Time Running Out for Landlords Meeting New EPC Rules (2018)

You are no longer able to let a property in England and Wales without an EPC rating of E or above. Over one million dwellings would not currently pass the new rules, and could face huge fines.


What Are the EPC Changes?

Landlords need to get a new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) certificate every ten years. Each certificate has a grade from A to G, rating the building’s energy efficiency.

Back in 2015 legislation was passed that means, from April 2018, both domestic and non-domestic properties in England and Wales will have to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES).

The minimum efficiency standard is set at an E rating for all types of domestic and non-domestic property.

England and Wales EPC rating distribution
Number of homes with each EPC rating in England & Wales

So which properties do the new EPC rules apply to?

  • domestic properties in the private rental sector
  • on a lease between 6 months and 99 years
  • Properties in England and Wales. (Scotland currently has a similar legislation that is already in place.)

Without an EPC rated E or above, landlords face civil and criminal penalties for signing a new tenancy, or renewing an existing tenancy, from 1st April 2018.  There are fines of up to £5,000 for landlords that are found in breach of the legislation.

Do the EPC Changes Affect Current Tenancies or just New Lets?

The 2018 rules only apply to new tenancies, but in 2020, the same rules will apply to all tenancies.

April 2018 Changes

After April 2018, if your minimum term ends, but you still have a contract in place, the rules won’t suddenly apply to your tenancy. Even if your last rating was below an E, you will be OK as long as you don’t renew your tenancy.

After your minimum term expires, your tenancy can run on as a periodic tenancy without renewal. Read more about what happens at the end of your minimum term here.

April 2020 Changes

In April 2020, the new MEES rules will apply to all existing lets. At this point, you will need an EPC rating of an E or above to let your property at all.

Even if your tenancy is already underway and you have no plans to renew, after April 2020, you will need to have an EPC rating of E or above or you could face fines.

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What Should I Do If My Rental Property Has an EPC that Is Lower than an E Rating?

If your last EPC rating was below an E, the first thing to do is to get an up-to-date EPC carried out. You can order a comprehensive EPC report with OpenRent.

EPC calculations are changing all the time and it is possible that you will receive a different rating to the one you got several years ago. If the property’s new EPC rating is still below an E, then you will need to make efficiency improvements to boost your rating before you let it out or renew your contract.

Your EPC report will have a list of recommended measures for improving your property’s energy efficiency performance. You will need to carry out enough of these measures to improve your score to above an E rating.

Example of EPC recommendations for improving domestic property energy efficiency

The recommendations in the table are cumulative. In other words, the rating in the ‘Rating After Improvement’ column shows you what the rating would be if you carried out that improvement and all the improvements above it in the table.

Speak to your EPC assessor if you are unsure about how to proceed with improvements. After the energy efficiency changes have been made to the property, you will then need to get another EPC to show the new energy rating.

Exemptions to New EPC Rules

In England and Wales, there are over one million domestic buildings with an EPC rating of F or G – that’s around 6% of properties.

There are some exceptions as to which properties must comply with the new regulations. These will only apply in a small number of cases. If one of these apply, you can register for an exemption on the central register, which was due to for launch in October 2017.

  • Devaluation: The required improvements will either cause damage or reduce the value of the property by 5% or more.
  • Consent: It is not possible to gain the consent for the works to be completed required from the tenant, lender or superior landlord.
  • Cost: The identified improvement measures are not cost-effective, either within a seven year payback, or under the Green Deal’s Golden Rule.

 


Tom Harrington is the Managing Director of EPC Online, one of the largest EPC providers in the country, carrying out over 2000 property visits every month. He is also Editor at Energy Assessor Magazine.

 

65 Replies to “Time Running Out for Landlords Meeting New EPC Rules (2018)”

  1. what about old listed properties that can’t have loft insulation/cavity wall insulation/double glazing? Are they exempt?

