NEW MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS
The deadline for compliance has passed that will require any properties rented out in the private rented sector to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
The regulations came into effect on the first of the month on new lets and renewals of tenancies and will apply for all existing tenancies from 1st April 2020 regardless of whether there has been a change of tenancy.
It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption.
One of the quickest and easiest ways for landlords to improve their properties EPC rating is to replace single glazing with double glazing.
This article explains the new regulations and why landlords should consider upgrading single glazed windows 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?
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 SINGLE TO DOUBLE GLAZING
Upgrading from single to double glazing is a step that many Homeowners and Landlords have made across the country to improve the energy efficiency rating of their properties and add value to their assets.
If we take a typical inter-war semidetached house of cavity wall construction with single glazing, no low energy lighting, a pitched roof with 100mm of loft insulation, a 1970’s installed gas boiler with a programmer and a room thermostat and a hot water cylinder with a 12mm jacket. This property would score as an F on the RdSAP rating used on the Energy Performance Certificates with a total of 35.
Adding double-glazing would immediately improve this property from an unlettable F rating to an E which could be rented out in compliance with the new regulations.
In addition new double glazing would reduce heating costs for residents, helping them to save money and pay their rents. It would also add to the value of the property by 5% to 10%.
SECONDARY GLAZING WHEN DOUBLE GLAZING IS NOT POSSIBLE
In some homes replacing old single-glazed windows with modern double-glazing is not an option. This may be due to the cost involved, or because the house is listed or in a conservation area where original features like sash windows have to be retained. However it is still possible to cut out the draughts and reduce heat loss through windows using various forms of secondary glazing.
The Secondary Glazing is fitted to the inside of the existing window and in this way helps to form Double Glazing by trapping the air in the gap in between the two sheets of glass. This puts an air break between the outside and the inside creating a thermal barrier which helps to stop heat loss from the inside as well as improving the energy efficiency of the building – in short, helping to better maintain the temperature inside the building and therefore cut the usage of fuels to heat the property. Additional benefits include a level of draught proofing and sound proofing.
HOW CAN MILA MAINTENANCE HELP PRIVATE LANDLORDS?
Mila Maintenance works with Landlords with multiple properties, in particular landlords or property management companies for blocks of flats or large multiple occupancy properties.
Mila Maintenance can survey your property and provide quotations for upgrading your properties windows from single to double glazing.
In addition if you have any issues with any windows in your properties, our trained engineers can undertake a full condition survey of all your windows and doors to identify and carry out any repairs to window seals, handles, hinges or locks.
We can also lubricate all other working parts to make them easier for tenants to use and make them last longer. We will provide a 12 months’ guarantee on the functionality of the hardware and a manufacturers extended warranty on the new seals.
For more information on Landlord standards click here>