NEW MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
The compliance deadline, which mandates that all your properties in the private rented sector must hold a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), has passed.
Regulations took effect on the first of the month for new lets and tenancy renewals and will apply to all existing tenancies from 1st April 2020, irrespective of any tenancy changes.
Renting out a property that fails to meet the minimum E rating requirement will be unlawful for you, unless an applicable exemption applies.
One swift and straightforward way landlords can enhance their properties’ EPC rating involves replacing single glazing with double glazing.
This article unpacks the new regulations and explores why landlords might consider upgrading from single glazed to low E double glazed, energy-efficient windows.
WHO WILL BE AFFECTED?
The Regulations apply to domestic private rented sector properties in England and Wales. This includes properties let under a shorthold and under an assured tenancy and any property that has an EPC and is either required to have an EPC, or is within a larger unit which is itself required to have an EPC.
An EPC is required for the following: –
- Individual house/dwelling (i.e. a self-contained property with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) – one EPC for the dwelling.
- Self-contained flats (i.e. each behind its own front door with its own kitchen/bathroom facilities) – one EPC per flat.
- Bedsits or room lets where there is a shared kitchen, toilet and/or bathroom (e.g. a property where each room has its own tenancy agreement) – No EPC is required.
- Shared flats/houses (e.g. a letting of a whole flat or house to students/young professionals etc on a single tenancy agreement) – one EPC for the whole house.
- Mixed self-contained and non-self-contained accommodation – one EPC for each self-contained flat/unit but no EPC for the remainder of the property.
- A room in a hall of residence or hostel – no EPC is required.
WHAT ARE PENALTIES AND HOW ARE THEY ENFORCED?
You should be aware there are fixed penalties for failing to provide an EPC or to make one available when required. The fixed penalty for dwellings is £200 per dwelling. There is a six month time limit for any enforcement action to be taken.
With regards to the Minimum Energy Efficiency standards this will be enforced by Local Authorities with support from the Government. If a local authority suspects that a landlord with a property in scope of the regulations is not compliant, or has not sufficiently proved an exemption, the local authority can serve a compliance notice on the landlord requesting further information it considers necessary to confirm compliance. If it is not provided, or is provided and is not sufficient to provide compliance, the local authority may proceed to issuing a penalty notice.
Penalties for a single offence may be cumulative, up to a maximum of £5,000. Further penalties may be awarded for non-compliance with the original penalty notice where a landlord continues to rent out a non-compliant property; however, penalties would still be cumulative up to a maximum of £5,000.
WHAT CAN LANDLORDS DO NOW TO PROTECT THEMSELVES?
It is estimated that Greenwoods Solicitors recommend the following steps for Landlords:
- Review your property portfolio and check which properties currently have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
- Identify properties with an E-rating or below.
- Establish the cause of the low rating: Is it something installed by a tenant that could be removed, is it an error in the EPC rating? Is it due to required improvements to the property?
- Assess what improvements can be made to raise the energy standard for low-rated properties. Which are essential and which merely desirable? Use the recommendation report attached to the original EPC as your starting point.
- Check your leases carefully – does responsibility for making statutory improvements fall on the landlord or the tenant? Can the landlord recover the costs of statutory compliance from the tenant via a service charge?
- Consider commissioning EPCs for those of your properties which do not yet have one (remember it is now compulsory to obtain an EPC before marketing any property for sale or rent), and revisit steps 3-5 above for those properties.
Benefits of Upgrading from Single to Double Glazing
Many homeowners and landlords nationwide have taken the step of upgrading from single to double glazing to boost their properties’ energy efficiency rating and enhance their assets’ value.
Consider a typical inter-war semi-detached house: cavity wall construction, single glazing, no low-energy lighting, a pitched roof with 100mm of loft insulation, a 1970’s gas boiler with a programmer and a room thermostat, and a hot water cylinder with a 12mm jacket. This property would score an F on the RdSAP rating used in Energy Performance Certificates, tallying a total of 35.
The introduction of double glazing would instantaneously elevate this property from an unlettable F rating to a compliant E, aligning with new regulations.
Moreover, new double glazing would trim heating costs for residents, assisting them in saving money and ensuring rent payment, while potentially increasing the property’s value by 5% to 10%.
SECONDARY GLAZING WHEN DOUBLE GLAZING IS NOT POSSIBLE
In some homes, replacing old single-glazed windows with modern double-glazing isn’t an option, either due to cost factors or because the house, being listed or situated in a conservation area, must retain its original features, like sash windows. Nevertheless, various forms of secondary glazing can effectively mitigate draughts and reduce window heat loss.
Fitters install secondary glazing to the interior side of the existing window, thereby forming an air break between the interior and exterior and creating a thermal barrier that not only prevents internal heat loss but also enhances the building’s energy efficiency. Simply put, it helps maintain the internal temperature of the building, reducing the need to use fuel for heating. Additionally, it provides a degree of draught-proofing and sound-proofing.
How Can Mila Maintenance Assist Private Landlords?
Mila Maintenance actively collaborates with landlords who possess multiple properties, especially those that work with property management companies for blocks of flats or extensive multi-occupancy properties.
Window Condition Surveys
We readily survey your property, offering quotations to enhance your windows from single to double glazing. This will give you an audit trail to show all windows are working correctly. Also no mould or damp is present around the window. Finally that all safety measures you have installed are still working.
Expert Window Repairs Engineers
Should any issues with your windows arise, our adept engineers will thoroughly examine all windows and doors in your properties, identifying and executing necessary repairs to window seals, handles, hinges, or locks. Furthermore, we lubricate all working parts to ensure ease of use for tenants and enhance longevity.
Security of Guarantee
We confidently provide a 12-month guarantee on hardware functionality and a manufacturer’s extended warranty on new seals. You can extend this again for another 12-months each time you book a survey.
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