Posts with tag: Energy Performance Certificate

Energy Performance Ratings: The Changes You Need to Know About

Published On: June 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

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Due to overwhelming evidence that properties in the United Kingdom are falling behind other nations in terms of their energy efficiency, the Government has imposed new regulations that will come into effect from April 2018.

From this date, any properties in England and Wales rented in the private sector must have a minimum energy performance rating of E. This must be validated by an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) that was conducted no more than ten years previously.

The new regulations will be applicable to new lets and tenancy renewals from the aforementioned date. However, properties with existing tenancies will be given until April 2020 before the new regulations come into fruition.

The buildings that will be required to comply with the new regulations include: a privately rented domestic property that has an EPC; or a property space within a larger unit, which is required to hold a valid EPC.

Energy Performance Ratings: The Changes You Need to Know About

Energy Performance Ratings: The Changes You Need to Know About

Buildings that will not be required to comply with the new regulations include: residential properties that are vacant for eight or more months of the year; temporary buildings that will stand for two years or less; buildings considered architecturally significant whose appearance would be significantly altered by energy efficiency upgrades; and free-standing buildings with a total floor area of less than 50 square metres.

Should any applicable property fail to meet the new regulations by the aforementioned dates and hold an F or G rating on the EPC scale, tenants will not be allowed to rent the property. Consequentially, this means landlords will have to source EPCs for commercial properties they own and intend to lease. Improvements in the property’s energy efficiency will need to be carried out immediately in order to improve its EPC rating. If tenants enter a property that holds an F or G EPC rating, the landlord will could be forced to pay considerable financial penalties, exemptions withstanding.

Situations that may qualify for penalty exemptions include:

  • Buildings that have undertaken cost-effective improvements but still fall below an E rating.
  • Landlords that require and have been subsequently denied permission from third party owners to make energy efficiency improvements.
  • Occupying tenants withhold consent for energy efficiency improvements.
  • Landlords have written evidence from a qualified installer suggesting that improvements will be detrimental to the structure of the property.

Any exemptions will need to be logged with the Government-run PRS Register. Exemption applications can be submitted from October 2017 and, if approved, will last for five years from the date of confirmation.

Penalties for false exemption submission or failure to comply with new regulations are categorised as follows:

  • £1,000 penalty for providing false information to the PRS Exemptions Register.
  • £2,000 penalty for failure to comply with notices from local authorities.
  • £3,000 penalty for less than three months of renting a property that does not comply with new energy efficiency regulations.
  • £4,000 penalty for more than three months of renting a property that does not comply with new energy efficiency regulations.

There are a number of changes that a landlord can implement to ensure that their property complies with the new regulations by April 2018.

Firstly, a landlord should be fully aware as to what EPC rating the property currently holds. All tenancy agreements should also be updated to include the new regulations.

Any works that may need undertaking at properties should be conducted as soon as possible. Property maintenance professionals will all be aware of the new regulations and, the closer April 2018 gets, the higher their prices are likely to be.

Check that loft and cavity wall insulation meets required standards. This can have a large impact on your EPC rating and can be improved with funding, if the insulation is under a certain depth measurement.

Ensure that the boiler and central heating system is of optimum standard. An underperforming system could have a seriously negative impact on your EPC rating.

Simple considerations such as changing any halogen lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs, or ensuring your windows are double or triple glazed will increase your property’s chances of falling above an E on the EPC scale.

Perhaps even consider renewable technologies, such as solar panels. While this may be an expensive venture, this is actually a long-term investment, which will all but guarantee that your property meets new regulations.

We’d like to thank www.epcforyou.co.uk for this insight.

New Round of Green Deal Loans for Landlords Launches

Published On: January 20, 2017 at 11:22 am

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Landlords struggling to improve the energy efficiency of their properties ahead of forthcoming Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rule changes will be pleased to learn that a new round of Green Deal loans is launching.

New Round of Green Deal Loans for Landlords Launches

New Round of Green Deal Loans for Landlords Launches

The original Green Deal loans ended in July 2015 after finance was pulled.

This meant that landlords faced funding their own improvements ahead of the April 2018 deadline, by which all rental properties must have a minimum EPC rating of E or face being banned from the sector.

However, the Green Deal loans will be offered again this quarter, after the Government sold its loan book and assets of the Green Deal Finance Company to Greenstone Finance, a renewable energy investor.

