Landlords could still be vulnerable to EPC fines

Following new energy performance certificate standards implemented last year for thousands of rental properties, there is still a considerable amount of landlords up and down the country in the position of facing the wrath of a fine for breaking these new laws.

Many of the properties affected by the new standards, plenty of which include HMOs and older properties, are still yet to have the works carried out to abide by the new laws set in place in 2018.

The remarkable scale of the mountain that needs to be climbed in order to amend the standard of these properties in the required time-scale is already large enough, let alone without the knowledge, funds or guidance to do so. This means that in theory, there are still many landlords vulnerable to punitive fines down to the new EPC laws.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 established a minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented properties in England and Wales.

From April 2018, landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic property in England or Wales must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before permitting new tenancies to be carried out in their properties, be it renewals or new tenancies entirely.

As of 1 April 2020, these new requirements will apply to all private rented properties in England and Wales, regardless of whether there has been a new tenancy or an existing one. From 1 April 2023 this also applies for all non-domestic properties.

Landlords could therefore be liable to large fines, many of them unaware that they are breaking the law. With all the other changes that’s been going on around residential lettings, landlords could perhaps be forgiven for not keeping up to these challenges, but that’s absolutely no excuse in law.

Even the landlords who have taken the initiative or our guidance here at Abode to make sure they comply with the law could find themselves at odds with the rules through no fault of their own.

The will of the Government to professionalise the industry by improving the energy efficiency of the country’s rental property stock is welcomed. However, there is the need to be tempered by the practicalities of ensuring consistent standards as well as the timescales involved in bringing the thousands of older properties up to the required standard.

There’s no doubt that landlords need to take the matter seriously and act upon it if they haven’t done so already. Improving energy efficiency is beneficial to both tenants and the environment, whilst ensuring they are fully covered and avoid facing the fines. EPCs should be carried out by reputable and qualified EPC survey assessors.

If you’re unsure of how to act upon improving your energy efficiency of your rental properties or are looking for cost effective methods of doing so, drop us a call on 0161 883 2525.

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