EPC requirements for landlords – changes to the rules

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak scrapped the proposed changes to the EPC deadline for landlords in a shock announcement last year (2023). 

It’s part of a change to how the UK plans to meet its net zero emissions target by 2050. This will give landlords more time to improve the energy efficiency of their rented properties. 

In this blog, we look at the changes to the rules and ask: what are the current EPC requirements for landlords? 

Changes to the EPC requirements for landlords 

An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) provides information about the energy efficiency of a property. It includes a rating on a scale of A to G that reflects how much energy it takes to keep a property warm.

Previously, landlords were told they had until 2025 to improve the energy rating on their properties. Under the now-defunct plans, new tenancy agreements could only be negotiated on rented properties with an energy rating of C or above. 

Existing tenancies would not have been affected until 2028.

But last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak publicly ditched these deadlines in favour of a more “pragmatic approach” to climate change – a move welcomed by already stretched landlords. 

A new deadline has yet to be announced, but some existing requirements are still in place for rented properties. 

What are the EPC requirements for rented property? 

Rented properties in the UK must meet a minimum threshold for energy efficiency. These requirements are set out in the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) introduced in 2018. 

The rules state that rented properties should have a rating of at least E. Landlords renting out a property with a rating of F or G must have an exemption certificate or risk falling foul of the law.  

This applies to existing tenancies and new ones. 

How do you arrange an EPC audit? And how much is the required work likely to cost? 

What should landlords be doing to prepare?  

A new date has yet to be set for improving the energy efficiency of rental properties in the UK. Still, this issue will likely return with successive governments as we ebb closer to the 2050 deadline for achieving net zero. 

It makes sense to start improving your property now. What’s more, an energy-efficient home is cheaper to run and more attractive to potential tenants. 

An EPC lasts ten years regardless of how many times a property is bought, sold, or let. It contains recommendations broken down by priority. 

Start by tackling the top tier of recommendations first. This might include: 

  • Improving the property’s insulation  
  • Installing a new boiler  
  • Replacing single-glazed windows with double or triple-glazing  
  • Switching to low-energy light bulbs
  • Adding solar panels  

These improvements won’t be included in your energy certificate or reflected in its rating until the property is reassessed. You can find an EPC assessor on the government’s website.  

How much does it cost to improve your EPC? 

The size and age of your house determine the cost to improve your EPC rating. Some experts think you’ll need to spend around £4,700 to meet the requirements for a C rating. It’s likely to be a lot more than this for older and larger homes.  

The government has put a ‘cost cap’ in place to limit the financial burden on landlords and homeowners. You will never be required to spend more than £3,500 (including VAT) on energy efficiency improvements.

If your property is still rated below E (the minimum for rented properties) after you’ve spent £3,500 on improvements, you can apply for an exemption from the government. This is known as an ‘all improvements made’ exemption. 

You can read more on this and other exemptions on the government website

EPC requirements for landlords – FAQs 

Find the answers to your frequently asked questions about EPC requirements here. 

When did EPC become compulsory for lettings? 

The requirement to meet a minimum threshold for energy efficiency in privately rented property was introduced in 2008.   

How long does an EPC last for landlords? 

An energy performance certificate (EPC) lasts ten years regardless of how many times the property is bought and sold. Any improvements you make during that time won’t be reflected in the certificate until the property is re-assessed.  

Is it illegal not to have an EPC on a rented property? 

It is a legal requirement to have an EPC for a rented property. If you fail to provide a copy of the certificate to your tenant or don’t have a valid EPC, you risk being fined by your local authority. 

What makes a property exempt from an EPC? 

Privately rented properties must meet a minimum energy efficiency standard unless exempt. If the cost of making improvements to reach the threshold exceeds a certain value, you can apply for an exemption from the government. 

Find the full list of exemptions here. 

Have EPC rules been scrapped?

In September 2023, the government announced it was scrapping the deadline for landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their rental properties.  

Privately rented properties would have had to achieve an EPC rating of C to remain eligible for tenancy under the now-defunct plans. 

What are the new rules for EPC? 

A new target has yet to be set for improving the energy efficiency of rental properties in the UK, but some requirements still exist. Privately rented properties must achieve a rating of E or above to remain eligible for tenancy under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Do I need to install a new boiler?

New boilers are more energy efficient than their older counterparts. Replacing your old boiler might be one of the recommendations from your EPC audit. Arton Heating offer a full suite of landlord services in Kent and the surrounding areas.

Post author

Charlie Roughton

Date of post

January 8, 2024

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