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EPC Crisis: Properties could be “unsellable and unrentable” by 2025

There is a fear that work required to bring rental units up to new Energy Performance Certificate levels by 2025 could render many of them “unmortgageable and unprintable”.

According to the Ministry of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities there are some 13m homes in England and Wales currently with an EPC rating of D or below.

From 2025 new rules mean rental properties with an EPC rating of D, or below, will not be able to take on new tenants.

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The latest warning comes from John Eastgate, property finance managing director at Shawbrook Bank, who comments: “For many property owners in the UK, getting their property to a C rating is going to take a lot more than simply installing a new boiler. The reality is that for older properties - some of which may be listed- it will be an expensive exercise to make the necessary changes.

“… It’s completely right that we should all be considering how to make our properties more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Some owners, however, will need support from both lenders, and the government, to make these changes financially possible. 

“Without this, we risk a substantial part of the private rental sector becoming unrentable and therefore unmortgageable and unsellable in 2025. With home ownership still out of reach for many this could leave us with a shortage of quality homes to rent.”

Eastgate’s comments come despite a new survey suggesting that at least some landlords are already attempting to improve the energy efficiency of their investment units ahead of new legislation kicking in, in 2025.

Research from the bank has found that 17 per cent of landlords have already made efforts to improve energy efficiency, rising to 22 per cent of portfolio landlords. 

For example, of all the landlords that had undertaken a refurbishment, 22 per cent had replaced the boiler and heating system, a further 23 per cent had replaced windows, and 18 per cent had installed new white goods. 

Making properties more energy efficient can boost demand from tenants too, says the bank. 

Indeed, one in 10 private renters contacted as part of the study said that they would stay in their current property longer if their landlord made changes to the property which benefit the environment. 

Tenants were also happy to pay more in rent should landlords make certain changes to their property. 

 

Some 18 per cent of tenants said they’d pay more if windows were replaced, 15 per cent would pay more for a new boiler and heating system, and 10 per cent suggested that installing solar panels would justify paying more rent.

However, for those investors who own older properties - which are typically less energy efficient - it can be harder to improve the rating. 

This could mean that by 2025 some properties could be ‘unrentable’ and ‘unsellable’ warns the bank.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • George Dawes

    Well that IS a surprise .. NOT

    Can't sell your property , no problem we'll take it off your hands , do it up or demolish it , build back better and rent it back to you ?

    'You'll own nothing and be happy'

    Coming soon...

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    Whilst this headline is a bit alarmist the powers that be need to recognise that enforcing EPC C in the timescales currently suggested will precipitate the largest housing crisis we have ever seen.

    The Green Homes Grant fiasco showed that, even if LLs wanted do the upgrades necessary there are not enough qualified trades people to do it.

    EPC C will result in a dump of rental properties onto the market, where owner occupiers do not need to improve them, and a shortage of decent rentals. EPC D would allow LLs to improve the worst first and continue to work towards EPC C in voids.

    And the EPC algorithm needs to be updated to reflect the green credentials of electricity instead of its cost, cost which is hugely inflated by the green levies imposed upon it!

  • Robert Nottingham

    I have thought long and hard about this: I have considered the BRE technical documents; studied SAP 10.2 & SAP 2012; looked at our property portfolio; been part of the Green Homes Grant debacle ( had the voucher, couldn’t get the work completed in time); considered carbon taxation - particularly the bizarre uneven and non-sensible loading on electricity over gas; invested in high efficiency Farho electric radiators only to be ‘advised’ that storage heaters are better…… it goes on. I have even wondered if the EPC change is strategic scaremongering in cohort with HMRC to precipitate a high turnover of second properties, filling its coffers with stamp duty +3%.

    In all my deliberations I fall back to the same point, or rather that there is no point. I feel that my time as a landlord has run its course and I will move on to pastures new… “Good morning, is that Mr Terry Smith…. I’d like to invest in your fund please!”

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    I have the same problem with electric radiators: how is it good for the environment to rip out a perfectly good heating system and replace it with another electric system, which is no more carbon (or tenant) friendly but just might be cheaper (if you get the right tariff & use the complicated system efficiently)? The carbon emitted in the production of the new heaters; the waste of decent radiators; a system tenants often don't like & can't understand all make this a complete nonsense & just about sums up my opinion of EPCs!

     
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    I to feel that my time as a landlord has come to an end. I will sell one of my properties every year starting in 2022. I feel that for me it’s the right thing to do.

