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Landlords Must be Ready for Changes to EPC Rules

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This article was submitted by the RLA

The government has confirmed that changes to EPC rules preventing landlords from renting out inefficient homes WILL be brought in next April.

In a high level meeting the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed to the RLA there will be no movement on the implementation date – which is now just eight months away.

As of April 2018, all PRS homes must have a minimum Energy Performance Certificate rating of E or it will be illegal to rent them out. The rule applies to new tenancies and renewals only, but will be extended to existing tenancies by 2020.

This means any homes rated F or G must be improved or taken off the rental market.

With this in mind the RLA is reminding members they need to tackle any issues within their property sooner rather than later or they may have to take it off the market, with real fears that tradesman will struggle to cope with demand for improvements as the deadline approaches.

The government today said it will be publishing specific guidance for landlords in October to clarify the new rules and their obligations.

Despite the deadline bring so close the government has yet to confirm a cap on the amount of money that landlords must spend on improvements, with an initial figure of £5,000 proposed.

However, it has now confirmed that listed buildings will be exempt, on condition that landlords have done as much as they are permitted to, to make them energy efficient. Landlords will need to register their properties online.

Around 330,000 PRS homes are rated F and G and will be affected by the changes – mainly Victorian and Edwardian homes. In total 18% of PRS homes were built before 1919 prior to the introduction of cavity wall, meaning they are hard to insulate.

David Smith, RLA policy director said:

“The government has made it abundantly clear that there will be no movement on the April 2018 date so landlords MUST comply with the new legislation and the sooner they act the better.”

The RLA will be updating members with further information as soon as it becomes available.