An energy expert has sought to reassure landlords that they may not need to spend huge sums retrofitting their properties to raise EPC ratings – at least not in the short term.

Jonathan Murton (pictured), director of energy efficiency consultants Murton & Co, says landlords should think carefully about how they spend their money as some retrofit measures won’t have as much impact on an EPC.

As electricity is considered a dirty fuel, for example, putting solar panels on a property could have a more significant impact on its rating than improving wall and window insulation, he tells LandlordZONE.

Under Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), EPC regulations are being revised so that the minimum rating (currently a band E) will become a band C from 1st April 2025.

This means that landlords will need to upgrade their properties to achieve an EPC band C before they can grant a tenancy. But the government has said that eventually, these properties will have to attain a ‘B’ rating.

But Murton adds that if works are estimated to cost more than £3,500, landlords can apply for a five-year exemption, while changes to building regulations set for June mean that they could find themselves with a better EPC rating if they get an assessment in July.

No guarantee

One worried landlord shares many others’ concerns that EPCs are not ‘fit for purpose’ when he says that even if a property has roof insulation, double glazing and a modern combi-boiler along with LED lights, it won’t guarantee a C-rating on an EPC.

The landlord, who owns a Victorian property in the Scottish borders, in a village that’s without gas, says it has insulated walls, double glazing and the thickest loft insulation – but despite all these improvements, it still only has an EPC just above an F, he tells LandlordZONE.

“The only other possibility is putting on solar panels at a cost of £7,000. I feel that if you do these things as a homeowner you might save money but because I’m a landlord I’m being penalised. I now plan to sell the house as soon as the tenant moves out, mainly because I can’t get around the regulations.”

Murton admits that while the EPC system is not perfect, it’s the best tool to quickly identify the energy performance of a particular building and how this compares with other buildings.

He adds: “It’s true that whatever you do to some houses, they might not get a C rating, however landlords should talk to their local energy assessor and interrogate the EPC to work out an investment strategy.”

Read more about EPC confusion among landlords.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Tricia, you’re absolutely right, but the writing’s on the wall. I can’t see why the government would not implement the proposals. Landlords would be well advised to at least start planning for the uplift and not leave it to the 11th hour.

  2. As a small-time landlord I have modernised the flat I own on lease and rent out to a good standard and it incorporates all the practical energy savings I could reasonably introduce so it is probably just about a C. If it fails to get a C at next review (or in future maybe a B is needed) I cannot see what additional measures I can take as the freeholder is a “distanced” council organisation. Some of the flats in the block are rented out directly to tenants by them, and some are sold on leases (in my case) and rented out. How could I add solar panels, external wall insulation, heat pumps, or other measures that rely upon the block owner carrying this out across the entire block? And how do I know which extra measures would guarantee a C or B if this becomes mandated?

  3. As landlords, we have seen tax increases. The idea of increased taxation was in the Green Party’s manifesto. George Osborne stole their idea, he did n’t think things through. It was false claim that landlords were getting a tax break.

    Every business which borrows money, can treat bank interest as an overhead. Clearly Osborne knows nothing of accounting, if he did n’t understand such a basic point, then how can he be in charge of the economy. He studied History and lacks experience in finance. He was too busy helping big players, with their Built to Rent Schemes, REIT and Help to Buy…..

    Instead of landlords spending money on Green initiatives such as solar panels, insulation… Landlords have had to spend money on tax advisors and accountants, nutty licensing schemes and all sorts of regulations.

    Just because I am a landlord, does n’t mean I don’t care about the environment or climate change.

    Why did n’t the Greens have a tax break for landlords who put solar panels? Why was n’t that in their manifesto?. The Greens don’t care about the environment. They are a bunch of hypocrites. Deep down, the Greens are vindictive rather then genuinely caring about the environment.

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