      1. My understanding of the regulations are that listed buildings will NOT automatically exempt and landlords have to be able to prove that the recommended and necessary efficiency modifications, would effect the building In a way that would not be permitted under a grade II listing? Is this not correct?

  2. The building regulations do currently allow traditional (pre 1914) dwelling to be exempt from thermal efficiency measures as this type of construction relies on the walls being able to breathe. In Western Britain it is often inappropriate to undertake such measures. Does anyone know if similar exemption are available with these rules?

  3. We have a HMO, which means the heating costs are included in the tenants rents and not charged individually. Due to this we are exempt, is this still so ?

    1. I only have the one house it is a 1940s ex pit house that I purchased from the. Council many years ago it is loft insulated it has cavity insulation does the changes affect me I’m not far off my 60th it’s very worrying

      1. My sympathies Penny, I am a single woman of 75 and managing two let flats on my own and doing quite a bit of the work myself so I know how worrying complying with new standards can be! Liz

      1. No – no minimum EPC rating required for rental properties in Scotland at present – only that you have <10 year old EPC certificate and display it within property. Looks like similar (But not identical) legislation to England is starting on 1st April 2019 and won't apply to existing PRT tenancies until 31/03/2022.

        See: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/04/2510/4

  4. What if the current EPC certificate was issued in 2010 (when the property was bought)? I’m planning to rent the property out in 2018. Nothing has changed since 2010, the rating would still be B in today’s measurements.

    1. Hi Rick, if you’re rating is a B, then the new rules won’t affect you. You will, however, need to order a new EPC before 2020 if the property’s previous EPC was performed in 2010, since EPCs must be performed every 10 years on rental properties.

  5. I have an EPC dating back to 2009 before my time. currently showing borderline F at 38 and could go to D 55.

    I had the condensing boiler serviced and the engineer was amazed that he was getting 98% is there anyway of showing that to an EPC guy as it says change the boiler to a Band A boiler and I would get D55. it seems pretty efficient to me! Plus I have put LED lights throughout since that was done. It is an old 1920’s terrace.

    1. Hi Jon, if you’ve made improvements since your last EPC, your rating could well have improved. As it says in the post, the first thing to do is get an up-to-date EPC and see if still have to make improvements to get an E or above before April 2018.

      Sam
      OpenRent

  6. Hi, I am a tenant and have not seen an EPC certificate. If the property I am living in fails these new EPC rules will I have to find somewhere else to live?

    1. Hi Bernie, if your landlord doesn’t have an EPC rating of E or above by April 2018, your tenancy will still exist. It’s just that they risk a large penalty fine for not complying. The first thing to do here is to ask your landlord to see their Energy Performance Certificate for your home. Landlords have been legally requried to do this since 2008.

    2. I am agreed with OpenRent, since 2008 EPC must have for selling and putting home on rent. You should ask to your landlord for EPC certificate.

      If the landlord have not yet it, Suggest him any consultant near you for legal advice.

    3. Yes, thanks to the governmental morons imposing this ONLY on the private rented sector! Whilst all council landlords and social landlords and other rental property providers don’t have to, much like fire regulations re Grenfell Tower. They didn’t need working fire alarms or sprinklers.
      How is it that tenants are safe in council and social landlord properties and apparently not in PRS properties??
      either its a must for everyone or its lipstick on a pig, no bloody good to anyone but it does handicap the target group!

  7. I live in a pre 1914 block of flats as a tenant. The building may or may not be listed. Will the new rules in 2020 enforce double glazing to be installed? It would have to pass listed building status. The walls are not cavity and the floors are timber. Surely the biggest waste of heat is through the single glazing of these sliding sash windows.

    1. Hi Stuart, the route via which buildings achieve the minimum energy efficiency standard isn’t specified in the new rules.

      Our EPCs come with a list of recommendations on how to improve the property’s energy efficiency rating, along with key factors like an estimate of how much they will cost. It is up to the landlord to assess these factors and choose the best options should they need to improve the building’s rating. It is not possible to know whether double glazing will be the best way to do this until an EPC assessment is made.

