The proposed changes to EPC regulations have alarmed landlords in England and Wales. The government has announced that all landlords must bring up their property's EPC to a minimum rating of C before the proposed deadline of 2025 or face a hefty fine.
Will this happen by the proposed date? Rob Smith, Managing Director for Hunters, is doubtful. “We believe the updates are unlikely to take effect by 2025. Even the rumoured long stop date of 2028 seems ambitious.”
Here are three reasons why landlords shouldn’t worry about the changes just yet.
1. EPC violations are tricky to enforce
One of the key issues is that of enforcement. Currently there are around 4.4m properties in the private rented sector but, to date, only 50 prosecutions have been made for EPC breaches. These have been where an EPC was never in place, or as part of another prosecution.
2. It's likely landlords have already made improvements
An EPC has a lifespan of 10 years and during this time, landlords will probably have already made energy efficiency improvements which would raise their rating. These could be something as small as switching to LED bulbs, updating appliances or adding loft or roof insulation.
The way ratings are assessed has changed as well. An EPC only needs to be valid at the commencement of marketing of a property. However, if your EPC has expired, it may be worth commissioning a new one.
3. The Government’s timetable is incomplete
It’s important to note that the only thing on the Government’s timetable is to respond to the consultation by the end of the year. This would mean that any changes to the current guidance may be delayed and not revisited this side of the next general election.
Should I sell my rental property ahead of these changes?
Rob Smith doesn’t think so. “Selling your investment now, at a time when rents are at their highest and you’ve the best choice of tenants, is unnecessary.”
“While we absolutely support improvements to energy efficiency for rental properties, there is no reason to panic. Additionally, new grounds 1 & 1A under section 8 allow landlords to seek possession should they wish to sell or should they or a family member wish to reoccupy the premises. This could be construed as a ‘no fault’ eviction.”
For help with improving your EPC rating, get in touch with your local branch today.