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Energy efficiency legislation countdown begins for landlords
Recently, new legislation has been passed that will make it easier for tenants to rent more energy efficient properties.
Called the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, the regulation introduces measures to improve the energy efficiency of rented properties in England and Wales. Both domestic and non-domestic private rented property is included in this legislation.
The regulations are the first instruments to be made using the powers conferred by the Energy Act 2011. The Act places a statutory duty on the Secretary of State to make regulations implementing the tenants’ energy efficiency improvements provisions by 1st April 2016.
The property industry will need to review the legislation carefully and take the regulations into account now, with start and enforcement dates beginning in the autumn of next year. The dates are phased in stages.
What are the regulations?
The new regulation states that from 1 October 2016, all private rented properties must have a minimum energy performance certificate of band ‘E’. Landlords will not be able to take on new tenancies after this date without making energy improvements. Then, after 1 October 2018, for any domestic property below an E rating, these regulations will apply to all existing tenancies. This date is 1 October 2023 for non-domestic properties.
By making the regulations clear well ahead of their application date, and by phasing in requirements over time, all participants will have time to take voluntary action, reduce their costs of complying, and decrease the need for enforcement of the legislation.
Who must comply?
All buildings requiring an EPC will be part of the legislation. Therefore, buildings due to be demolished, used as a place of worship, listed buildings, or other exemptions do not have to comply. However, these are the minor exceptions to the rule.
Currently, around 20% of non-domestic property with an EPC is rated ‘F’ or ‘G’. Those landlords in possession of such buildings will need to take into account financial and reputational loss when their non-compliant property is valued. Lenders will most likely have greater focus on the energy rating of a building when the legislation is implemented, and they may require borrowers to bring properties up to standards before any money is released.
What happens if I don’t?
It makes sense to begin upgrading your property now if you fall into the ‘F’ or ‘G’ ratings. You will save money in energy bills in the long term, thereby making your property more attractive to lease. There are many Green Deal options out there to help your business become more energy efficient without costing you a fortune up front.
Local Authorities will enforce the regulations for domestic properties, while non-domestic properties will most likely be enforced by Trading Standards. The penalties for a breach of compliance are civil, not criminal. There could be a financial penalty, a publication penalty, or both. Penalties will range from £1,000 for giving false or misleading information on a domestic property, up to 20% of the value of a non-domestic property for failure to comply.
Domestic tenants will benefit, too
This legislation will be a boon for domestic tenants who are so often overlooked by legislation. From 1 April 2016, domestic tenants will have the power to request the landlord’s consent to energy efficiency improvements which require no up-front or net cost to the landlord. It even places a duty on the landlord not to unreasonably withhold consent.
This is great news for all tenants, in that poorly performing buildings won’t put such a strain on tenant’s energy bills going forward. It is especially good for the domestic market. Tenants often have very little choice around their energy usage in older or less-well-maintained properties, and landlords have been slow to respond to the voluntary approaches to energy savings in the past.
However, in practice this means that landlords still can wait for another three years before making any improvements. Also, while an ‘E’ rating is acceptable, the legislation doesn’t go far enough in ensuring that buildings are as energy efficient as possible. The UK has commitments under the Climate Change Act 2008 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Domestic and non-domestic buildings account for around 37% of the UK’s total carbon emissions (as at 2009 figures) – landlords could play a huge part in this reduction.
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If you are interested in obtaining an energy performance certificate fast and efficient we suggest that you fill out the form below and pay online. Within a maximum of 48 hours a qualified EPC-SPAIN.COM assessor will contact you to organize a visit to your home to issue the energy performance certificate.
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Between 100m2-200m2 – 195€ + IVA
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What is a HomeBuyer Report?
The HomeBuyer Report, previously known as the Homebuyers Survey and Valuation (HSV) and often still referred to as a Homebuyers Survey, was introduced in 2009 and is completed within a standard format as laid down by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The HomeBuyer Report is recommended for conventional, newer homes, which are in reasonable condition. It is the most frequently undertaken survey which provides a more in depth report of the condition of the property and will give you professional advice to allow you to make an informed decision of whether to go ahead with buying a property.
The HomeBuyer Report will not detail every single aspect of the building, but it does spotlight urgent matters that have a substantial effect on the value of the property and need attending to or further investigation. It will include all major sections of a property that are visible to the surveyor, so they will not lift up floors or carpets and wiring will not be included.
HomeBuyer Reports are completed by RICS Chartered Surveyors. To get the expert and independent advice a Chartered Surveyor can offer, you can compare quotes from professional and experienced surveyors here at Abbey Broadway.
If you have a property that is in need of renovation or that you intend to alter, we recommend you commission the more comprehensive Building Survey from a RICS Chartered Surveyor.
What is included in a HomeBuyer Report?
The HomeBuyer Report includes details of:
A current valuation of the property as for the open market.
Background information on the property and location.
An estimate for the cost of re-building the property for insurance purpose.
An assessment of any damp-proofing, drainage or insulation in the building. Drains are not tested.
Condition of the building’s timbers and checking woodworm or rot.
Damp test results taken from the walls.
Details of urgent problems which should receive specialist attention before signing a contract.
Details of major faults in easy to get to parts of the property that may affect its value.
Although a summary of the survey will be present at the front of the report and a reminder of the urgent repairs will be at the end, it is always worth reading the report in full. The HomeBuyer Report is easily understood - written in plain English rather than technical jargon.
The RICS HomeBuyer Report has 3 condition ratings to evaluate and describe the condition of the property and how urgently it needs repairing. The conditions are defined by RICS as:
Condition Rating 1 – no repair currently needed.
Condition Rating 2 – defects that need repairing or replacing but are not considered to be serious or urgent.
Condition Rating 3 – defects that are serious and/or need to be repaired, replaced or investigated urgently.
If a surveyor reports findings that may be costly to remedy it can allow for the reopening of negotiations with the house seller on the price or you may wish to rethink your purchase of that property.
By comparing quotes from surveyors for a HomeBuyer Report you can get a professional inspection at a cost-effective price, as the trained eye of a surveyor will spot those potential issues that you would not be aware of. All of the surveyors on reallymoving.com are regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Top Tips for a better EPC rating
1. Try and make sure as many of your fixed light fittings as possible have low energy lamps fitted.
2. If you have a hot water tank, make sure there is plenty of insulation around it. Good insulation can make a significant difference to the rating.
3. Loft insulation. If we cannot see the loft is insulated because either we cannot gain loft access or because the loft is boarded over please have any paperwork available to prove loft insulation is fitted.
4. If you have cavity wall insulation which is not visible due to rendering etc, make sure you have the paperwork available.
5. If your double glazed windows were fitted after 2002 and the date is not visible in the units, please have paperwork available to show the installation date.
6. Boiler information: We will try to establish the exact make and model of the gas or oil heating boiler. Where this is possible, the exact efficiency of the boiler can be established. This is likely to be higher than the software default setting for that type of boiler. Establishing the boilers details from visual inspection can be difficult, so please have any information manuals or service history available.
Finally, when booking an EPC on your property make sure that you use a fully qualified and accredited EPC Man by using our web site. All of our members have passed the relevant examination and are fully accredited and qualified to undertake your EPC. Each assessor also has a full insurance policy in place to cover this work.
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