  8. In 2016 I had to have cavity wall insulation removed in my 1980s house via the guarantee – it was installed prior to my ownership.
    Black mould growth on external walls despite proper ventilation – caused issues and numerous complaints & threats from tenant.
    Survey showed cavity too narrow, & should never have been installed in first instance.Insulation was soaking wet in places.
    Also ( from my extensive research ) it is now considered inappropriate to install cavity wall insulation in houses on west side of UK , subject to driving rain etc etc ….. mine ticks all the boxes in which it is not a good idea!
    Cavity wall insulation is NOT the answer – cavities are there for good reason, and I would NEVER buy a house with it again because it was a complete nightmare to resolve, needing MP involvement in our area.

  9. I live in a rented property there is no consumer electric box just an old fashioned fuse box, double glazing in the windows need replacing, also the cooker and oven are wired up in the same box behind the oven, only found this out as a new oven was installed. Will all this need be felt with or will the landlord be fined?

    1. Hi Tracey, sorry to hear you’ve had some issues with your property. The only thing there that might affect the property’s EPC rating is the double glazing, and a fine would only ensure if you started a new tenancy after 2018 and the property’s rating was below an E.

      Regarding the electricity, the landlord has a duty to ensure that the structure of the property is safe, and this includes the electrical fixtures. They best way to ensure the safety of electrical fixtures is with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). If you are concerned about your safety, you might ask your landlord to order one.

      To give you an idea, you can take a look at what our EICR contains here: https://www.openrent.co.uk/landlord-electrical-safety-certificates-PAT-EICR

      Thanks,
      Sam
      OpenRent

  10. Electric hob & oven connected to a dual plat behind the oven is normal method now. however fuseboards should be changed to a consumer unit with MCBs for each circuit & RCCD protection for all 13A points.

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  12. Hi I live in preston lance were can I get a safety check done before I go to my landlord with the details about the house old windows/ old elc box/no bath just a shower thanks

  13. Currently rent the house and get on with landlady the house is ex council house but needs new bathroom , but I’m worried because we are happy here , but if landlady is forced to do changes she will sell the house and its very differcult to find rented accomadation here ,these new rules could put a lot of rented houses up for sale

    1. Hi Carol & Caz,

      If the property is going to be occupied for less than four months of the year, then the new minimum efficiency standards don’t apply.

      Hope that clears it up for you! Let me know,

      Sam
      OpenRent

  14. My commercial property that im renting has a low epc rating my landlord has just sold the freehold and new landlords have asked us to meet them halfway on the cost of getting the epc rating up? Is it our responsibility or theirs?
    Thanks

  15. My tenant has been in since Oct 2008. Good tenants. They are on a periodic tenancy and show no signs of wanting to leave. I have never had an EPC and it has never been suggested by my rental agent until this week. But do I need one (April 2018) while this tenant stays and will I need one in 2020 ?

    1. Hey Barry! After April 2018, you’ll only need one for new tenancies. I.e. if you sign any new tenancy agreements.

      After April 2020, you’ll need one for all ongoing tenancies, too. They last for 10 years, so you might as well get one now. Plus, if the rating is below an E, you’ll have loads of time to do the work to improve the property.

      Let us know how you get on!

  16. We rent a property next to the local swimming baths and our we have been renting the house since 1989 without a bathroom. We have a downstairs toilet. When we asked him in 1991 that we need a bathroom, he said just use the baths next door. We feel standards have improved now, and now we’re in our 80’s, we feel by law the landlord should provide a shower in the property. Would this affect the EPC rating ?

    1. Hi Arthur, Sorry to hear about your situation! It is already the law that your landlord must provide a fixed bath or shower supplied with hot and cold water! If you need help in making your landlord supply this, then you should contact your council at the soonest opportunity, or get in touch with Shelter or Citizen’s Advice or call on 03454 04 05 06.

