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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

EPCs to be reviewed - so have they been wrong all this time?

A national newspaper says the current ratings of the Energy Performance Certificate are under review by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy.

A department spokesman has told the Daily Telegraph: “Energy Performance Certificates provide useful guidance for consumers and businesses outlining how energy efficient buildings are in a simple and comparable manner.

“We are already looking at ways the system can be improved through our EPC Action Plan to ensure they are as accurate and effective as possible.”

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The Telegraph says this review follows fears that under the current system installing a heat pump could make some properties appear less energy efficient rather than more, because replacing a traditional gas boiler can under some circumstances automatically cut an EPC rating.

The newspaper quotes Craig Mackinlay MP, chairman of the Net Zero Scrutiny group, as saying: "Given that heat pumps can actually increase energy use, on which EPC certification is derived, they could push a property that might have been rated C under an old method into D.

"That could make it both unrentable and possibly even unsaleable, if some of the more nonsensical Net Zero measures that we hear about are realised.”

The Telegraph reports that EPCs are currently based on an estimate of what it costs to heat a home rather than the carbon emissions generated. Heat pumps - which transfer thermal energy into a property from the ground or air - produce less CO2 than burning gas, but are not necessarily recorded as being cheaper to run.

The EPC system in England and Wales dates back to 2007 when they were part of the ill-fated Home Information Pack - initially for properties with four or more bedrooms, and then over time extended to smaller properties and all of the UK. 

 

 

Now several mortgage lenders offer preferential rates to borrowers purchasing properties with good EPC ratings and the government has also proposed a voluntary target for lenders to improve the average rating of homes on their books to at least band C by 2030.

It is thought that only 10 per cent of the 22m dwellings in England and Wales get the top A and B grades with around 60 per cent having an EPC rating of D and below.

Under new proposed regulations, landlords may be required to make changes to their properties to improve the energy efficiency by 2025 for all new tenancies. This means bringing their property’s EPC rating up to a C or above. For existing tenancies, landlords have until 2028.

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  • George Dawes

    "That could make it both unrentable and possibly even unsaleable, if some of the more nonsensical Net Zero measures that we hear about are realised.”

    ...that's what it's all about , goodbye prs and the middle and working class's pensions and everything they've worked for all their lives over a contribution of 1.2% to co2 and supposed global warming ( ignoring the fact that temps have gone down in the last 10 years not up )

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    George everything is sell able at a price.

     
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    The inaccuracy of, and proposed changes to, EPC's and the proposed, but not yet introduced, changes to energy performance regulations are two of the reasons landlords are holding off investing in energy improvements. Also, the c£10k cap being considered regarding energy investment, may be applicable after the regs come in rather than before?

    Acting before we have this certainty could lead to sub-optimum energy investment decisions.

    This, I perceive, will have a huge impact on demand at the same time, and the lack of contractor resources to get the work done as we get closer to 2025 and the EPC scoring and regs finally come into effect.

    The key risk then, I guess, is the potential for void properties between 2025 and 2028 and perhaps after 2028 whilst energy performance is improved?

    Interested in your thoughts folks as this is my biggest strategic risk in my portfolio?

    Andy

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    Hi Andy.
    I am just looking into how I can improve the ratings for some of my properties.
    As has been pointed out, the act hasn't been passed yet, but it is pertinent to get some costings and be prepared, in my opinion, so that you have some idea what you may have to do and what it is likely to cost.
    I have 2 flats that run on electric, but are built to a high spec as far as insulation goes.
    I have just had one of them done which got a 'D' rating, but the assessor stated that I could get a 'C' if I were to install an off peak meter and change just one radiator in the living room.
    I am prepared to do that, as it will probably mean that it would become more rentable.
    However, I do have a property with solid brick walls, that I will run into trouble with and the only solution may be to have insulation boards fixed to the outside at a cost of around £10,000.

    The property with the solid wall is a maisonette above a commercial property. so I could be in the position of being able to rent out the shop but not the above, which currently has a 'D' rating.

     
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    Is is completely unreasonable to expect anyone to invest in expensive and disruptive measures to achieve a standard which is acknowledged as inaccurate and due for change. Until the target is confirmed it would be foolish to undertake anything except standard maintenance.

    I have no doubt that EPC C is coming - maybe not exactly as the proposals are currently set out or as quickly. So because of the difficulty of doing anything quickly with housing, I am already selling up as properties become empty.

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    Tricia - Totally correct and i have the same thoughts, we need to know what the new EPC rules are, and quickly. I too think it will come in on balance and am making plans to this effect, but given the number of U turns by Boris in recent months...... you never know.

