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Agents may be banned from advertising properties with poor EPCs

A new proposal from the government says agents and portals will be banned from advertising rental properties with non-compliant Energy Performance Certificates.

The idea comes from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in a consultation document released as part of a government initiatives to de-carbonise buildings in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.

It wants EPCs on private rental properties to be Band C or above by 2025 for new tenancies, and by 2028 for all tenancies. 


When the BEIS is looking at enforcement, it sees agents as a possible route, and the consultation document says:

“Around 43% of landlords use a letting agent to either let or let and manage a property for them. In addition, online property platforms (which are generally not considered to be letting agents) play an increasingly important role in the lettings process.

“Legislation placing requirements on letting agents is already in place. This includes provisions contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (hereafter ‘EPB Regulations’) and in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Specifically:

"- EPB Regulations: a letting agent must secure an EPC commissioned for the building and, where a property is rented, a letting agent must ensure that the EPC rating is stated on any rental advertisement in commercial media. An agent in breach of the EPB Regulations may be subject to a penalty charge of £200.

"- Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008: letting agents who state inaccurate EPC ratings may be in breach of these Regulations.

" The Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014: dictates that all letting agents join one of two government approved redress schemes. If the letting agent fails to provide an EPC or offers a property without one, they may be in breach of the respective codes of practice and thus in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.”

In addition, the proposal goes on to say that while portals are not agencies, they can be a means of enforcing higher energy efficiency. The document says:

“Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, online platforms do not meet the definition of a letting agent because they carry out the functions of advertising, disseminating information and bringing people together, none of which qualify as letting agency work. If a property is advertised on an online platform without an EPC, or with an inaccurate EPC, responsibility for compliance with the EPB Regulations falls either to the ‘relevant person’ or ‘person acting on behalf of the relevant person’ (regulation 11(2)) of the EPB Regulations).

“The wording of the EPB Regulations suggests that any person whom the landlord formally appoints (probably with payment for doing so) to act on their behalf in the matter of advertising would be under the same legal duty as the landlord to ensure that the energy performance rating of the building, as expressed in the energy performance certificate, is stated in any advertisement of the sale or rental in commercial media. It would seem that this duty would apply to advertising on any commercial media, not just online platforms.

“Whilst the above legislative levers may cover letting agents to some extent, government considers that a specific requirement on letting agents and online property platforms not to advertise or let properties that do not comply with the PRS Regulations would significantly strengthen and simplify the existing penalty regime, and encourage greater compliance overall. It would also help address confusion around which set of regulations applies depending on what type of online property platform is considered, or whether a letting agent may be in breach.”

The bulk of the BEIS consultation document outlines the ever-stricter energy targets required of the PRS in the next decade in order to:

- decrease bills for low income and vulnerable tenants, in support of the government’s statutory fuel poverty target;

- increase the quality, value and desirability of landlords’ assets;

- reduce energy bills for tenants and ensure warmer homes;

- support investment in the domestic retrofit supply chain across England and Wales;

- provide greater energy security through lower energy demand on the grid and reduced fuel imports.

Although there are some options in the 48-page document, the government makes clear that its “preferred policy scenario for improving the energy performance of privately rented homes” consists of four elements:

- raising the energy performance standard to Energy Performance Certificate energy efficiency rating Band C;

- achieving the improvements for new tenancies from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028;

- increasing the maximum investment amount, resulting in an average per-property spend of £4,700 under a £10,000 cap;

- introducing what government calls a ‘fabric first’ approach to energy performance improvements (this is improving the performance of the materials that make up the building fabric itself, before considering the use of mechanical systems).

You can see the consultation document here, with details of how to respond

The closing deadline is 11.45pm on December 30, while the government says it will respond to comments next spring.

  • Mia M

    This is completely and utterly insane. So many buildings cannot posibly be brought to band C simply because anything that you can insulate/replace/update has already been done. What are they going to do with the period properties? Demolish them? It will again add to the list of things landlords will have to think of before even considering investing in the sector, more of the landlords will be selling and rents will ultimately have to go up. Great idea!


    Exactly. One of my properties is listed and could never reach a C. More RAP (with a silent C) from this government.

