Agents and landlords are being warned by a property management agency to prepare for the next round of energy-efficiency regulation changes coming into effect next April.
Lee Baron says agents and landlords should be aware of the introduction of new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards - MEES - which mean the rental properties must achieve a minimum ‘E’ rating and will apply to new leases and renewals from April 1 2018.
From that date it will be illegal to rent a property with a new lease or renewal of an existing lease that falls below a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of an E. The regulations then apply to all existing leases after April 1 2020.
If the property falls below this EPC rating, it would be deemed ‘substandard’ and illegal to rent.
The impact for landlords of having an illegal property are serious, with enforcement by Trading Standards which can impose a fine up to a maximum of £4,000.
“The first step is to ensure properties have a valid and up-to-date EPCs that take account of any changes and improvements made to a building. Once poor performing buildings are identified, landlords can improve their rating through a few ‘quick win’ energy efficiency measures if not already put in place” explains Steven Room, head of residential development at Lee Baron.
“Once landlords have their properties assessed, they can schedule in boosting energy efficiency to coincide with any maintenance and redecoration work at the end of the tenancy. Although there is cost and effort involved, energy efficient properties will have greater appeal to investors and this will reflect in improved values.”
The management firm says there are several cost effective ways in which to boost energy efficiency:
- Most of a building’s heat is lost through poor sealing of doors and windows and through poor insulation in the roof and walls. Checking and renewing or adding new window and door seals can eliminate drafts, while insulation, if missing in attics can be installed or existing insulation thickened to reduce heat loss from roofs. Cavity wall insulation should also be considered, but this can be disruptive to install;
- Installing low energy lighting such as LED spots and/or compact fluorescent lights, which fit into existing light sockets are quick and easy to install;
- The installation of modern compact combi boilers which are considerably more energy efficient should also be considered;
- Consider installing a smart meter. You can see the effect of reducing energy immediately via your smart energy monitor which will help you to make better choices and start saving money. Plus you'll receive accurate bills without submitting a meter reading as your smart meter will send us regular and accurate readings of your energy usage automatically.