants referencing costs after the ban kicks in in June.

Jan Martin

14:29 PM, 14th February 2019
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Robert Mellors at 08/02/2019 - 11:15
I had an e rated property and I added new boiler and my rating changed to F . How can this happen .

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