Are you prepared for the energy efficiency clampdown on buy-to-let landlords?

Avoid a ban on letting and a massive fine

Energy efficiency is on a collision course with buy-to-let landlords in England and Wales. If you aren’t prepared when the new energy efficiency laws come into force, you could face hefty fines and find yourself banned from leasing your property.

In this article, we offer advice on how to meet the energy efficiency rating required by each property let to tenants.

What are the energy efficiency laws for landlords?

From April 1st , 2018, any new let or tenancy renewal in the private rented sector will need to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. You’ll need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) confirming this.

If you let a property without the EPC, you could face a fine of up to £4,000 as well as banned from letting the property until it has the required energy efficiency rating. The regulations cover houses and flats with a current EPC no more than 10 years old. All properties will become subject to this new law from 1st April 2020.

The local authority where your buy-to-let property is located is responsible for enforcing these regulations and can issue a compliance notice. If you receive a compliance notice, you’ll need to provide further information as requested to confirm compliance. If you don’t provide this information, or it is deemed to be insufficient, you could receive a penalty notice from the local authority. While the single largest penalty that can be applied is £4,000, the cumulative maximum is £5,000.

Can you appeal a penalty notice?

Yes, because it has been issued in error, or it does not comply with the regulations or was inappropriately issued.

How to increase the energy efficiency of your buy-to-let property

If you have invested in new build property, it will almost certainly comply with the EPC rating requirement. However, older properties could need some improvement work to bring them up to standard. Here are a few strategies that you can employ to increase the energy rating of your older investment properties:

Insulate and block out draughts

Homes lose most of their heat through their roofs, walls, and gaps where doors and windows meet their frames. Here’s what to do to minimise this energy loss:

  • Make sure that draught excluder is fixed around doors and windows, and that it is fit for purpose.
  • Check in the attic space, and fix insulation where it is missing or insufficiently thick.
  • You should also consider cavity wall insulation.

Update the central heating

Old boilers are less energy efficient than modern combi boilers. Consider the costs and energy efficiency benefits of replacing an old boiler with a compact combi boiler.

Switch on to energy efficient lighting

Low energy lightbulbs – LED or fluorescent lights, for example – can be easily fitted and are becoming cheaper to buy.

Be smart with a smart meter

A smart energy meter helps the tenant realise when it is cheapest to run electric and gas appliances. Bills will be more accurate, too.

Other improvements that may be required

The four energy efficiency measures are usually enough for your property to become EPC compliant. However, there are plenty of other improvements needed and should be considered. The following list covers most of these:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Thermostat room heaters
  • Solid wall insulation (internal or external)
  • Cylinder thermostats
  • Duct insulation
  • Energy efficient showers
  • Energy efficient taps
  • Fan-assisted replacement storage heaters
  • Flue gas recovery devices
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Heating controls (for wet central heating systems and warm air systems)
  • Air conditioning controls
  • Hot water controls
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Pipework insulation
  • Gas-fired condensing boilers
  • Double glazing
  • Solar water heating
  • Solar blind, shutters and shading devices
  • Transpired solar collectors
  • Underfloor heating
  • Underfloor insulation

Contact Ezytrac today on  +44  1522  503  717. We can discuss the strategies used by landlords like you to prepare for when the new law comes into force. If you have any doubt whether they apply to your property, we’ll be able to confirm yes or no.

Yours in effortless property management,

Brett Alegre-Wood MARLA MNAEA

About the Author:

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Ezytrac. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids. Brett holds both the Level 3 Property Mark Qualifications for Property Sales and Property Lettings and Management.