So why is energy efficiency so important to landlords?
Let’s start with the basics – EPCs
Firstly, all properties that are built, sold or let require Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), which include information about the property’s energy use and typical energy costs. They also contain recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.
The EPC gives the property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for ten years.
Landlords that do not get an EPC when they need one (for example, every time they let a property) could be fined – the fixed penalty is £200 per dwelling.
You must also remember that the EPC rating for the property must be included in all marketing material used to sell/let the dwelling.
It is vital to comply with these laws, not only to prevent being fined, but also to help tenants make an informed decision when looking for a property to let.
The new MEES
From 1st April 2018, the Government is bringing in new minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) for private rental homes, making energy efficiency more important to landlords than ever.
It will become illegal from this date onwards for landlords to grant new tenancies (even to existing tenants) on properties with an EPC rating of F or G (the least efficient ratings).
These MEES should improve the energy efficiency of rental properties throughout the country, as some landlords will be required to make improvements to their investments to bring them up to at least an E rating.
You must also be aware that the MEES will apply to all private rental homes (including those with existing tenancies) from 1st April 2020, so don’t delay making any necessary improvements to your properties.
Give yourself – and your tenants – a boost
Not only will making energy efficiency improvements to your properties ensure that you stick to the new laws, they will also help you run a successful lettings business. Here’s how:
• A property with a better EPC rating will appeal to a wider range of tenants and could be crucial in sealing the deal for a prospective renter who has lots of options available to them. This means that you are more likely to receive lots of interest for your property and should experience fewer void periods.
• Tenants that care about the energy efficiency of their home are also more likely to be responsible, and therefore prove to be reliable and trustworthy renters. This could mean that they pay the rent on time and keep your property in a good condition – securing this type of tenant is essential to running a successful lettings business.
• The more energy efficient your property is, the cheaper your tenants’ utility bills will be – and this they’ll thank you for! Having lower bills will make renters more likely to stay in their home, which will mean a longer-term, stable tenancy for you.
If you don’t have the energy efficiency of your rental properties at the forefront of your mind, now is the time to put plans in place to stick to the new (and existing) laws, and help yourself and your tenants at the same time – everyone’s a winner!