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If you are a private landlord in England or Wales then you need to be aware of the new ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards’ legislation that the current UK Government has seen passed into law.

Currently, all properties are assessed for their energy efficiency. This results in the award of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC is needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented.

Via the EPC procedure, a property will be graded into one of six possible bands. Properties that are deemed the most energy-efficient are placed in band ‘A’, while properties that are deemed the least energy-efficient are placed in band ‘G’. An EPC is valid for a property for a decade.

Currently, an EPC is only used to advise potential home owners and renters on the energy efficiency of the property they are thinking of buying, or renting. However, in accordance with The Energy Act 2011, by April 1 2018 all rented properties must possess an EPC rating of at least ‘E’. If a property is assessed and is given an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’, then it cannot legally be rented out.

In addition, from April 2016 tenants who have let properties with EPC ratings of ‘F’ and ‘G’ can request reasonable improvements to the energy efficiency standards of the property they are letting. Such requests cannot be instantly refused by a landlord, and fines may be levied if the tenant’s requests are overlooked.

How Energy Efficiency is calculated

There are a number of aspects of a property that are considered when its EPC rating is being assessed:

  • how old the property is
  • whether the property has been extended, and when
  • if the property is double glazed
  • when hot water cylinders and boiler were installed
  • whether the walls have cavity, internal or external insulation
  • the location of room thermostats
  • the locations of energy meters
  • the type of heating used

Depending on these and other factors, a property is given a score of one to one hundred. Properties that score ninety-two or more are given an EPC rating of ‘A’. Properties that score less than thirty-nine are given a rating of ‘F’, and those that score twenty or less are given a rating of ‘G’.

How landlords can improve the energy efficiency of their properties

Every EPC certificate contains information about how a property’s energy-efficiency can be improved. Some of the most common ways to improve energy efficiency are as follows:

  • Replace old, draughty windows with replacement frames and glazing
  • Install double or triple glazing, if not already installed
  • Improve the property’s insulation
  • Replace old boilers and heating systems with newer, more efficient models
  • Install energy-efficient lighting
  • Use renewable technologies, such as solar

This legislation is thought likely to be followed by more regulations over the next two decades. The Government has repeatedly stated its intention to have all homes sufficiently energy efficient to be awarded an EPC rating of ‘C’ by 2030.

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