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In the ever-evolving landscape of rental property management, UK landlords are facing significant changes. Most recently these changes include new energy efficiency regulations. 

The proposed legislation in England, Wales, and Scotland mandates that all rental properties must attain a minimum EPC rating of C or above for new tenancies by 2028. 

These measures are aligned with the broader mission to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

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With new laws looming, it’s important for Landlords to stay ahead of the curve to avoid hefty fines and ensure compliance. 

One cornerstone of energy efficiency lies in the efficiency of the heating system, particularly the boiler. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into what the impending legislation means for landlords and shed light on strategies to enhance boiler efficiency, in turn boosting Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings.

Staying Up To Date With New Legislation

Astonishingly, a recent study by the Mortgage Advice Bureau revealed that almost half of landlords (47%) mistakenly perceived EPC rating regulations as mere “guidance” instead of legal obligations.

Moreover, 18% of landlords were completely oblivious to the impending changes. This highlights the urgency of education and preparation in the landlord community.

Elevating EPC Ratings through Strategic Upgrades

Elevating your property’s EPC rating is a multifaceted endeavor, and focusing on boiler efficiency can yield substantial results. Here are some key recommendations:

Boiler Upgrade: Begin with your heating system, as it is a focal point of energy consumption. Consider replacing old boilers with modern, energy-efficient models. Opt for low-carbon heating systems in line with the net zero ambitions.

Insulation Investment: Roofs and walls are critical in maintaining a property’s heat retention. Installing roof and wall insulation can drastically reduce energy wastage. Cavity walls can be insulated with materials like foam or mineral fiber, while solid walls demand a more comprehensive approach.

LED Lighting: Simple yet impactful, swapping conventional bulbs for LED lights not only boosts EPC ratings but also cuts down electricity bills for tenants.

Heating Enhancements: Underfloor heating and heat pumps are emerging trends that not only contribute to efficiency but also future-proof your property.

Navigating Support and Initiatives

The UK government is rolling out a range of initiatives to facilitate energy-efficient transformations. 

Notable among these is the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which provides financial aid for transitioning from fossil fuel heating to eco-friendly alternatives like heat pumps. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) and the Great British Insulation Scheme further incentivise green upgrades, such as insulation installations.

Moreover, the government has temporarily reduced VAT on energy efficiency installations to 0%, stimulating adoption until 31 March 2027. Lenders are also introducing incentives for borrowers to enhance their property’s energy efficiency.

Unlocking Exemptions and Professional Support

Exemptions from energy-efficiency upgrades may apply under specific circumstances, such as potential property devaluation or insurmountable third-party permissions. Professional advice is crucial in aligning upgrade choices with EPC rating improvements, given the complex evaluation process.

In conclusion, the UK’s impending energy efficiency regulations demand an elevated understanding from landlords. Bolstering your property’s EPC rating not only ensures compliance but also fosters a more sustainable future. 

With the right strategies and proactive approaches, landlords can navigate these changes while simultaneously enhancing their properties’ value and tenants’ well-being. As the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero aptly states, landlords play a pivotal role in energising the nation’s transformation towards sustainability, all while improving property assets and tenant comfort.

* Daniel Tannenbaum is the founder at boiler comparison site Warmable *

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  • Ian Deaugustine

    I wonder why to write such a scary article on the matter. Indeed, all governments are against us landlords, but if they want mandatory class c by 2028, this means most or many landlords will no longer be able to rent their properties, and many tenants will have to live on the street, so they will not be able to enforce it.

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    There won't be any landlords left by 2028 if draconian rental legislation is implemented.

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    If not for the rouge landlords I don't think it would have happened.

     
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    You are absolutely right, Sandra, that there are some terrible landlords. I was a tenant in France, and was ripped off - an enormous rent- so I know how you feel.

    The arrangement between landlord and tenant has to be fair, and both parties have to be happy with all the terms of the contract.

     
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    To be quite accurate about my experiences as a tenant in France, I think the agent was keeping the bulk of the enormous amounts of cash money paid to him.

     
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    I don't understand Sandra's comment. Could someone please explain it to me. What wouldn't have happened?

     
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    I believe that Sandra was referring to the Renters Reform Bill.

     
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    Landlord: I can upgrade you to a C, but you will have to move out or suffer massive disruption for quite a while, and the rent will have to go up to pay for the improvements, whilst you will save a couple of hundred a year on bills.

    Actually, I probably can't afford to do the improvements as I'm not rolling in it and the government is taxing me to oblivion because making money out of providing a roof over your head which you haven't done for yourself is greedy and and evil, so I will just sell the property.

    Or you could refuse the works and ask for an exemption.

    Tenant: Exemption please.

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    • A G
    • 19 August 2023 10:18 AM

    It would also help if town planning authorities would work with the new legislation instead of against it. The block of grade ii listed apartments our business has had planning permission for double glazed windows rejected recently. This is the biggest single improvement required to increase the epc ratings and without it the building will never reach a C.

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    Planning is normally only concerned about how the building looks. Did you consider secondary glazing (almost as effective as double glazing) or hand made timber sash and case windows with double glazing (expensive particularly if their are lots of small panes of glass but normally planning approves as they are made to look the same as what they are replacing). You could also think of replacing the boiler to a more efficient one, adding loft insulation, photo voltaics etc instead of window replacement. You could also pay to get a full SAP assessment done and not just an rdSAP (reduced data)SAP domestic EPC as the more time consuming assessment method takes window sizes and orientation into account if your building benifits from solar heat gain. More than one way of getting to an EPC C without spending more money than necessary but you should get good energy advice first.

