By the time you read this article, the Government’s ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards’ will be in force.
It’s too late to complain now – rents.works gave you a heads up back in November, and the legislation was actually passed in 2015. If you weren’t paying attention, you have no-one to blame but yourself.
Here’s the short version: If your property has an energy efficiency rating of below ‘D’, it’s now illegal to rent it out*.
Most houses in the second decade of the 21st century will be fine – after all, there have been dozens of incentive schemes to help you make your property more efficient, ranging from insulation grants to free boilers. For some of these you will have needed to get your tenant to apply, but really, it’s not much effort is it?
And now it’s here. And you’re panicking because your ‘F’ rated property won’t make the grade. Understandable, but before you set fire to the building in order to collect the insurance money, here are some last minute tips which could help you dodge the £4,000 penalty:
Make permanent changes
Patching up holes in the windows with cardboard will make the property warmer and will, in fact, improve your energy efficiency as the cold winds of winter won’t be able to pass so freely through the house. But it won’t do anything for your EPC rating. The powers that be will only look at permanent upgrades which improve the energy efficiency. Likewise, novelty draught excluders don’t count either. If there are gaps in the fabric of the building, fill them.
A little goes a long way
Energy companies have been sending unsolicited low energy lightbulbs through the post for years now. They work. If your property has 20 bulbs and you’re still using the old incandescent variety, then you’re wasting upwards of 1KW. It’s a lot, and although you could argue that the excess energy is being used to heat the house, and therefore isn’t wasted, that argument isn’t going to persuade the inspectors. For even greater efficiency, try LED lighting. You can now buy LED bulbs which fit existing sockets. They’re available in Poundland, so it’s not even expensive.
Keep the top covered
As many middle-aged men can tell you, a lot of heat is lost through the top. Heat rises, and although you can’t put a flat cap on your property, you can fit loft insulation. Why you haven’t already done so is beyond us. You’ve left it too late for government grants, but it still needn’t be expensive. As we enter the summer months, demand for insulation material goes down. Grab some now.
Replace the boiler. Now.
If the property is rated ‘E’ or lower, the chances are that the boiler is old and inefficient. God knows how you’ve managed to pass the compulsory gas safety checks. Buy a new one. Yes. They are expensive, but they’re less expensive than the fines. And you can have one fitted on finance.
Bear in mind that the £4,000 fine is just the start. If your property isn’t up to standard within three months, you’ll be hit with a fine of up to 20% of the property’s rateable value.
Whatever it takes get it done.
*Some limited exceptions apply – see here for more details
Image credit: gracelinks