Nearly 17% of properties currently available on the private rented sector could become unrentable by 2018 if government plans for new legislation go ahead, according to fresh data released by Urban.co.uk.
The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations, passed in March 2015, set out minimum energy efficiency standards for England and Wales. These regulations will make it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.
Urban.co.uk’s Landlord Knowledge Survey Report, which questioned around 4,000 UK landlords on a number of issues relating to the UK rental market, suggests that many existing private landlords are unaware that a significant chunk of the homes now available in the rental property market currently fall below the minimum energy efficiency requirements proposed.
“One reason to explain the lack of industry knowledge could be due to the recent influx in new regulations, which have flooded the rental market,” said Adam Male, co-founder of Urban.co.uk. “With landlords facing more changes than ever over the past couple of years, it is no surprise that many find it tricky to keep up - unfortunately that’s no defence should it all go disastrously wrong.”
In reality, careful planning and preparation are required to mitigate the potential impact of the new regulation, meaning that it is important that buy-to-let landlords with below E rated properties take action now if they wish to avoid legal headaches in the not too distant future.
Reflecting on the 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations at the end of last year, Danny Luke, managing director at Quick Move Now, commented: “It is commendable that the government is keen to improve the quality of rental property, but for the proposed new legislation to be workable, a great deal of thought will need to go into how landlords can be supported to make the necessary changes. This is especially true in light of the government’s decision to stop funding Green Deal improvements.”
Luke pointed out that recent changes to tax relief, stamp duty and letting fees guidelines mean many landlords are already concerned about the viability of their businesses, which largely explains why some are now thinking about selling their rental properties.
“If significant energy efficiency improvement work is likely to be required, landlords will need support if we want to ensure a vibrant and efficient private rental market in the coming years,” he added.