The Government are shaking up the private rental sector once more, with a change in energy efficiency standards for landlords that are due to land in April 2018. Government figures suggest that 1 in 10 properties may fail these regulations and be unlettable. Are you one of them? Here’s how to avoid the risk.
Make your improvements now
Many estate agents are warning landlords not to become complacent and wait until the efficiency standards date looms nearer. The standards for meeting energy standards – even the minimum – change often, and landlords should review how efficient their properties are, before they find that they’re both in breach of current standards and their tenancy agreement, where they likely agreed to keep the property safe and up to the minimum of British housing standards.
Don’t pass the cost on to tenants
Often in these situations, landlords will try and offset the cost of new regulations on to their tenants. This is a massive no-no for a couple of reasons: firstly, it will sour your relationship with your tenants (especially if they’re savvy readers of informative online blogs), and secondly, if landlords carry out works and improve their properties, they’ll improve the value of their property and gain potential equity. As a bonus, properly insulating a building will pass savings on to your tenants too – who’ll appreciate it and stay loyal to you.
“It’s fine” equals a fine
If you hang around and wait too long to improve your property and bring it up to the legal standard, there could be a nasty surprise around the corner. Civil penalties for non-compliance from local authorities will rack up to £4000, not to mention a fine of £200 for an invalid EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and may leave you unable to serve a Section 21 notice – meaning you’ll have a loss of income while your property is in a legal stranglehold. How much is that compared to improved insulation and white goods?
Talk to energy suppliers
One of the biggest things to come out of a competing energy market is that to gain your business as a customer, energy suppliers provide advice on how to save energy and lower your monthly bills. This means that there’s a vast array of information out there from leading energy companies on how homeowners – and landlords – can save energy. Smart meters can help your tenants see their own energy costs and tell you as landlord where you need to make future improvements.
Find the weakest energy loss points
Having a ‘leak’ in your insulation is the most common fault of houses with high energy emissions. Checking your insulation, especially in the loft and between cavity walls, can eliminate drafts and offers protection against two of the worst places houses lose heat. LED lighting is also a smart move to improve the energy burn in your property.
Keep up to date with news and regulations
It’s imperative for landlords to keep on top of upcoming legislation changes that could affect them. Keep reading the iLet blog regularly for insight, news, and updates in the lettings industry, from Northampton and across the UK.