To many prospective Tameside tenants, the coloured bars associated with each property in its huge plethora of paperwork may not mean much. Now these weren’t brought in to use the whole palate of ink in people’s printers, but to increase the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. The vast majority of Tameside landlords are, by now, acquainted with the legislation that came into force on the 1st of April 2018; that means all new and renewed private tenancy agreements must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or above. Otherwise it would be illegal to rent the property out (EPC ratings go A to G – A being the best and G the worst).
Yet, from 1st April 2020, those rules will be extended to also cover existing Tameside tenancies, meaning that under the new legislation, properties with an EPC rating of F or G will be classed as un-rentable – meaning it will be illegal to rent the property and the landlord will be liable for a fine of £5,000.
It will be illegal for any landlord to let any Tameside rental property with an EPC rating of F & G from April 2020.
Back in 2018, there was a loophole for Tameside landlords of F & G rated rental homes on new tenancies, where they did not need to upgrade the property for five years if it cost them money (called the ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption rule) – yet back in April 2019 this exemption to improve rental properties was removed – so they too are included in these new rules.
Therefore, this means that Tameside landlords must use their own cash to cover the cost of improving their Tameside. property to at least an EPC band E, and we aren’t talking about an insignificant number here; over 100 properties in the whole borough.
Now this requirement to upgrade the property is subject to a spending cap of £3,500 (including VAT) for each rental property, as landlords only need to spend what they need to, to improve their Tameside property to EPC rating E.
In cases where a Tameside landlord is unable to improve their Tameside property to EPC rating E within the £3,500 cap, then they still need to spend their hard earned cash and carry out the most appropriate measures which can be installed up to the £3,500 cap, and then register an exemption (with 3 quotes from 3 contractors) for their property on the basis that all relevant improvements have been installed and the property remains below an E.
If you are a self-managing Doncaster landlord or a landlord with another Doncaster agent, then feel free to pick up the phone and chat through any concerns with regard to these new regulations, how to read an EPC graph, how to find the EPC rating of your home, in fact anything – call me. The last thing you need is a £5,000 fine on top of the £3,500 improvement bill.
One final thought though – it might be wise for Tameside landlords who have had their rental properties for a while now to get a new EPC carried out on their property (something I can help with irrespective of whether you are a landlord of ours or not) as recent research has also acknowledged that some early EPC’s understated the thermal efficiency of solid walls.
As countless Tameside rental properties are pre-1925, which is when most (not all) new properties were built with cavity walls, the Dept for Business, Energy and Business Strategy have now recalibrated EPC’s to give a truer result. This probably means that some solid wall properties, Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses and converted flats, presently rated F under an EPC will no longer demand any improvement works and certainly less building work may be required in the case of a G rated rental property.
For any advice on avoiding the fine and getting the energy rating for your properties up in Tameside, drop me a line on 07709 505 442 for free advice.