     
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    Hell I will put whatever they want in it, the rents will increase significantly to reflect the investment. Operating costs are irrelevant to me as I won’t be operating the system, that is the tenants problem not mine. I have conformed with government regulations.

     
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    Leon that's exactly what I intend to do and the cost will be paid for by increased rents, poor tenants get hit again but not my doing all down to Boris and his daft wife

     
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    There needs to be a coherent government plan to improving the efficiency of all Britain's housing stock to help us meet emissions targets, not this knee jerk action picking on the PRS alone. We are not the solution to the problem, neither are we the cause.
    Most LLs want to do the right thing but using the outdated EPC as a measure is like shooting in the dark, blindfolded with one hand behind our backs. Some of my properties have lost 10 point between EPCs, not caused by me but the way the Government has changed the algorithm. If gas is to be phased out and electricity is the preferred heating source them the EPC needs to reflect that. If storage radiators were developed to use the off peak electricity generated by dirty coal fired power stations why are they still the preferred electrical heating source. I don't expect any Government minister would have storage heaters by choice in their properties so why enforce it on my tenants.
    Get the EPC right so we can take of the blindfold, switch on the lights and all work together!

  • Theodor Cable

    Quite right. Me too.
    And I will add 15% for admin. and time.
    Just as any business does when faced with additional costs, it is the normal in a laissez-faire economy.

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    we've (PRS) been the first target of the great reset for some time now, and some people are realising that there is no end to this incessant legislation attacking us, yet nobody else needs all this trumped up waffle and green nonsense.

    there after our portfolios in the great reset, we are apart of someone else plan.

    they can't have us being too successful.

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    I consider myself to be well informed about the plethora of rules, regulations and red tape that we all have to put up with. This post seems to suggest that mandatory EPC C has been approved and is cast in stone. Now I know that the "consultation" finished in Jan '21, with a scheduled implementation/sign-off in Autumn '21. Can anyone point me in the direction of a definitive Government act that has passed this into law?
    .....or maybe, just maybe, someone has figured out that the wave of homelessness that will accompany this madness is just a step too far. Just asking ...

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    The goalposts keep moving. There is no consistency with EPC scores or the ability of assessors. The assessment algorithm has been changed hugely over the years.
    Even if you carry out all the recommendations on your original EPC it may not improve the score.

    One of mine was C73 in March 2011 when I bought it with potential to be C78 if it had low energy light bulbs, better heating controls and a new boiler. It now has all those things and the new EPC is still C73.
    Another one was D57 in December 2008 with potential to be C70 if I had cavity wall insulation, upgraded heating controls and a new boiler. In 2015 it was reassessed when I applied for subsidised cavity wall insulation and found to be E47. To get to C71 it's saying I need cavity wall insulation (done), floor insulation, new boiler (done), solar water heating and solar photovoltaic panels. Never mind the fact the roof is too small, overshadowed and oriented the wrong way for solar to be viable. It isn't suggesting far more practical measures such as upgraded heating controls or better dormer roof insulation even though it has assumed no roof or loft insulation whatsoever.

    It may be coincidence in my case but it seems to depend on who the assessor is linked to as to what improvements are recommended. Those who come via solar panel or subsidised insulation companies seem to recommend floor insulation and solar panels as the route to an improved EPC while more independent assessors seem to recommend replacing the boiler (unless it's only a couple of years old) or installing one if it's all electric.
    If gas boilers are going to be phased out the EPC needs to change on how it rates different types of electric heating. Why was Lot 20 brought in if the EPCs don't recognise it? There is a huge difference in a two bar electric fire with an on/ off switch and a modern electric heater with a timer, thermostat, 7 day programmer and app controls.

    Now this has become so important we need a full list of improvements to pick from and their impact on our EPC score.
    We need to be able to easily and freely contest the discrepancies between EPCs.
    We need a full explanation of why an EPC score has been downgraded including how many points each issue has dropped. Why in my first example after carrying out 5 points worth of improvements had my EPC not risen? What had caused it to lose 5 points elsewhere?
    Instead of assumptions regarding insulation we need alternatives such as how much the heating bills are. In an HMO where the landlord pays the bills and the tenants control the heating programmer it would be pretty safe to assume the roof is insulated if the bills aren't sky high.

  • Matthew Payne

    Everyone has also lost sight of MEES deadline of 2030 to get to a B, this is just the start.