     
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    We have seen a big jump in Landord’s selling up, we have added new boiler to a few homes and the EPC didn’t change much at all still giving the property a “D”
    Loft insulated
    New Eco boiler
    Ele replaces all gas appliances
    It’s a stone wall 20 in thick Terrance .
    All LEDs lights added in 2020. And still EPC is “D”
    Cost to the Landord £4700.00 over 12 months
    So what happens next ?
    He will sell up

    As an agent we are been put under huge pressure with 1000s of non uk tenant trying to rent homes ..
    Landord’s do all that is asked, why are they been punished ..
    Why don’t you as a government do more and stop the amount of people coming into the UK?
    That will help with the abuse of the us Landord’s and less emission in the uk
    We are a small Island help your own first …

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    My boilers on its last legs. I get no help from gov so if I put one in how much will it push up the EPC number ? I need to get 3 points so can get it into the C band Will it? U think.

     
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    Trigger. You are in catch 22. If you switch from gas to electric, even a heat pump, you will lose points as this is how the EPC points stack up. It happened to me when I exchanged a gas fire for a split system heat pump in one room, mainly as the flue was faulty, but with an eye on the new regulations.

     
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    Since in my experience these EPC reports can differ a great deal depending on the assessor's opinion, what happens if your EPC renews in the middle of a tenancy and is downgraded from a C to a D. Happened to me. I just also checked the EPC's of all flats for a block of flats in which I have an apartment. All flats of identical construction and EPC's range from B to D.

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    It would be nice to know how changes will actually affect the EPC. There’s such an inconsistency that you can make changes and have little overall improvement. 2 bed Victorian terraced property. If I spend £8-£10k on solar (only way to get it to a C), how will I get that money back? Extrapolate that across the portfolio and I’d need huge cash reserves to do all the improvements which I don’t have. Only answer would be to sell

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    Solar is interesting and not remotely stable in its tax treatment, therefore financial viability. Early adopters had the Feed In Tariff which meant the systems paid for themselves regardless of who was paying the utility bills.
    Right now they are a disaster from a funding point of view unless your objective is simply to get a quick relatively cheap EPC uplift without any disruptive internal work to your property. It only takes one day to install an array.

    They are classed as a capital improvement so aren't tax deductible. If your property is bills inclusive it may eventually work out if you have a good import tariff , batteries and a big array. Utility providers are constantly introducing new tariffs so it is very much a work in progress.
    I'm a big fan of solar as a product and have panels on 5 houses. Three arrays are 12 years old and were one of the best investments I've made. The two new arrays also have batteries. The bigger one seems to be doing well but the smaller one is more questionable.

     
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    I have a house also down graded from C to D because I don’t have Certificate for Cavity Wall insulation, even though it was done with Government Scheme so they should have a record and it was counted 10 years ago. Installers didn’t issue the Certificate’s, That’s a separate Insurance provided who insisted on sending them to the property address instead of the landlord, since when did Tenants pass correspondence to their LL.

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    😂😂 love these stories !! Like it’s all going to happen in just the way the legislation says 🤔🤔 as opposed to masses of us selling our D and E properties that will take a small fortune to upgrade 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️ Now let me think 🤔. 🆘 SOS for tenants me thinks.

  • Andrew Callear

    I would like to see accurate epc s some assessors seem to assume insulation when quite clearly there isnt any. So you end up with inflated energy efficiency ratings

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    Poor journo C rating is a proposal not gone through parliament. You’d think you’d learn by now landlord today!

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    As Gove let drop, this legislation will never see the light of day in its current form. Government never expected this mass exodus of landlords, their build to rent mates can't keep. Be under no illusion they want us gone but not at the current rate.

     
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    So true David Owen, this will impact the votes in the election 😱

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    Big fines should speed up the exit. I thought there was a shortage. Punishment is there answer to everything they don’t know much about getting the best out of people.

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    You couldn't be more right, Michael.

    They have the same threatening and coercive approach to the rental legislation. Since when has it been legal to force anybody to enter into a contract when they don't agree with the terms! That is wrongdoing on their part.

     
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    I was talking to a tenant recently about the EPC regulations (proposed). He asked what will happen to his family in 2028. Will they just have to move out? I suppose they will.
    I can't afford to upgrade my eight Victorian terraced houses (plus one slightly newer but still single skin brick walls) - they are all 'D' - so (at my age) I will have to sell.
    My mortgage on one has gone up from £281.89 to £857.87 monthly. That house is losing me money every month so will have to go at the next opportunity - so no spare money for energy upgrades.
    They are all well maintained by me and well cared for by good tenants.
    I have another house - one bedroom - built in 1985 - cavity wall insulation - loft insulation - double glazing - but all electric. It's the only one which is 'E'.
    The tenant is an alcoholic (not sure if he's actually 'recovering' or 'functioning'!) but he's a good tenant and keeps a clean house and nice garden. Where will he ever be able to get anywhere else?
    (I do have other houses which are 'C' . But a different assessor might down grade and I'd be in the same position as the others.)

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