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  • Buy-to-Let

    New PRS energy efficiency measures announced



    Property Tribes has received the follow press release from the Government:

    Landlords to be required to install energy efficiency measures in homes with the lowest energy performance ratings

    • Upgrades expected to save tenants an average of £180 a year on their bills
    • Part of the Government’s commitment to eradicating fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions

    Tenants living in some of the coldest homes in England and Wales are set to benefit from amended regulations requiring landlords to install energy efficiency measures, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announced today.

    Since April this year, landlords who own some of the coldest privately rented homes have been required to improve these properties with energy efficiency measures where support is available to cover the costs. The new measures, announced today following a public consultation, will go further requiring landlords to contribute to the cost of upgrades.

    During 2019, properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, the lowest two energy efficiency ratings available, must be made warmer by landlords before they can be put on the rental market for new tenancies. This is expected to cost £1,200 on average and will affect 290,000 properties, which represents around 6% of the overall domestic market.

    These changes are expected to save households an average of £180 a year while reducing carbon emissions and potentially increasing property values with analysis showing the cost to the landlord would be more than offset by the increase in property value.

    Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said:

    “While the vast majority of landlords take great pride in the properties they own, a minority still rent out housing that is difficult to keep warm. Upgrading these homes so they are more energy efficient is one of the most effective ways to tackle fuel poverty and help bring down bills for their tenants, saving them £180 a year.

    “Everyone should be protected against the cold in their own home and today’s announcement will bring this reality closer."

     Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP said,

    “I strongly welcome these new measures, which will help improve the coldest homes, protecting tenants whilst also saving them money.

    “This builds on our on-going work to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords and drive up standards in the Private Rented Sector, including through our reviews of health and safety standards and carbon monoxide alarm requirements in the home.”

    Excess cold is by far the largest preventable cause of death in the private rented sector. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that 30% of avoidable winter deaths are due to people living in cold homes. These can be prevented if people were kept warm during the winter months.

    Most landlords will be unaffected by the changes as their properties are already compliant. Where upgrades are necessary, the average cost to improve an F or G rated property to a band E is expected to be around £1,200 – far below the upper ceiling being brought forward under new regulations. Examples of measures include: installing floor insulation, low energy lighting or increasing loft insulation. If upgrades will cost more than £3,500, landlords will be able to register for an exemption.

    Today’s measures will come into force during 2019 and will affect around 200,000 landlords, some of whom will still have access to a variety of funding schemes. This includes support from the Energy Company Obligation scheme and local grants to bring their properties up to the required standard.

    These measures will help to ensure the housing and energy market works for everyone by bringing greater fairness to energy costs and making renting fair and more transparent for all.

    The announcement comes weeks after the first ever Green GB Week which challenged governments, businesses and civil society to rise to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the stark and sobering risks of climate change to health and global prosperity while the UK moves to a cleaner, greener economy.



    SEE ALSO  -          Green Deal warning: Don't end up with an un-lettable property by 2018!

    UP NEXT -              Landlords call for greater energy efficiency

    DON'T MISS -         Energy efficiency 2018 -  threat to landlords

    NOW WATCH: 

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    So instead of lanlords being able to get an exemption if they can't upgrade at zero cost they will only be able to get one if the cost is more than £3,500? That seems reasonable.

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    I need some more detail on this, as I thought it was in place already with some slightly bizarre exceptions.

    Is this backfilling for properties which are already rented, and the other was for new rentals?

    Or is La Perry doing her usual self-promotion by rhetoric thing?

    All comments and links gratefully received.

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    I must confess that I found this press release a bit confusing as well!

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    I think it applies across all rentals - existing as well as newly on market.

    At a guess the exemptions may largely apply to the many listed buildings with rentals - which may not allow D/G and being without wall cavity can not be insulated that way.

    There are probably thousands of F/G rated rental homes which are below the radar - and many tenants are probably unaware of the new regs - or if they are do not want to risk eviction by asking LL to spend their rent money on upgrading - in fact it would achieve same net outcome if LL reduced rent by the average £3.24 weekly fuel saving flagged in press release.

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    Currently you can apply for an exemption if you can#t improve the property at zero cost, e.g. with a grant, So the government had a choice: increase the money available for the GreenDeal; allow lots of landlords to claim exemptions; or raise the cost limit. It seems they have chosen the latter as I eepected.

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    There used to be an online EPC calc where you could upload own data for an estimate - but I struggle to find it again


    Would be useful for LLs to ascertain which improvements would get them over the line to the lower end of E rating - as I gather low energy light bulbs can make a fair bit of difference (for a property just below the cut off)

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    If you want to do an EPC Calc you can get a version of the RD-SAP software for free from Stroma, and do the building model yourself - which would be OK in approximate terms as an indicator.

    There is a thread about it over on the Buildhub self-build forum, where we talk about this kind of thing:

    https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/3745...questions/

    One key point is that you need it all evidenced, or they make minimal assumptions. Take dated photos of work, leave somewhere unsealed where they can get to feel up your insulation, get a copy of the building regs spec for a recent build if you can etc.

    Another key point is that EPC is not really good enough for the regulatory weight placed on it, but that was all we had so that is what the Lib Dem - Con coalition used. EPC is really best for traditional builds and bog standard newbuild, and underrates properly detailed modern houses as it places no weight on airleakage etc. As rentals are overwhelmingly older stock, it is at least more accurate for us.

    You also need to make sure that your EPC-chap does not miss anything. On my most recent renovation which took the EPC from about an E/F to a C, they missed an extra floating insulated floor, which would have made it a B.

    ML

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    Many thanks for that ML - will take a look at Stroma

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    You need to know that the definition changes every few years.

    It used to be solar that gave you about 10 points. Not sure how it handles non-grid-connected solar, as opposed to FIT solar. Lights give you 1 or 2 points, but surely Low Energy bulbs are a no-brainer anyway these days.

    A bath heat recovery device is one way to get over-the-line these days, but that is IMO the wrong philosophy.

    Proper renovation is about tenant comfort, and halving their heating bills will usually save you more on lack of voids and staff time. I find I can it helps get somewhat higher rentals if I can point out that bills will be £600 a year not £1000-1200 with evidence. That effect will increase.

    F

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    Update: In fact the improved standard of D for 2025 and C for 2030 are not in law yet,but seem to be the intention.

    Have checked on this - it is to do with existing rented which has not yet been upgraded or had a triggering event.

    If they are demanding action then "in 2019" is too quick, as that will cause evictions.

    And this:

    "Most landlords will be unaffected by the changes as their properties are already compliant. "

    is a stupid thing to say because there are incremental changes coming down the track in short order in 2025 to D then 2030 to C.

    They should be driving home that renovations must be thorough, and stop pussyfooting.

    I have been refusing potential investment properties superficially renovated for years now, as they would need to be un-renovated before 2025 or 2030 to sort them out properly.

    ML

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