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    Hello Matthew, everything that I read suggests that the 2030 deadline for B is non-domestic? Although quite frankly I wouldn't put anything past this lot!!

     
    Matthew Payne

    It is (well likely to be when the consultation is published) but commercial and resi have been following the same trajectory up to now, they propose to have commercial dovetail with Resi with a 2027 deadline for a C, before the proposed B in 2030.

    Bear in mind that is 9 years from now, and look at how much has been changed/introduced in the last 9 years, most recently with the recent 2025 "C" bombshell. We have had 5 years to get from an E to a C, they will regard 5 more to get from a C to a B as more than enough time, especially with all the focus on the subject. Resi Bs by 2030 is already the plan, they just havent announced it yet, always on the drip.

     
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    It's about time we put an end to this green scam. The earth's climate has been naturally changing for billions of years and nothing that humans do will make the slightest bit of difference.

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    THe whole thing is a type of madness where people are effectively making things up and claiming them to be science, or a well known fact. CO2 is a fertiliser, and a vital ingredient in planet life. THis is all about turning us into peasants. When Thatcher trashed British Industry she claimed it would rise like a phoenix from the ashes, Now rebranded as build back better. Smart meters are an example, they are costing a fortune and all you needed to do was to advise people that its' heating that uses the most electricity. However smart metrs have aremotel operable switch in them, so we can be disconnected from the grid, when their is no wind.

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    i am reading all comments here with interest. I'm a very worried Landlord and can't see how I will ever be able to get the EPC to a standard that is remotely acceptable. Green grant people came to assess my small 1 bed leasehold flat and I cannot implement any of the recommendations such as cavity wall insulation (building doesn't belong to me), cannot put solar panels on the roof, cannot install alternative heating systems or heat pumps. There is no space in the flat to do anything else. Even if I miraculously managed to implement everything at a cost of £000's, the rating would take me to D. Why is the NRLA not doing anything about this with the Govt? Like one of the comments said, I am also thinking that I have no option but to sell the property. I agree that the EPC is a nonsense but it is here and we have to live with its stupidity unless we do something about it. This is so worrying.

    Theodor Cable

    In that case, why would anyone buy your property, as it is almost worthlesss in the long time?

     
  • George Dawes

    Mankind contributes 4% to co2 emissions and of that China produces 28%

    Our contribution is 1.1% , utterly infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things

    Hopefully this whole charade will start waking people up …

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    "Mankind contributes 4% to co2 emissions" where did you get this figure from? I'm not a climate activist just never seen an estimate that low.

     
  • George Dawes

    House next to me is in a terrible state , built in 1860 it’s still got the original windows and the panes fall out into my property, somehow this dump got a c rating , a C !

    I looked it up , it got rated as they changed the lightbulbs to low power ones

    Utterly pathetic

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    Hi All, I have been reading this column for a while now but had to sign up to comment on this. I was an Energy Assessor (Independent and a good one!) for 12 years but I have just recently given up doing EPCs because of all this new legislation coming in. It is a nightmare for energy assessors to work with, Landlords and assessors are given no news on what is going on, The Band C/D farce that has been going on is not fair and I was constantly being asked by landlords what was happening so they could do something to their properties, it was frustrating when I couldn't help, not wanting to give the wrong advice - spend this to get a C when the legislation comes in at a D or spend this to get to a D and then it comes in at a C! A lot of very good and long serving assessors that I know have also given up, we have had enough too.

    Electric is the biggest joke to the EPC, do not do it!! the EPC is based on the cost of the fuel heating a property not the efficiency of the boiler/heater itself. Although electric is 100% efficient it is 4 times the cost of gas so will always get a lower result. Until they see sense and base the EPC on the efficiency of the heating will never be any good. One of my last EPCs was on a rental property that I had previously assessed 10 years ago, it then had an old gas boiler but was a Band D, some clever salesman had talked the Landlord into buying an electric boiler as it was 'better' the result then dropped into a Band F, even keeping the old boiler would have got an E!

    Good luck!

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    Thank you for that Angela. That bears out a recent experience of mine. I had an EPC done on one of mine that I'd spent a lot on and it needed one anyway. Thankfully it got to a C ok, but I asked my assessor to see what it would have achieved if I had a heat pump, hot/immersion tank etc. It was an E .....
    Enough said. Mad world we live in

     
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    Hi Angela.
    I have 2 flats that are electrically heated.
    The properties are so well insulated that the heating is rarely needed to be on and much warmer than my gas centrally heated properties.

