A leading mortgage broker has warned that government efforts to force landlords to upgrade properties to a minimum ‘E’ EPC rating are beginning to filter through more frequently into the mortgage lending system.

It has been illegal to rent out a property with a EPC rating of F or G since April 2018 but, as LandlordZONE reported recently and despite fines of £5,000, landlords are very lightly policed; at best 6% of local authorities taken enforcement action recently.

Instead, the government has sought to enforce compliance at arms-length by requiring buy-to-let mortgage firms to check if a property has the minimum legal EPC before lending. This can be checked online via the government’s digital service, but it’s currently only a guideline.

“Where a rating of below E is identified, the customer may be required to carry out the work prior to completion or after completion pursuant to an undertaking,” says legal firm Colman Coyle.

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EPC complications

“But despite this, these guidelines have only recently begun to show themselves within the mortgage lending process”, says Dan Lee (pictured) of Total Landlord Mortgages, who is seeing more loans held up by EPC rating complications.

He currently has four which are being re-assessed. “What few landlords realise is that it’s the surveyors who hold the key here – lenders in reality only suspend a mortgage application if a surveyor highlights that a property doesn’t have the correct EPC rating,” he says.

“Nevertheless we’re seeing more of these initial suspensions coming through and it means we have to work hard with the lenders and landlords to obtain the EPC – it’s a complication at a time when the property sales process is already weighed down by the post-lockdown buying boom.”





3 COMMENTS

  1. “at best 6% of local authorities taken enforcement action recently”. This is horrific but not entirely unexpected. Councils are trying to deflect the spotlight for poor property quality by insisting LL licensing will improve matters when they themselves are to blame by not enforcing current rules. So what are Landlordzone doing with this report? You should be waving it under relevant noses, vigorously.

  2. Years ago I warned that BTL would stop lending yo LL with EPC less than C.

    It was obvious to me that they would.
    A rental property with E status won’t last a mortgage term.

    BTL lenders will naturally not wish to lend to anything less than EPC C status as they in 5 years for new tenancies C status will be requited.

    I’m amazed how dopey LL are not to have realised this years ago

    Lenders might even call in mortgages where the LL hadn’t achieved EPC C status.

    Lenders would be TOTALLY justified in doing so.
    This because the LL will have failed to let the property on an AST as required in mortgage conditions this due to the LL not having achieved EPC C status so being prevented from letting.

    LL really do not want to be holding less than EPC C status properties in 5 years time as they will find lenders require repossession or sale of the property.

    Lenders would be totally justified in repossessing rental properties that don’t meet EPC C status in 5 years time.

    The solution for LL is to sell these dud properties to dopey FTB who won’t realise that their future sale market will exclude LL who won’t be interested in buying less than C status properties unless at a massive discount and cashbuyers only as lenders won’t lend on anything less than C status.

    I just don’t consider that LL fully understand the effects of MEES on their business.

    If they don’t wise up and sell these will be stuck with these unlettable properties and not letting them would be breach of mortgage conditions.
    Lenders will want these BTL mortgages returning.

    This will cause mass tenant 2 homelessness.

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