Landlord groups have expressed their frustration at being expected to obtain Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) during the pandemic – despite fines being handed out to the general public for minor breaches of lockdown rules.

Updated government advice for landlords and letting agents reiterates the need to arrange for an accredited assessor when selling or letting a property, despite it not being essential safety work.

Its guidance for England and Wales states that if they can’t arrange an energy assessment, it should be rescheduled, adding: “If all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain a valid EPC but this has not been possible, a further 21 days are allowed as a grace period. After this period, enforcement action can be taken.”

Giles Inman, EMPO’s business development director, says it’s particularly frustrating that the government expects landlords to do this work as well as shoulder other repair obligations, while local authorities haven’t been doing any inspections since last March.

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However, he tells LandlordZONE that landlords can protect themselves if they’re unable to access a property: “We tell our members that written evidence is key – if they can get a tenant to either send a text or email them to explain why they don’t want to admit them to the property, this will cover a landlord.”

The National Residential Landlords Association has called for delays or an extension to the expiry date of non-urgent inspections, just as the government has allowed for vehicle MOTs.

selective licensing

John Stewart (pictured), deputy policy director, tells LandlordZONE: “The impact of extending EPC renewals would affect relatively small numbers as they are valid for 10 years, and at worst this would mean a few non-compliant properties will be let for a short period.”

Read more news about EPCs.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not the EPC that’s a problem it’s the new ruling for every rental to have an EICR by April.
    This can be much more invasive as it takes longer and can lead to extensive and intrusive work in every room of the property. More time should be allowed if tenant don’t want workmen in their homes.

  2. Your correspondent has hi-lighted the major flaw in the current domestic dwelling Energy Performance algorithm (the software program calculating EP scores).

    The EP algorithm was born as a part of the ill-fated Home Information Pack in 2004, in the days when we weren’t so concerned about global warming. The algorithm has changed little since then.

    At the time, energy units (kWh) supplied by gas and by Economy-7 night-time electricity were much cheaper than a regular (all-day) units – and they still are – which meant that a consumer who heated a home by these means could afford (literally afford) to be more wasteful of energy. So the EP algorithm was deliberately fiddled to award far more points for gas heaters and night-time storage heaters than was justified, yielding higher EP Classifications in those cases than they actually merited.

    Of course this built-in fiddle in the algorithm made a complete nonsense of an EP rating supposedly making an objective assessment of the intrinsic energy performance of a domestic dwelling.

    The number of all-electric homes will increase vastly as domestic use of natural gas is phased out – let’s remember that after 2024/5 there will be no methane gas supplied to new-builds and unrepairable combi-condenser boilers will have to be replaced by electric boilers – and the long-overdue revision of the EP algorithm will have to happen before then. (In my professional opinion, replacing piped methane with piped hydrogen is a completely uneconomic non-starter – forget it.)

    The climate in 2021 onwards will continue to warm. It doesn’t distinguish between a kWh energy unit from heating with gas and one from heating with electricity!! All kWh energy units are equal to climate warming, regardless of the source, and should be treated as such for EP calculation purposes. Some are NOT “more equal than others”, and never have been, even if the EP algorithm then – and still – believes that they are.

    David Stuart Emmerson
    former professor of physics (rtd)
    Comments cc to: ekonetta@outlook.com

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