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New landlord EPC rating laws come into place

Thousands of landlords have been caught out after EPC rating law changes came into place over the weekend.

In a bid to protect the environment and also improve tenant living conditions, a recent change to the law means that landlords must ensure their rental properties have an Energy Performance certificate with at least an E rating. This is the latest in a slew of legal changes that landlords must now comply with.

The law applies to all new lets and re-lets. This means that if your property is on the market at the moment, you’ll need to ensure your property is up to scratch before it is let out. If you don’t, the new EPC rating law could see you hit with a £4,000 fine and then forced to upgrade the property to ensure it is compliant, which could cost thousands more. When the change to the law was announced in 2015, it was estimated that about 400,000 rental properties would be affected. Three years later and after much publicization, ARLA estimated days before the bill became law that around 300,000 properties still had ratings of F or G. The complete lack of action from landlords means there are thousands of rental properties currently being taken off the market until they are brought up to scratch. This is leading to a large loss of income and also affecting potential tenants who are struggling to find a new home.

If you are one of the landlords that has left it late, don’t worry. There are some quick fixes you can put in place to bump your rating up:

  • Lightbulbs: Changing all your lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, can have an important impact on your rating
  • White Goods: Old white goods can often be very expensive to run and also very wasteful. Updating them can be an easy win
  • Insulation: whether this is in your cavity wall or if this is in the attick, good insulation is the best way to improve your EPC rating

As of the 1st of April, it became illegal to enter into a new let or renew a tenancy. However, for landlords that allow their tenants to remain in the property on a periodic basis after their initial contract, a final date of April 2020 has been set to meet the minimum rating of E.

The new EPC rating law is particularly important considering that if a landlord cannot prove that the tenant was shown the EPC on move-in, any section 21 notices will be classed as invalid by a court.

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