Rural landlords are being urged to act now and plan upgrading of properties to meet EPC ratings ahead of more stringent regulation in 2016.
The Landed Estates and Rural Business Group of Chartered Accountant Saffery Champness in Harrogate has said that current regulations for Energy Performance Certificates are a precursor to far tougher measures coming down the pipe.
Following legislation in April 2012 all commercial and residential properties available for sale or rent in the UK have had to have an EPC showing how costly that property is to heat and light, CO2 emissions, and improvements that would improve energy performance.
Rules vary between England and Wales, and Scotland – for example in Scotland there is no exemption for listed buildings whereas there is in England and Wales.
But conditions of the EPC are set to become more stringent warned Alison Robinson, head of renewable at Saffery Champness in Harrogate.
Alison Robinson said:
While it makes good sense to have a property that performs well energy-wise, and to make improvements that better that performance, from 2016 a tenant will be entitled to ask a landlord to carry out the measures recommended on the EPC and the landlord will be legally obliged to do so, and from 2018 it will be illegal to let a property that has an EPC rating below Band E.
“These changes may be far ahead. However, for many landlords of rural properties particularly, upgrading may be challenging – for example installation of new windows, or double glazing, lack of cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and so on. Also, the measures recommended on an EPC may not necessarily be eligible as a tax deductible expenses against rental income.
“Forward planning is vital, and a programme of works to bring properties up to the required levels before 2016 is highly recommended in order to safeguard rental income.
“Moreover, better performing properties should command higher rentals – and conversely lower rated properties may have reduced rental values, or greater susceptibility to voids.”
One measure put in place by Government to assist with these improvements is the Green Deal.
Alison Robinson added: “Landlords should be looking at this option and talking to their tenants now about the Green Deal, as they will need their permission to carry out improvements under this scheme. Where a tenant applies to have work done under the Green Deal they will require to have their landlord’s consent.”