Some landlords are likely to be affected by the Government’s upcoming Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), as these key obligations and responsibilities to comply will largely fall on them. Specialist Landlord Insurance provider Just Landlords explains why it’s essential that landlords stick to the rules.
From 1st April 2018, it will be illegal to grant new tenancies or renew existing contracts if the building in question doesn’t meet the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E. As such, it’s important you’re able to get your property up to scratch as soon as possible, as it could greatly affect both your long-term and short-term finances.
Whilst the necessity of an EPC rating is not new, and the necessity of this certification came into place in 2008, the requirement for an E rating will now apply to nearly all buildings and tenancy agreements. As well as possibly incurring an upfront fine and fixed penalty, you might find yourself without tenants until your property meets the necessary standards, losing out on income, which can be avoided.
The most expensive consequence of failing to comply with the new MEES is a potentially hefty fine. If you don’t make sure your building at least holds an E rating before letting it out, and you still let it to tenants, you could be facing fines of more than £4,000, possibly even higher depending on the circumstances and your property.
At only £60 to £120, obtaining an EPC for your property is definitely a better option than possibly being fined thousands for not complying with the new MEES. You simply book a qualified assessor to inspect your property and assign you a rating. If it doesn’t meet the new legal requirement of E, some things you can do to improve it include:
- Changing lightbulbs to low energy versions
- Insulating your roof
- Ensure any cavity walls are filled (funding is sometimes available for this)
- Install renewable energy sources, such as a small wind turbine or solar panels
- Introduce a room thermostat, individual radiator valves or a boiler programmer
- Replace your old boiler with a more efficient model
Whilst it might not seem like the most appealing way of spending your hard-earned profits, especially if you don’t personally live in the building you own, you could greatly improve the quality of life of your tenants. Not only this, but if you should find yourself without tenants, you could attract potential tenants much quicker if your property complies with the new MEES, as well as increasing the value of your property if you come to sell if one day, or even the monthly rent price.
With potentially no tenants in the property until the EPC rating is improved, it could mean that months of rent are missed, meaning you’re losing out on valuable months of income. Not only does improving your EPC rating benefit any future tenants on cheaper fuel bills, but, if there is a period of time in which there is nobody renting the property, the landlord is generally responsible for bills. Especially during the winter, when turning the heating on in your properties helps keep damp and frozen pipes at bay, this will be much more cost effective for all involved if your property is more energy efficient.