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Thousands of landlords ‘illegally’ letting energy inefficient homes

Tens of thousands of landlords across the UK could be unwittingly renting out property illegally because they have should have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, but simply do not know it.

A new report by property technology firm Spec suggests that as many as 2.5 million Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the UK are wrong due to inaccurate measurement standards and practices, putting many landlords at risk of inadvertently breaking the law.

According to the report, the size of a property has been recorded so inaccurately that it varies by more than 10% from the actual measurement in around a quarter of all existing EPCs.


In fact, the report claims that current measurement techniques used by Domestic Energy Assessors’ (DEA) can lead to inaccuracies regarding floor space measurements. These techniques, the report claims, have created an average discrepancy on property areas of around 8.6% - around 87 sq ft.

Since April 2016, rules have been in place across England and Wales, setting out minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).

These regulations made 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.

Owners of the draughtiest homes – those rated in the worst energy bands, F and G – have been required since April to upgrade them to band E or be barred from agreeing new tenancies.

However, the report estimates that about 35,000 E rated properties are below the legal standard for the residential lettings market.

Antony Browne, senior advisor at Spec, said: “Our study reveals that it’s not really a case of if your EPC is measured inaccurately, but how much it is measured inaccurately.

“Inaccurate EPCs present serious challenges and risks not only to property professionals, consumers and estate agents - but also the environment. It means tens of thousands of landlords are unwittingly renting out their properties, opening them up to the risk of fines of thousands of pounds through no fault of their own.

“Measuring the energy efficiency of buildings accurately is essential in limiting their environmental impact and tackling the bigger global issue of climate change. If you are not measuring the problem properly, you won't tackle it effectively.”

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Poll: Should EPCs be scrapped?


  • Clive Leswell

    Better get the ...."EPC Police"...... on the case.

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    Total waste of time and money. The only ones who read them are the guys who print them. Or the "official jobs worth"
    Tenants don't Agents don't.
    Yet another stupid rules for fools.
    LED lights are the norm.
    Double Glazing is the norm.
    If all Electric then good efficient heaters is the norm other wise Gas heating is the norm.
    Gravity wall installation where appropriate is the norm.
    Loft installation is the norm.
    Unplug appliances when not in use is the norm.


    'Gravity wall installation...'
    Is this perchance a space ship?
    Stephen S try proof reading before posting comments.

  • icon

    Tenants are going to be allowed to sue landlords for mouldy homes aswell 🤣 under new legislation


    I bet that won't apply to Housing Associations and Local Authorities who are the worst offenders.
    The Rent Smart Wales legislation is not applicable to these bodies and they are often in the local news with regard to damp issues affecting their properties.
    A 'law for one' comes to mind?

  • icon

    Yes, the Fitness for Habitation is a Legal Aid Dream come true. It won't just be the tenants suing - upon response to No-win No-fee parasites, when a Landlord brings a Possession claim, the EASY defence will be to approach a parasite and claim there's some mildew, condensation or other less serious Category 2 Hazard.
    Unfit for Habitation has ended up meaning Tenants can sue for what amount to FAR Less than what the term UNFIT for habitation conjures up in a reasonable mind.
    Possession claims that currently take too long, will be adjourned whilst the case for the Civil claim is settled, taking more than Twice as long. !

  • icon

    What a ridiculous statement. The opening sentence says it all .... Tens of thousands COULD BE. ... Why not make it worse and say Billions of landlords COULD BE ?
    Bring me facts not guesstimates heavily slanted towards your theory.
    Total humbug!!!!

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    • 13 February 2019 11:29 AM

    Yep the old mould problem caused by 'lifestyle' will be the cause of many vexatious claims.
    LL would be well advised to potentially get rid of any properties which tend to suffer this 'lifestyle' mould damage.
    There is simply no point in retaining such properties as the LL would be in almost permanent unaffordable litigation.
    Tenants seemingly refuse to accept that it is what they do that causes the problems.
    Of course there are properties which are genuinely defective and need fixing.
    These I suggest are in the minority.
    EPC requirements in 10 years time make any current rental properties pointless retaining.
    They will already tend to be the ones suffering from mould etc due to tenant 'lifestyle'.
    LL need to identify which of their properties face these issues continually and get rid of them onto an unsuspecting and naive homeowner.
    Even in my new build flats there are mould and condensation issues.
    All down to 'lifestyle'.
    I always advise that the air in the flat needs to be replaced once a day so as to prevent mould buildup.
    Hard to convince tenants to do this in winter.
    A couple in one smaller double bedroom had black mould in the corners etc.
    All caused by refusal to ventilate.
    The trickle vents are inadequate.
    Condensation was streaming down the DG window rotting the wooden frame.
    This new regulation could cause more LL to get out of the game than any S24 issue.
    It doesn't take too long for the feckless tenants to work out don't pay rent and quote mould problems.
    About 1 year later the LL may have successfully evicted you.
    So a year renting for free if the property hasn't been repossessed by the lender before then!
    This act has the capacity to substantially reduce the PRS.
    The opportunities for tenants to game the system are such that in many cases it is simply not worth being a LL anymore.
    I also fail to see how any LL would be letting a property without EPC E status.
    For those advertising online I believe the websites won't accept ads without EPC details even if that is an Exemption Certificate.
    Mind you there are LL out there that still aren't aware they are supposed to protect deposits in authorised schemes.
    But surely LA and the major property web portals should be acting as guardians to prevent these properties being advertised for letting.
    That is why like it or not I believe EVERY rental property should be licensed but with the fee being about £100 per property for 5 years.
    If the property doesn't have a licence number which should be checkable by prospective tenants on a national database then the property should not be lettable.
    Anyone letting an unlicensed rental property should have to pay RRO and comply with National Licensing requirements.

