The Residential Landlords’ Association has been told in no uncertain terms by the government that changes to Energy Performance Certificate scheduled for April 2018 will not be delayed - and the lettings sector should prepare now.
The government will be publishing detailed guidelines in October to clarify the new rules and the obligations of agents, landlords and others. This is expected to include news on a possible cap on improvements - an initial figure of £5,000 has been discussed, but not yet confirmed.
The news came when RLA executives met senior officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; the officials confirmed that from eight months time all privately let properties must by law have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E.
The rule applies to new tenancies and renewals only, but will be extended to existing tenancies by 2020. The association says it has now confirmed that listed buildings will be exempt, on condition that landlords have done as much as they are permitted to, to make them energy efficient.
In a note about the meeting on its website the RLA says there are “real fears” that tradesmen may struggle to meet demand for work on mainstream properties close to the deadline next spring - and it suggests landlords may want to act sooner than later to upgrade their properties.
It is estimated that 330,000 privately rented properties are rated F and G and will be affected by the changes. These are mostly Victorian and Edwardian homes; the RLA says around 18 per cent of rented homes were built before 1919 prior to the introduction of cavity wall, meaning they are harder to insulate.