     
  • Robert Nottingham

    I think that it would be fair to say that the Defence rests m’lud…the Government has failed to make a case and its arguments should be set aside 🤣

  • George Dawes

    E P C = Eventual Property Collapse

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    You are all looking at EPCs from the wrong end. The question is do EPC ratings work in practice? Does a good EPC rating mean that the property uses less energy? I operate over 100 HMOs and pay for the energy used in each and measure the energy used on a weekly basis and I find the EPC rating bears no relationship to the energy used. Incidentally, neither do any of the conservation measures make that much difference either. From bitter experience nearly everything I've tried to do to conserve energy has not worked, in other words conservation measures are all a con.

    I would love to save on my energy bill and you can but the EPC rating I have found is of not a guide. What is the point of discussing the EPC algorithm when it makes no difference to the energy used by the property? Yes we are supposed to all have to get to a C rating but if my experience is repeated it will make absolutely no difference to energy usage in a property.
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO daddy

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    Hi Jim, it wont I am sorry to say, the EPC algorithm is based on the all rooms except the lounge being at 18 degrees for 8 hours a day weekdays and 16 hours a day at weekend with the lounge being at 21 degrees for those hours. If your energy patterns are different to these, and to be honest - who uses energy like that, then the figures quoted on the EPC will bear no resemblance to energy bills, the only way these figures are useful is to compare the usage between 2 properties as they are based on the same ratio, so in real terms if one EPC says the energy used is twice as much as another property's EPC then the bills are probably going to be twice as much based on that usage.

     
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    Angela, that is really interesting and shows that however came up with the algorithm was wired to a mars bar!

     
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    I have just replaced old radiators in a property with new ones. The tenants are delighted saying the house heats up much more quickly and they are having to turn the heating off. Clearly this will save them energy & money. How many EPC points do I get for my new radiators? Zero.

    The EPC assessment is a joke but I'm not laughing and nor will 7 sets of 11 tenants when they are asked to leave so I can sell their EPC D rated home.

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    Where are the Landlord bodies whom should be collating our experiences and demanding an urgent overhaul of the EPC system. Any changes to legislation should wait until clearly identified energy saving measures are proven to work. All of us, IMO, would be happy to improve our properties, none of us like to spend hard earned money on ineffective measures to get a tick in the box.
    I am selling a property now and will sell 2 next year. I am doing this to re-balance my property value to loan value to protect from interest rate rises, but obviously I am trying to sell properties that are poorly insulated. Incidentally all estate agents have commented that insulation is a buzz word for new buyers. Interesting as this may now be another factor in valuing a house, time will tell. Due to a lack of rental properties EPC's do not seem to come into this equation. Therefore the Government trying to change the rental market, could be effecting property values for purchasers!! Obviously this has just been my experience on 3 houses, one in Kent and 2 in Bedford. Thought i'd share.

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    Hi Angela,

    Thank you for the feedback unfortunately what you say is not born out by my experience. I have old Victorian properties (E rated) which cost me less to heat than my modern properties (C rated). The heating for both is on 24/7.

    Andy I have tried to get the landlords associations to recognise that the conservation measures are all a con and they turn a deaf ear. They are more intent to do the governments bidding then I suspect the government is. I am unusual in that I have over 100 properties where I pay for the heating and provide 24/7 heating so have some evidence to support my point and I don't like what I find as I want to save on energy costs. Unfortunately there is very little a HMO landlord can do to save on costs without upsetting the tenants by switching the heating on and off. The only thing I have found that has made a significant difference is to fit prepaid electric metres into each HMO room and this has almost halved the electric used by the HMO. The reason is that as the tenants are paying directly for the electric they use so they switch everything off and do not use electric heaters.

    With my single let's regardless of the EPC rating I do not know what it costs my tenants in heating costs. I suspect this is why most people and landlords do not realise that EPCs are not any guide to energy consumption.

    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO daddy

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    Hi Jim, 100 properties, let alone HMO's. Good for you. I managed 5/6 HMO's at one time, looking after circa 33-37 tenants. It was not easy! I completely get what you are saying, energy bills was one of the big issues that I had.
    I am an optimist by heart and will keep an open mind that the government will see sense and that the associations stop being lap dogs. That said, being a realist also I will take the necessary steps to safeguard my more modest portfolio. Regards, Andy

     
  • George Dawes

    100 ? You’re a better man than me gunga din

    How on earth do you cope with that lot ?

    Wow , very impressive

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