Just as COP26 is drawing to a close, so one of the lettings industry’s leading legal voices is warning that the next change proposed to EPC requirements will affect almost half of the UK’s entire buy to let sector.
Since April last year landlords can no longer let a property with an EPC rating of F and G, unless they have a valid exemption in place.
The government propose to raise this to minimum rating of C by 2028 for all private tenancies and all home by 2035 - and it is this latest proposal that is the subject of controversy.
David Smith, real estate partner at JMW Solicitors and a prominent legal representative fighting the corner for landlords, says: “Only good quality new-build properties or those which have had significant upgrades are likely to reach EPC band C.
“This will be a big change. Moving to band E only affected around 200,000 of the least efficient properties based on government figures. Moving to a band C will affect well over two million properties, approaching half the buy to let sector depending on whose figures you prefer.”
He continues: “The approach taken by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in their proposal is difficult to understand as it fails to take into consideration the reality of properties in the UK.
“There are some new build properties which do not meet the new requirement of a band C EPC and older properties which will never be able to meet it, regardless of the owners’ best efforts and intentions.
“There is also the question of how to manage the removal of properties from the sector. The BEIS proposals do not recognise that energy inefficiency is unequally distributed.
“For example, rural areas often have older properties with lower levels of energy efficiency which are also harder to upgrade. There is a risk that there will be drastic losses of private rented property in specific parts of the country with nothing available to replace it.”