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LANDLORD: This is how much my BTL flat cost to upgrade from EPC 'D' to a 'C'

epc London costs|

There has been much in the press about the looming EPC 'tsunami' about to hit the sector as the Government prepares to enact laws that will see all private rented homes required to reach a 'C' energy rating by 2028 at the latest.

LandlordZONE reported only last week that the official English Housing Survey estimates upgrading work for landlords will cost between £5,000 and £15,000 depending on the property.

The report revealed that energy efficiency improvement costs for most private rental homes work out at between £5,000 and £9,999 (46%), while almost a third (30%) could be improved for under £5,000.

At the other end of the scale, 19% of homes would cost between £10,000 and £14,999 to improve to at least an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) band C, and a further 5% of homes would require £15,000 or more.

But there is growing unease about these figures in some quarters, particularly when many landlords quitting the sector cite the looming cost of EPC upgrades as a key reason.

I would point out that the Government has yet to reveal the final form of its new EPC rules following its consultation back in September 2020.

Real cost?

But what will an EPC upgrade to a minimum 'C' band really cost? I decided to put this to the test at my own rental property in South West London, a purpose-built two-bedroom ground floor garden flat built during the 1890s.

Some years ago it gained a weak 'D' rating and ever since, like millions of other landlords in the UK, I have been fretting about what to do about the looming deadline of 2025 or 2028, whichever the Government sets as the cut-off date.

Let's remember, landlords of rental properties after these dates will have to provide proof of an EPC 'C' certificate in order to rent them out legally.

I enlisted the help of James Tanner, an energy efficiency consultant who I had talked to earlier this year about the real cost of green upgrades, to arrange an inspection of my property.

Boiler bonus

The good news for me, and I suspect for many other landlords with elderly properties like mine all over the UK, is that this maisonette achieved a good '�C' following the recent installation of Worcester Greenstar 4000 25kw boiler.

This was not because I had particularly sought to 'go green' but rather the old boiler was leaking water and rapidly approaching the end of its life.

So for me, the cost of reaching a 'C' band EPC was £3,000 which, my invoice shows, included the supply and installation of the boiler.

Poor walls

This change alone helped the property reach the 'C' goal despite many other areas of the flat being '£poor' including a lack of any wall insulation, old fashioned double-glazing and drafty floorboards.

The upgrades required to fix these two areas of weakness, Tanner concluded, would cost between £4,000 and £14,000 for the wall insulation and £800 and £1,200 for the floors. But for this purpose, they were not needed.

Before readers breathe a sign of relief, I would point out that the apartment still produces nearly two tonnes of carbon a year, and that it is therefore a long way off being 'zero emission', the Government's goal for the whole of the UK by 2050.

That aside, in the short to medium term, it is clear that some of the warnings that EPC upgrades will put landlords under financial duress and even bankrupt them, may be wide of the mark. In my case they were but for others with larger and less-well-built properties, they may not. Time will tell.

Nigel Lewis is editor of LandlordZONE.


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