Energy Performance Certificates of C for Let properties by 2025

ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES OF “C” FOR LET PROPERTIES BY 2025

The government still seems set to require all rented properties to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) of at least a “C” by April 2025 for new tenancies and by April 2028, for existing tenancies.

This follows news that the Green Homes Grant, which could have helped towards the cost of making buildings meet this standard was withdrawn at the end of March.

We all recall the Green Deal farce. The idea of this was that long term loans attached to an occupants electricity bills would pay for energy improvements. This failed to work – and I cannot be the only one who applied for other funding pots only to find the bureaucracy mind blowing and that most of the time the tenant did even not qualify anyway.

Given that over two thirds of privately let homes have an energy performance certificate (EPC) of grade D or below, this proposal will put some big costs onto landlords.

Even with ugly cladding on both the inside and outside of the UK’s Victorian and Edwardian era houses, (conservationists will love it!), many properties will still struggle to make it to Grade C, even if every other energy saving measure has been put in as well.

Of course, there is much hot air about heat pumps , but the price tag for these is also big and they do not produce as much reliable hot water as combi-boilers.

Personally, my view is that the government is serious about this.

It may even form part of an attempt to drive out small scale landlords from the private rented sector, so that the big pension funds can further expand without the “inconvenient” pesky small landlords, who easily out-compete them due to their greater efficiency.

Maybe it is all part of an even bigger plan – see Klaus Schwab’s famous quote: “You’ll own nothing but you’ll be happy”.

Mr. Schwab is the head honcho of the World Economic Forum – and if you are not familiar with his thinking, I suggest you check out his views. A good place to start is the reviews at Amazon of his book, “The Great Reset”.

Mr. Schwab is a “friend of Greta” and his plans for all of us are supposedly made more digestible by being wrapped up in the green agenda and carbon cutting to achieve a reduction in our carbon footprint – a matter on which, like the lockdown, face nappies and the safety of quackcines – the science is supposedy settled.

Mmm, they used to say this to Galileo and Copernicus too.

So, getting homes more energy efficient is very much part of what he likes to call “the narrative” – and if you end up impoverished as part of that goal, then so be it. “You’ll own nothing, but you’ll be happy” except, of course, someone else will own what you used to own.

Other madness being planned are as follows:

The Renters Reform Bill

The plan here is to remove so called “no fault evictions” and also bring in some sort of lifetime deposit model. How the latter will work when a tenant moves and their previous landlord is still working out if he needs to retain any money from the deposit for damages and unpaid rent is anyone’s guess. It looks to me like a solution looking for a a problem.

The reasons for eviction under section 8 would also be changed.

No fault eviction has already gone in Scotland and I don’t think too much is to be feared, especially if it could come with a dedicated housing court – and if landlords could repossess for valid reasons like wanting to move into the property themselves or because significant refurbishments were required.

Of course, tenant selection would be more important than ever, given that they could stay in your property for a very long time indeed. So reference and affordability checks would essential to get right.

I predict that this would make landlords even more reluctant to accept tenants who are dependent on benefits, especially as the housing benefit element of Universal Credit, can only usually be paid to the tenant. I doubt whether folks like Generation Rent or Shelter have even considered this consequence.

And how it would work in the student markets, where one or two year tenancies are the norm, is anyone’s guess.

The Landlord Register

Yes, that old chestnut – the landlord register – is still around. But if it is light touch and can be made to work to somehow drive the idiots out of the market, then all good.

Tough Year

It has been a tough 16 months with furlough to contend with, tenants losing incomes and repossessions curtailed, not to mention the ongoing cladding issue, which has clobbered many owners of newish-built flats, but which has made many surveyors, lawyers and insurers richer.

On top of all that, the government still insisted that all landlords completed their five yearly electrical safety checks by April 2021. Yes, whilst landlords could not evict non paying tenants, no extensions to meeting the new Niceic-led standards for the “pandemic” were allowed to landlords.

The ever-changing electric regulations, under the direction of NICEIC, who like to portray themselves to government as an “official body”, has ensured that landlords have been left with lots of work to do and hefty costs. This will often include new consumer units, bonding to gas and water pipes and replacing non-compliant lighting, especially in bathrooms.

Good Year

But house prices are up strongly in most areas and so are rents, with the exception of big city centres, but even here, the rents have now bottomed out in most places. And mortgage finance is still at record low levels, (though I expect interest rates to be higher by Christmas).

So, still much to be positive about.

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