The new government rules mean that landlords and letting agents must ensure an Energy Performance Certificate, (EPC), has been commissioned before the marketing of their property can begin.
UK Trading Standards officials will be given powers to check if landlords and lettings agents have conformed. The front page of the EPC must also be included on any and all marketing particulars for the property, be that online or otherwise.
The design of the EPC has been improved to make it easier to understand and details about energy costs and how to improve them are set to be made clearer.
There has already been a great deal of debate as to how much notice new tenants or even property buyers actually take of EPC’s, with very few tenancies or residential property purchases falling through because of the poor energy efficiency of the rental property in question.
Tenants tend to prioritise location, size and décor above the energy efficiency of a rental property. However, UK landlords should be aware that the level of transparency required for the energy rating of a property will now enable tenants to make informed decisions before tenant referencing begins or even before they make an appointment to initially view the property.
Therefore, if a property is considered inefficient it must be publicised as ‘not efficient’ and that could be enough to put tenants off.
With the increasing cost of living, tenants may become wary about the cost of utility bills in a less environmentally friendly rental property.
It would be wise move for landlords with older properties or those who may have concerns over the energy efficiency of their rental properties, to look at making changes which could improve the overall energy efficiency of their rental properties. With impending restrictions on the letting of poorly inefficient properties, landlords could face the choice of either upgrading their energy efficiency of their rental property or removing it from the private rented sector and housing rental market altogether
Many local authorities have already been working closely with a variety of energy suppliers, such as British Gas, to provide home insulation grants and free energy advice to tenants in receipt of housing benefit.
Landlords and lettings agents who fail to comply with the new EPC legislation could face fines of up to £200 for residential rental properties and £5,000 for commercial premises.
The net effect of the changes will bring an overall improvement in the energy efficiency and consequently the quality of properties in the UK private rented sector, (PRS).