A spokesperson for Greenstone Finance explains: “The new ownership will continue to service the existing Green Deal loans and will commence financing of new Green Deal loans in the first quarter of 2017.

“Green Deal financing has the potential to help landlords requested by tenants to install energy efficiency improvements including, as of April 2018, landlords who own properties that fall below the new minimum EPC rating of E.”

The company is yet to release details on how the loan schemes would work and how they can be made available so quickly.

A statement from Greenstone Finance says: “Green Deal loans not only offer competitive interest rates, but are more easily managed, as loans are repaid as part of a customer’s energy bill, which will normally be reduced by the energy savings generated from the measure the loan has financed – a pay-as-you-save scheme.

“Furthermore, the loan remains with the property and is paid by the energy bill payer from time-to-time, ensuring the payments are made by the person who benefits from the energy saving.”

Kilian Pender, the Chief Executive of Greenstone Finance, also claims that the firm will be aiming to boost the number of approved installation companies capable of offering a Green deal plan, and that spot checks, a ratings system and other measures will be useful to expose cowboy operators.

We advise all landlords with properties with EPC ratings below E to take advantage of the new Green Deal loans.

Government Should be Helping Landlords with Energy Efficiency, Says Investor

The Government should be providing buy-to-let landlords with energy efficiency support, warns established investor Peter Armistead, of Armistead Property.

Government Should be Helping Landlords with Energy Efficiency, Says Investor

Government Should be Helping Landlords with Energy Efficiency, Says Investor

New Government plans will require buy-to-let landlords to spend up to £5,000 on energy efficiency improvements.

The new legislation, which will be introduced from 2018, requires landlords to raise the energy efficiency of their rental properties to at least an E rating for new tenancies. Many landlords will be forced to carry out improvements, such as insulation, cavity wall filling and new boilers.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) believes that a total of 330,000 rental properties, typically Victorian and Edwardian homes, will be affected by the new legislation. It also warns that the new “green tax” could push rents even higher.

However, the Government has suggested a £5,000 cap, insisting that most landlords will have to spend no more than £1,800.

But Peter Armistead has urged the Government to provide alternative support to landlords, now that the Green Deal has ended.

“Landlords have been bombarded with new tax measures over the last 12 months, and this is yet another cost that some landlords will have to face. Landlords can’t be expected to absorb all these new taxation measures and just stand back and watch their profits being eroded. Unfortunately, it will be tenants that will have to bear the brunt of these costs through higher rents.”

He continues: “While it is a good move to improve the quality of rented accommodation, there should be another scheme to help landlords make the improvements. The Green Deal gave loans to improve energy efficiency, and these loans were then repaid by tenants, who, as a result of the works, were paying lower bills.

“To help spread the improvement costs, landlords should start upgrading their properties before it becomes mandatory in 2018 for new tenants. Buy-to-let mortgage providers will require borrowers to comply with the regulations, and valuers are likely to amend their criteria in the run-up to 2018, making buy-to-let mortgage applications more difficult.”

Armistead adds: “Most insurance policies require landlords to comply with all relevant statutory requirements. This may mean that it could be more difficult to get insurance unless landlords comply with the forthcoming regulations. Landlords with F and G-rated properties need to manage the upgrading and improving their properties to avoid potential prosecution and fines.”

Landlords, have you started thinking about any energy efficiency improvements your rental property needs?

Petition is launched to try and scrap EPC’s

Published On: July 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

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A new and controversial petition has been launched in Britain, in an attempt to force the Government to remove energy performance certificates in residential properties.

The petition has been started on the back of the UK voting to leave the European Union following last month’s vote.

EPC’s

Energy Performance Certificates, or EPC’s, were introduced in 2007, following the Housing Act 2004. This made it a mandatory requirement for an energy assessment to be made on all properties listed for sale in the UK. Later, this was applied to all rental properties.

This measure was introduced in order to comply with a European Directive. EPC’s have been seen as a bureaucratic consequence of being a member of the EU.

Inspections and subsequent issues of Energy Performance Certificates amount to a cost of roughly £100m to sellers and landlords per year. Protestors argue that the energy rating generated through an EPC is of little assistance to buyers or sellers and has not proven to reduce energy consumption, as was the intention of the European Commission.