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    I'm waiting until we know more for sure, if I have a property come vacant after 2025 and am not allowed to relet it will remain empty while I decide whether to spend the money upgrading or to sell, when we get to 2028 I'll have to evict good tenants because if I do decide to up grade them the property will have to be empty in order to carry out the works, but come 2028 I shall be 74 so depending how I feel by then they might all remain empty and be sold off one per year, the proceeds I'm sure will see my days out in comfort

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    Hi all
    I have recently become an Epc domestic assessor as I have a portfolio of 10 and really needed to get my head round what EPCs actually currently are and how they configure the ratings.
    What is very interesting to me is that a new built property that has a current rating of B which is a flat with electric heating would be only a C as the current ratings go. This is because I can only assess it as a retrospective surveyor. It is really worrying as there will be a lot of these newer properties falling into lower bands in the future unless the EPCs are changed.
    It is also really challenging for system built properties to gain a good rating as even if they are energy efficient they are all classed as if they are the poorest of construction and therefore will be very expensive to retrofit with cladding or internal insulation.
    It is also a mind field as some of these properties will just not breathe as they were designed to. So a lot will come on to market.
    I have already booked in for 3 of mine to be retrofitted or they would have to be sold. The costs will go up the nearer we are to the deadlines indicated. Even if these move I will then have a more sellable attractive property.
    I have looked into selling but the CGT and our current ages do not stack up for us at this time. So for me I will remortgage and refit.
    (For the time being that is)

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    Interesting.
    So for less than £1000 and about a week of our time we could all get qualified as EPC assessors and play with the computer program to see exactly what the most cost effective way would be to get a C rating without having to evict our tenants. All these recommendations to insulate solid floors are a non starter but assessors don't seem to understand that.
    However tedious an idea that is it may save us from making some very expensive mistakes. If existing assessors won't give us a full list of options and the impact they would have perhaps we should train to do the job ourselves.

     
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    Yes I have also looked at becoming a DEA. Not that I particularly want to run it as a business, but I see it as a small investment so I can actually see the details that are pertinent to whether I can upgrade my portfolio sensibly priced or sell. I have a lot of Victorian terraces on my books. As someone else commented 'how come we always start with digging up concrete floors?' Costs multi thousands and gains about 2 points. Hardly a game changer. Same with solar thermal hot water.

    And have you noticed the new .gov epc register doesn't actually tell you the points for each measure anymore? Just a summary of all the limited measures they put forward? Glad I've got paper copies of the old format on file! It really seemsxas if they want to make it harder to improve not easier.

     
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    EPC certs not fit for purpose? Really!?! If these regs come in for landlords, we'll see tens of thousands of tenants lose their homes at the same time, and a huge shortage of contractors to make the necessary energy efficiency changes. Great result for build-to-rent, terrible for everyone else. Then the scheme will be scrapped before it's due to apply to the rest of the housing market.

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    This is exactly what’s behind it all they want us out for big Build 2 Rent owners & Developers to take over with their High Rise flats in the Sky.
    The traditional buildings are much better quality than their rubbish. I see they are gone back to Cladding again on New Build, they changed to Bricks briefly after Grenfell that didn’t last long did it, back to rubbish Buildings just lumps of polyurethane foam.

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    Saul Smart
    It's worth the investment for me. I did it for myself however I'm now doing them for other landlords whom know me in my area.
    It has really given me the tools to make decisions.
    DEAs also have an option of providing an energy report (same as EPC but not live) that is not lodged with the government. This can give a clear understanding of ratings and recommendations prior to works being undertaken. A good DEA will help and discuss the options available to you. However solid brick old construction properties will struggle to get a C rating without significant investment at this time unless the government change the criteria.

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    Christopher Pincher has been moved, what pincher are we going to get next.
    Remove Renters Reform Bill or Collapse the Economy simple choice.

  • Wayne Church

    EPC's are defiantly going to have to change as we try to balance the cost of heating v CO2 emissions.
    If anything the original EPC with both EPC & Environmental scores were probably one solution.

    The vast majority of ASHP's scoring below a band C is largely due to the assessors inputting them generically as opposed to using their specific model numbers, but they are only on the data base if the BRE have tested them.

    Creating a site for landlords to 'dabble' with the RDSAP software might be a useful suggestion going forward.

  • Matthew Payne

    Its not just heat pumps, there are a load of anomalies with storage heaters, and insulation. They are going to have to move the goal posts, not only as their measure isnt up to scratch anymore as we are 14 years down the line, but most importantly as they will exlcude 2.8 million rented properties from the market that are currently D or lower. On top of that, they have targets to hit under the Doha agreement. They arent going to get anywhere near those as it stands. Nice work for the industry though, assuming the criteria is amended, pretty much every EPC in the UK will need redoing, kerching kerching, which in itself might be a tall order by 2026, let alone any work still required to reach an uplift.

  • George Dawes

    Wasn’t epc introduced when we were part of Europe ?

    We’ve supposedly left now ,so why are we still adhering to this crap ?

    ‘Supposedly’ being the operative word , brexit = yet another con

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    I don’t know what difference we can make to Climate change or EPC. The Big Developers with approval of Local Authorities have been doing all this cladding Insulation for years costing billions, now a big fight with each other about who is going to pay billions more again to take it down and put it back
    up, what chance have we got they couldn’t get it right themselves. I now see they have stopped using bricks again & gone back to rubbish cladding on high rise.

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