That’s the warning from EPCforProperty director Andrew Whelan, speaking of provisions in the Energy Act 2011 that state it will be unlawful to rent out a residential or business property that does not reach an ‘E’ rating from 2018.
New building regulations
He said that new building regulations coming into force in April 2014 mean that a building likely to be ‘E’ rated now may fall into the ‘F’ category if it is reassessed later in the year.
Speaking at a recent BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) London Region meeting, Whelan said: “Don’t think that if your property is ‘E’ rated that it will automatically be safe.
“EPCs (energy performance certificates) are triggered by a sale or a letting, so they are often done as quickly and cheaply as possible. Often the square metre-age is wrong and it’s full of default assumptions, so don’t automatically think if the EPC is a poor rating, the property itself actually has a poor rating.”
Under the act, pub landlords with residential lessees in their properties will also be required to consent to energy efficiency improvements, if reasonably requested by their tenant, from April 2016.
Green Deal concerns
Whelan also expressed his concerns over the Government’s Green Deal scheme, a loan allowing property owners to make energy-saving improvements and pay the costs back over time.
The repayment obligation of the loan sits with the property and will transfer to any new occupier.
“It seems quite simple, but in reality it is an extremely complicated process — it’s very long-winded and an absolute nightmare to administer,” he said.
“Approximately 130,000 Green Deal assessments have occurred, but only 1,600 plans have actually been approved. Everyone is running away from it.
“How many of us here would buy a property that has a loan attached to it? I wouldn’t. I would want that loan to be paid off and Green Deals generally last 20 to 25 years.”
Energy efficiency recommendations
■ Check your lease to see if the tenant or the landlord is liable for statutory compliance costs.
■ Consider fitting LED-lighting throughout the property.
■ Invest in an accurate EPC assessment rating.
■ EPCs are valid for 10 years, so immediately lodge all EPCs that have a rating of D or better.