  • icon

    We have to be licensed here in Wales as you know, but it doesn't prevent landlords from letting out substandard property.
    It is purely a database of registered properties, with no mention of condition.
    They are not inspected by RSW unless they are 'shopped' by someone, so the problem remains unresolved.

    • 13 February 2019 12:17 PM

    Yep I get what you are saying so perhaps as part of the licensing process ALL rental properties will need to be inspected and if not compliant to be removed from the lettings market with tenants removed immediately.
    The LL can then fix the problems or sell the affected property.
    Of course tenants would be given the opportunity of remaining in the 'defective' rental property or being immediately evicted from the property to be housed by the Council..............................somewhere!!!!
    Tenants have the right to rent decent property and isn't hazardous to them.
    I didn't realise RSW was just a registration process I thought there was an inspection regime.
    I can see the merits of an MOT type inspection regime for the PRS akin to the AA hotel inspectors.
    The logistics of that though don't bear even thinking about.
    Whether a property is habitable can ve a very subjective thing!!
    But I suppose until a tenant complains the presumption that a property is habitable and compliant with all licensing requirements must presumed to be the case.

  • icon

    Start with council rented properties by the council

    • 13 February 2019 13:20 PM

    It is well known that the SRS has far more sub-standard properties than the PRS.
    It would cost billions to improve SRS accommodation to appropriate standards.
    Frankly those in the SRS are already benefiting from subsidised rent.
    Just tough if the standards aren't always great.
    SRS tenants can always surrender their rent subsidised tenancies and venture into the PRS!!!
    There simply isn't the money to pay for upgrading the Social Housing stock in the UK.
    Being in receipt of subsidised rent is something that those tenants should be grateful for.
    That is not to say that such issues that there are with the SRS don't exist.
    Clearly they do.
    The far bigger problem is that the SRS needs to be increased by whatever means ASAP!!!
    Existing SRS properties will have to remain in their current condition.
    The imperative is to have more social housing made available.
    I suggest purchasing such social housing on the open market.
    There are many PRS LL that would love to offload some of their properties to the Social Housing Sector.
    Govt could fairly easily purchase on the open market 2 million properties for Social Housing needs.
    Many of those properties would already be housing HB tenants.
    Social Housing providers would be able to charge lower rents than private LL if they wish to.
    Why direct purchase in the open property market is not considered for creating instant social housing stock beats me!!!!!!!!!!!
    Most of the occupants of these properties sold to the social housing sector will not experience any changes in their tenure apart from perhaps rent reductions.
    All Govt has to do is fund the Social Housing Sector to be able to purchase 2 million properties.
    Repayable over 100 years.
    Should be easy to raise the finance required on the money markets to facilitate such purchases.

  • icon

    Well proof read.
    Agree but largest fatality in UK by social housing landlord.

  • icon
    • 13 February 2019 15:04 PM

    Yep clearly social housing has not exactly covered itself in glory in past years.
    It is usually political ideology which causes the issues.
    Rather than everyone getting together to produce the accommodation needed brownie points are always sought over who has built more of this or that.

    The ideology needs to be dispensed with.
    Just everyone pull together to build more bloody properties of all different types of tenure.
    But demand by controlling borders needs to be part of the solution
    You simply can't build your way out of mass uncontrolled immigration.
    Social housing paid for by the taxpayer is just something society has to be prepared to pay for.
    It is just a fact that there are many dysfunctional members of society who need to be provided with subsidised accommodation.
    The PRS is not the ideal sort of tenure for these tenant types.
    Just a question of biting the bullet and pay for the subsidised housing needed by the lower orders.
    You can't have their already dissolute lives made more so by them being homeless.
    Putting them in social housing at least gives them a chance to rise above their station.
    RTB has been an unmitigated disaster.
    There just has to be a general acceptance that in a low wage economy that the UK has that subsidised accommodation is necessary for millions of people.
    To deny this isn't required is naive in the extreme.
    Society needs to keep the lower orders securely and safely housed in decent accommodation.
    If decently housed there tends to be aspiration to achieve other things as all their resources needn't go on housing costs.
    Far better to publicly house with subsidised rent than spend more money in HB for private rents with no discernable benefit in the end apart for the private LL.
    The PRS is simply not fit for purpose due to its overriding imperative of wishing to make PROFITS.
    Something the SRS is not required to achieve as a basic principle.
    Let the PRS house those that don't qualify for HB.


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