Do you need an energy (efficiency) boost?

As the weather (hopefully) warms up and the “Beast from the East” becomes a distant memory it is easy to forget how cold our homes and workplaces can be when it’s freezing outside.

However, from April 2018, there are new regulations affecting both residential and commercial properties.

Before marketing a property for sale or rent then (with limited exceptions) the seller or landlord is required to produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC gives an energy efficiency rating for the property on a sliding scale where “A” is the most energy efficient rating and “G” the least energy efficient rating.

As of 1 April 2018, it has become unlawful to grant a new lease of; extend the lease of or renew the lease of properties with a rating of “F” of “G” (the two worst ratings).

It will become unlawful to continue to let properties with a rating of “F” or “G” on 1 April 2020 (for domestic properties) and on 1 April 2023 (for non-domestic properties).

Breaches of the regulations will be enforced by Trading Standards Officers. Penalties are based on a percentage of the rateable value of the property and a penalty published by the enforcement authority.

If you are a landlord…

If you haven’t already done so, you should urgently review the EPC certificates for your properties to see if any have an “F” or “G” rating. If they do, then:

  • some types of lease aren’t caught by these provisions (although most occupational leases will be). Check whether your lease is caught
  • although most properties are required to have an EPC before being sold or let, a few categories of properties are exempt from this requirement. If a property does not need an EPC, a landlord won’t have to comply with the minimum energy efficiency standards
  • some properties with an “F” or “G” rating may qualify for an exemption from the minimum energy efficiency standards. If so, a landlord needs to register the exemption on the Private Rented Sector exemptions register

If none of these apply and you have a property which is rated “F” or “G”, we would recommend you take appropriate professional advice as to how you can comply with these regulations. The regulations set out “relevant energy efficiency improvements” which a landlord must carry out if they wish to let a sub-standard property.

If you own a property which isn’t let out…

Even if you have no intention of letting out your property, having a low EPC rating could have a negative impact on the marketability/value of the property in the future if this means any potential buyer would have to do works to it improve its EPC rating if they wanted to let it out.

If you are thinking of buying a property…

Look carefully at the EPC rating on the EPC Certificate provided by the agent. If it is “F” or “G” take professional advice from a surveyor as to how feasible it would be to improve the rating. Even if the property is rated “E”, it is still worth taking advice on how easily the EPC rating could be improved as it is always possible that the minimum energy efficiency rating threshold could be raised in the future.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at Guest Walker if you have any queries in relation to these regulations. We also have contacts with local surveyors and EPC providers who can provide practical advice on complying with these regulations.





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