  17. I own a leasehold rental flat in an older building where the freeholder is responsible for the windows and roof of the building. What is my position if the EPC does not exceed the required value ?

    There is very little that I can do to improve the EPCvalue within the Flat.

    1. If the freeholder refuses to consent to the necessary improvements, then this can be grounds for claiming an exemption. The first thing to do is to get the EPC done and then see if you need to make improvements. The assessor will also be able to advise you about exemptions in your situation.

  18. What about conservation areas? I have two properties that have been converted into self contained flats and all building regs/planning permisssions. But they both have original sash windows on the front elevations, to replace these with double glazed units will not comply with the conversation order rules. From reading the government advice it isn’t clear if I should get the EPCs done at all, as if I do I would then have to apply for exemptions.

    1. If the property is listed or officially protected, then it can qualify for an exemption. If, for example, official protections forbid works that are required to bring the property’s EPC score up to an E or above, then it you may well be able to get an exemption.

      You should still order an EPC however, as the law is clear that you need either a valid EPC scoring above E or an exemption.

  19. My understanding of the recent EPC legislation is if the AST’s fixed period ends after April 1st a subsequent statutory period Tenancy is considered a new Tenancy and the property therefore has to be at least an E rating.
    In other words, if the EPC is not E or better, the legislation now means the Landlord cannot allow the Tenant to remain at the property when the AST’s fixed period ends after April 1st.
    Comment please.

  20. Hi, I had an EPC Cert done in 2012, showed E rating, recommended many improvements, the basic two being the fixing of LED bulbs and new boiler, with which it will become D rated. I have done both. Can I now assume I am D Rated and in compliance and not do another EPC Cert until 2022?

    1. Hi Sree, if you’ve undertaken the recommended improvements, you’ll need to order a new EPC to reassess the new score of your property. If you already have a score of E, then you will be fine, since the new minimum score is E.

  21. Hi RentNow, as always you ob Top of everthing thanks..
    One questuon a parenlty Nottingham’s Landlords will need to hold „Landlords licence” which will cost around £500 every 5 years for each property 🙁 such a bad idea as costs more likely will be passed on to tenants rent…
    do you have any news about that?

    1. Hi Tomasz, Yes – many local authorities (like Nottingham City Council) have introduced ‘Additional Licensing’ for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). We’ve written an indepth guide about how this works, which you can read by clicking here.

  22. How long will Landlords be given to get the alterations done before any fine is imposed once a new EPC rating of F or below is done.

    Also are we saying that any Tenancy that is due for renewal, it is better to make it a periodic tenancy and therefore even if the EPC comes out lower than E then we have until 2020 to get the alterations amended?

  23. Hi Open rent,

    Just like to say a massive thank you for the information and time you have taken to go into detail and answer any questions people have regarding this, i have an EPC business of my own and i know the how much of a landmine it can be. Keep up the good work guys.

    Kind Regards

    Danny

  24. This is the reason we are being evicted after 17 years! Struggling to find another suitable home! Will end up living in car with 2 jack Russells!

  25. Hi,

    The info is a little confusing, it looks rather contradictory to me in a few places so basically my situation is this.

    I started renting in a house in september 2017 and the EPC was done and had a rating of F. My tenancy runs out in September 2018.

    So for my landlord to rent to me from September 2018 onwards, will she need a new EPC cert?

    1. No. Only if you renew the tenancy agreement. If you don’t renew (i.e. if you continue to live there, but don’t sign anything new) then she won’t, until April 2020, when she will.

  26. We are in the process of selling our 1820 granite/cob cottage. We have recently completely renovated it…it has a current epc of f. This is the best it is ever going to get as the only thing that can improve it would be cavity wall insulation,which is impossible in cob construction. Would the cottage come under the exemption rules as our purchaser says that when they complete they want to rent it out but they won’t complete until we have sorted it out! Thank you

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