Energy Performance Certificates: More Than Just Red Tape
Lisa Sollors, from Stone Rowe Brewer’s Teddington office, looks into the increasing importance of your home’s Energy Performance Certificate rating when moving.
Now that Winter is almost upon us and the nights are drawing in, many of us will be bracing ourselves for higher heating bills and perhaps wondering if there is more we can do to make our homes energy efficient.
Homeowners who have bought or sold property in recent years will probably be familiar with some of the Government initiatives and regulations relating to energy efficiency and the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is one of the more prominent of these. EPCs are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented –although there are some exceptions, notably listed buildings are exempt from the requirement.
I know that some of my clients feel that the EPC is just another bit of red tape of little relevance to their sale or purchase but equally, I have other clients who are keen to ascertain the energy performance of their home and want to do all that they can to increase energy efficiency. Whatever your view, EPCs will be taking on an increased importance over the next year or two as we head towards further changes that will be implemented in 2018.
The Energy Act 2011 contains a number of provisions that affect owners and occupiers of property but perhaps the most significant is that which will make it unlawful from 1 April 2018 to let a residential or commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G – the two lowest ratings on the EPC ranking of A-G. The regulations will come into effect for new lets from 1 April 2018 and for existing tenancies from 1 April 2020. Unless there is an applicable exemption, it will be an unlawful act to rent a property without a minimum E rating. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
With this in mind, those purchasing a property with a view to renting it will need to consider the EPC rating for the property carefully and, in the event the property has a low rating, they would be wise to fully assess the costs and benefits of improving energy efficiency to reach the required standard. If you are a landlord who already owns and rents property that will not reach the required E rating and you have not yet taken steps, perhaps now is a good time. April 2018 will come around all too soon and I am sure no one wants to be faced with a £4,000 penalty for an unlawful rental!
Unfortunately the Government is no longer funding the Green Deal. This was their flagship initiative launched in 2013 which saw cashbacks paid to homeowners who installed measures such as a new boiler or cavity wall insulation. Blaming a low take up, funding has now been withdrawn. Unless they are able to secure funding from a provider who is administering their own scheme, a homeowner will need to find the cash to make the necessary improvements. All the more reason to read your EPC and take note of the contents!
For more information, please contact Lisa by calling 020 8977 8621 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org