Petition is launched to try and scrap Energy Performance Certificates

Petition is launched to try and scrap Energy Performance Certificates

Petition

Russell Quirk, Chief Executive Officer of hybrid estate agent eMoov, has launched the petition to try and get EPC’s scrapped. This, he believes, will streamline the home moving process and save the country millions.

Quirk noted, ‘this petition will be the first shot to be fired by the property industry in achieving swift benefit from the EU exit. I have launched this national petition in order to get rid of EPC’s and the unnecessary cost to the consumer of paying for them. When introduced as part of the failed Home Information Park in 2007 they were widely criticised as pointless and wasteful by the property industry.’[1]

Mr Quirk has contacted Housing Minister Brandon Lewis for his support.

Concluding, Quirk said, ‘thousands of inspectors have had to be trained and then re-trained under adapted legislation, forced upon us by an EU directive that, now that we have voted for Brexit, can be unwound. EPC’s are of no benefit to anyone and have created a bureaucratic burden on home sellers, landlords and estate agents.’[1]

[1] http://www.propertywire.com/news/europe/uk-2016071412144.html

Energy efficiency improvements can be requested from today

Published On: April 1, 2016 at 1:41 pm

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Landlords are reminded that from today, tenants have the right to request that energy efficiency improvements are made in their property.

As part of the changes, landlords will be unable to refuse reasonable changes without good reason. However, tenants must ensure that the improvements come at no cost to their landlord, unless they have agreed to foot some or all of the bill.

Funding

There are concerns that funding will be difficult for a number of tenants, following the abolition of the Green Deal in July last year. It was originally expected that this scheme would provide the majority of funding for this new initiative.

It must be noted that the initiative is separate to legislation stating landlords must improve their energy efficiency standards of their property to an EPC rating of E or above by 2018.

An energy efficient property is highly beneficial for both landlords and tenants, with costs being reduced. What’s more, a recent survey from the National Landlords Association revealed that 35% of tenants considered the energy efficiency of their property to be an important feature when considering a potential home.

Energy efficiency improvements can be requested from today

Energy efficiency improvements can be requested from today

Benefits

Richard Lambert, Chief Executive Officer at the National Landlords Association said, ‘we encourage all landlords to think about how they may benefit from making energy efficiency improvements, as many can be made with little or no upfront cost and can have a positive impact on the lives of tenants, their lettings businesses and the environment in general.’[1]

‘Lower fuel bills and more comfort mean that tenants may be inclined to stay for longer, thus reducing void periods,’ Lambert added.[1]

[1] http://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/landlords/tenants-right-to-request-energy-improvements-comes-into-force-today.html

More information on energy efficiency needed, MP’s claim

Members of the House of Lords and MP’s have called for private rented sector tenants to be given better information on energy efficiency and utility bill charges, before signing a tenancy agreement.

In addition, information on their right to change energy suppliers should also be provided, according to these peers.

Complex

The All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector feel that schemes intended to improve energy efficiency of rental accommodation are too complex. As a result, the Group claims a large number of properties will be unlikely to meet energy efficiency standards required by 2018.

From April 2018, all privately rented homes will be legally required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These changes are causing concern, as they are likely to bring about significant challenges to landlords, with privately rented homes generally being older and harder to maintain.

A report from the Group concludes that landlords, energy companies and local authorities must work harder to identify vulnerable tenants who will benefit most from energy efficiency alterations.

More information on energy efficiency needed, MP's claim

More information on energy efficiency needed, MP’s claim

Solving the problem

To solve these issues, the Group is calling for further incentives to be offered to landlords for them to carry out improvements through being able to offset their fees against rental yields.

Additionally, the report from the Group says tenants should be given more transparent information on the likely cost of their bills before a tenancy begins. Energy companies have also been told to look at bringing in lower-rate tariffs aimed at less-wealthy consumers.

Group chair, Conservative MP Oliver Colvile, said, ‘the Government has set ambitious targets for improvements to the energy efficiency of private rented housing and rightly so. To meet these it is clear that much clearer information is needed for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities and the help available to improve the energy efficiency of the rental housing stock.’[1]

‘Tenants especially need much clearer information on their rights to change energy suppliers whilst energy companies, local authorities and landlords need to do more together to identify vulnerable tenants in need of most help to keep the cost of their Bills down,’ he concluded.[1]

[1] https://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2016/2/mps-want-more-energy-info-given-to-renters-before-tenancies-are-signed