What's the latest with EPCs?
Thu 16 Apr 2020
Effective 1st April, the second phase of the new EPC regulations came into effect, meaning F + G EPC Rated properties require improvements.
So, what is the latest government guidance regarding this, when the effective date happens to coincide with the lockdown of an entire nation during COVID-19?
We are proud of being experts on the local property market in Cardiff and we are equally proud of keeping a focussed eye on any changes to laws and legislation which may affect our clients.
One such change had been The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 which came into effect 1st April 2018 requiring private rental properties to meet a minimum level of energy efficiency. We first spoke about it back in July 2017, you can read the full article here.
The move related to Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) – An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years.
• They are needed whenever a property is built, sold or rented.
• It contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs as well as recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.
Part Three of the Regulations outlined that private sector landlords must not grant a new tenancy of a property they let (including an extension or renewal) after 1 April 2018 and must not continue to let the property (on an existing tenancy) after 1 April 2020, where the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is below the minimum level of energy efficiency for private rented properties of band E. After this date, it would be unlawful to rent out properties with an F or G rating. If your property does have an EPC rating of F or G, it either needs to be taken off the market or improvements implemented.
In short, properties are unable to be advertised where the home has an EPC rating of F or G, and as from the 1st of April 2020, this requirement extended to any property that has an F or G and there has been a tenant in situ since before the regulations came in.
Now, fast-forward 2 years, and we arrive at 1 April 2020, where the regulations now apply to all existing tenancies as well as new agreements.
Landlords are being urged to ensure their rental properties comply, but given we are in the midst of a national lockdown, what is the governments guidance?
On 2 April 2020, the UK Government confirmed that the legal requirement to obtain an EPC before selling or letting a property remains in place, but EPC assessments should only be conducted where safe to do so, aligned with government guidance relating to COVID-19.
- Where an EPC assessment needs to be carried out, the UK Government’s social distancing measures and guidance for carrying out work in people’s homes must be adhered to.
- EPC assessments can continue where a property is empty.
- No EPC assessments should take place if any person in a property is showing symptoms of Coronavirus, self-isolating or being shielded.
For property agents, we are also being advised to reschedule the appointment when it is safe to do so in accordance with Government guidelines on staying away from others.
Download the minimum energy efficiency standards factsheet here, published by ARLA Propertymark
Thanks for reading and if you have any other property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here.
Martine Harris MRICS FARLA
Head of Lettings