Energy performance ratings will soon dictate whether you can legally put your property up for rent.

The next set of legal changes coming into force in April 2018 affect properties with Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) with ratings of F and G, and will mean it will be illegal to rent them out unless they are brought up to standard.

In our recent survey, a surprising 65% of landlords were unaware of the impending legislation change that could cost them hundreds or thousands of pounds just to be able to put their property up for let.

With the abolition of the Green Deal and without any replacement for it, landlords really need to review their energy efficiency ratings to ensure there won’t be any costly surprises at the next tenancy change.

With unforeseen maintenance costs in the top three of Swanseas landlords’ concerns for the next 12 months, we are trying to raise awareness now, to those landlords who could be affected.

The change and what it means

Under the new legislation, properties that are banded F and G (the lowest energy efficiency bands, and the ones that cost the most for tenants to run) will not be allowed to be let out. A minimum energy performance rating of E will be required to rent a residential property as of 1st April 2018.

This requirement will apply to all tenancies that begin or are renewed on or after 1st April 2018. For existing tenancies, the regulations will not apply until 1st April 2020. The regulations prohibit any landlord from letting any substandard property until the recommended energy efficiency improvements in the EPC have been carried out. Such works only needs to be appropriate, permissible and cost-effective under the regulations but landlords are free to carry out works to an even higher standard.

Landlords that breach these regulations may face a fine of up to £5,000.

If your property has been banded F or G, it will be essential to review what improvements will need to be undertaken sooner rather than later in order to plan how much it will cost to bring the rating up higher.

If improvements have been made to the property since the EPC was first completed, having a new EPC carried out would be worth doing first.

With less than 12 months to go now before the EPC regulations change, we are in the process of contacting landlords who will be affected to encourage them to start planning in advance what measures will need to be undertaken, and also what the cost will be so that they have time to get their finances in order.

If you are concerned you may have a property with F or G band, you can check the national EPC register here: http://epcregister.com

Source: PainSmith Solicitors

Related:Swansea Landlord Survey Results

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