Landlords urged to prepare for new energy-efficiency rules
Property landlords have been encouraged to make sure their portfolios comply with forthcoming energy-efficiency regulations.
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Regulations are being implemented on April 1st next year and mean landlords will be penalised if their homes do not meet certain standards.
As a result, many could need to invest in upgrades such as new cavity wall insulation and solar panels in order to escape these charges.
Liz Brady, a partner at law firm Furley Page, commented: "Prudent landlords should be preparing for the change now."
Under the new system, landlords cannot grant new leases of properties if they have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band rating of F or G.
"EPCs last for ten years and were first carried out in 2008," Ms Brady commented.
"Those early EPCs are due for renewal on new lettings in 2018. Landlords may well consider that they are 'safe' from the penalties of the new regulations as their early EPCs showed a band rating of D or E, so they may expect any renewed EPC to be similar, provided no negative alterations to the building have been made in the intervening years."
Ms Brady stated that while this may be the case, homes with original band ratings of D or E will be at risk.
Furthermore, she noted that the EPC rating could fall to bands F or G on a new inspection, since the software used to assess energy-efficiency is more accurate, while the Building Regulations are more rigorous.
Ms Brady said many landlords are therefore actively reviewing their property portfolios and making sure energy assessments are carried out ahead of time.
This means that if improved ratings are needed, they can carry out work to improve the energy-efficiency of their properties and ensure they can be reassessed.