    Matthew Payne

    If a property is more modern with a D or E, and the EPC was done from 2008 until about 2015, for £35 its worth getting a new one to see if the result is different. For the first few years, the standards of inspections was pretty poor. Even today, many people dont read their EPC and accept the grade they are given. Many assumptions are still made on apppointments about insulation and if you are not there to inform or show them, they will simply mark it down as absent. There will be tens of thousands of Ds, Es, Fs, Gs that are actually a lot higher in reality.

    If a property is listed, you can pay the council to come and inspect to demonstrate it cannot get to a C without huge expense, and they will give you a letter which then allows you to register for exemption. Likewise, on any property, if you cannot get it to the required standard which is currently E, for £3500, you can get exemption, provided you do as much as you can with that sum. £3500 doesnt go very far, so I guess this will give most older and bigger properties a get out of jail free card anyway.

  • icon

    If you can't afford to do them up so they need to be sold to people that can. Their value may be less to those who wish to let them but those wishing to live there will keep the value up. They just need to make more grants available.

    Barry X

    Eh? That's not a very coherent OR sensible comment! What planet are YOU on self-styled "big mac"?

    - mind you, I see from a quick glance through your posts you might be some sort of landlord in Wales, so I guess you have a lot to put up with and so am sympathetic if its driving you a bit bonkers.

  • Barry X

    Firstly I should explain that I'm 100% all-in-favour of any measures that GENUINELY tackle "fuel poverty".

    I've long been aware of and concerned by fuel poverty - something that the vast majority of "climate activists" know and care absolutely nothing about. Properly analysed with an open mind, cutting through the many layers of obfiscation, mystification and downright lies, will eventually reveal - conclusively I promise you - that one of the REAL and MAIN causes of fuel poverty is actually the religion and politics of "Climate Change" itself!

    It's complicated but when you start to consider and properly account for the various "climate surcharges" and hidden costs to everyone via subsidies in fuel tariffs for otherwise totally unviable and inefficient "green energy" and all the other hidden costs too, such as for full-life-cycle cost of unnecessarily expensive boiler replacements (cost inflated to pay for all the "efficiency improvements" required by ill-conceived and largely dishonest "green legislation" rushed through, and also the greatly reduced serviceable lives of these new "improved" boilers.... typically down from 20 - 30 years for simpler ones with less sensors and plastic, to around only 6 - 11 years now.... and guess where all the old boilers go?)..... plus all the "green" racketeering and of course "green taxes" on top (the government takes a LOT of money from us in the pretence of using it to "save the planet").... taking all of that into account you'll find where all paying around TWICE AS MUCH (roughly) for our gas and electricity!!!

    Imagine if I had a magic wand and was able to get rid of all that nonsense and suddenly energy prices DROPPED 50%? In a single step most fuel poverty would end and the rest could easily be dealt with!

    So it wasn't bringing in laws to force landlords to pay to brick-up windows and reduce room sizes to the minimum allowed (more daft legislation) in order to creep the arbitary and rigged SAP calculations for the EPC rating from an average D to a superior C that was going to "reduce fuel poverty" - no, provided the property was reasonable (an E or D), it was actually all down to the COST OF FULE itself!

    Therefore now having the cheek to try and drag fuel poverty into the growing list of increasingly tenuous justifications for yet more "climate" legislation is truly and exceptionally hypocritical. Think about it - "climate" rules, legislation, taxes, levies etc cause fuel poverty so they want us to feel obliged to accept MORE of the same in order to tackle it when in reality MORE will lead to MORE!

    Funnily enough, despite all the twisted efforts to link "extreme weather events" to manmade "climate change" (caused by "carbon emissions", haha) , and so blame all resulting deaths on it too, I don't think in reality anyone has actually died from "global warming" a.k.a. "climate change" due to human activity (but solar activity etc that actually does make these things happen, sure).

    In Europe it's COLD, and being unable to afford to deal with it (because fuel costs way-too much), that has been killing people - or at least causing them chronic misery and premature deaths - NOT "climate change".

