This week’s cold snap is a firm reminder of the importance of energy efficiency, where we hear press reports of tenants afraid to turn the heating on because of excessive bills.
Landlords now have less than one month to make sure their properties comply with the Government’s new energy efficiency rules for rented properties, which comes into force on 1st April. From that date, all new lets (including renewals) must be minimum EPC rated E.
David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark said that despite many landlords having improved their properties, there are still a lot of properties out there which fail to meet the new standard:
“Landlords have been responding to tenants’ demands for better quality and better insulated homes over the last few years; the number of properties which are EPC rated F or G has fallen from around 700,000 in 2012, to 300,000 today. However, there are still a lot which don’t meet the standards.
“After the deadline passes at the end of this month, landlords face fines of up to £4,000 for flouting the law, or losing money on empty properties which can’t be let until they meet the standards. This will also have implications on the wider rental market, which is in the midst of a serious supply crisis. There are Green Deal finance plans available and you can contact companies such as Propertymark’s industry supplier ECO-Energi to find out how to upgrade your property for a low cost. For any landlords who haven’t yet started to upgrade their properties, now is the time to act – and quickly.”
Estate agents using AgentPro are able to demonstrate easily whether properties are compliant, and Managing Director, Gareth John, says many of his clients are finding this feature useful as tenants are more aware of energy efficiency than ever before.
“Tenants are definitely more discerning these days. Estate agents using AgentPro tell us that prospective tenants want to know the costs of running a property, not just the rent, so apart from compliance, there are many reasons for landlords to ensure their properties are energy efficient. The ability to demonstrate this so easily on AgentPro is definitely one of the features estate and lettings agents like about our software. However, from 1 April, tenants won’t be just choosing more efficient properties – the ones which don’t comply will need to be taken off the market. We are advising letting agencies who haven’t notified their landlords about the issue to do so as a matter of urgency.”