    But getting back to the boring politics and dreary "consultation" documents of the BEIS .... notice how they claim their push to outlaw renting properties with an EPC of less than C is all motivated by a desire to ""increase the quality, value and desirability of landlords’ assets". Er, surely they can see that the REAL EFFECT and CONSEQUENCE of their misguided fantasy would be to REDUCE TENANT CHOICE by BLIGHTING landlord's "assets" and encouraging (maybe even forcing) them to sell and/or give up even being landlords?

    Lets not forget that the AVERAGE / NORMAL rating for an ordinary house in the UK is actually a D.... so this fantasy of "greens" everywhere, including the BEIS is to make it AGAINST THE LAW to rent an AVERAGE PROPERTY!!!!!!!! Think about that for a moment.... tenants will only be allowed to rent EXCEPTIONAL properties, such as new builds with tiny windows and limited air circulations.... and guess what that would do to rents? Yes, up-up-up.... and then the increasingly soviet-socialist governments response will be to bring in rent controls (they're coming anyhow - anyone with nouse can see that).... BRILLIANT!

    Meanwhile back here on earth..... since April this year the minimum EPC for rental properties (all tenancies including existing ones unless you can creatively claim one of the exemptions) was stepped up to E (not D)..... surely, in the unlikely event these silly people had any logic (they don't seem to)... the next step would be to creep up to a D - which will ONLY (which I say with deep irony, note) outlaw about 35% - 40% of ALL property in the uk from the PRS?

    Call me a cynic if you like (I thrive off flattery - not really, just joking) but probably one of the REAL MOTIVES behind totally unreasonable, unjustified measures like this is to try and make it IMPOSSIBLE for many landlords TO COMPLY then heavily FINE and PENALISE THEM (US) TO DEATH while dumb "generation rent" tenants cheer without realising it will make them all homeless one day (which they deserve).

    Meanwhile they can DREAM about one day (just after the 2nd Coming perhaps) helping us "increase the quality, value and desirability of our assets" (because they are so kind and gracious, and know that we can't think for ourselves and without them we'd be incapable of anything) by forcing us to give up renting any of our "assets" that are a mere average D.

    As I've been saying/implying for several years.... if you're a landlord and still can't see the writing on the wall then god help you!

    • 01 October 2020 20:30 PM

    You are of course completely correct in everything you state.

    But it simply doesn't matter to the PTB.
    They simply don't care if LL are forced out of business due to the impossibility of complying with EPC. C status in a few years time.

    Unfortunately world policy is being driven by that Greta thing; a mentally defective human being!!

    She should be in a nuthouse not directing world policy.

    People the world over surely understand that over the aeons the climate changes.
    But such climate change as is occurring now is NOT man made climate change.
    It is just the bloody weather...........it changes FFS!!

    They were skating on the Thames in the 1600 hundreds.

    But like it or not LL are forced to comply with these ridiculous EPC requirements.
    I always believed that not having decent heating etc would put off prospective tenants.
    So the LL improves amenities to attract paying customers.
    If someone wishes to occupy a property with none of these facilities surely that is THEIR choice!

    But we are we are and so LL have to accept the costs of becoming compliant or sell up.

    LA in particular should be very concerned over their LL clients who won't be C status.
    They should motivate the LL to get things sorted.
    If the LL doesn't do so then that property is lost to the PRS and that means no business via that property for a LA!!

    So LA you need to give LL a kick up the proverbial arse.
    If you don't then watch substantial chunks of your business disappear!

  • Darcy Pace

    As an EPC provider

    I have a listed building build in 1750 and I scores a B, It's easy when you know how !
    Get a decent energy assessor and get advice on how to maximize the score pay for a Draft EPC for the "as is" score then tweek it in draft form till it scores what you want then do the work and once it's done get him to issue the legal document, you will have to pay for 2 visits (£80 X 2) but it's cheaper then putting in the wrong heating system or insulation that doesnt improve the score and scoring low !

    The purpose of an EPC is not to fail buildings it's to encourage before energy efficiency .

    Also the EPC is a non invasive inspection but if the owner is willing to make inspection holes insulation that is not normally visible can be recorded this help especially on older properties which have a room within the roof.

    An energy assessor who is
    Always happy to help with a can do attitude




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