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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

How landlords can hit their new EPC targets – as cheaply as possible

How landlords can hit their new EPC targets – as cheaply as possible

Upgrading Rental Properties to Meet New Energy Efficiency Standards

The UK government has unveiled ambitious plans to upgrade the energy efficiency of rental properties over the next several years. By 2028, all rented homes must achieve a C rating on their Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a measure of energy efficiency.

This poses a significant challenge for landlords, who will need to make potentially costly upgrades to their properties. However, with careful planning and prioritization of improvements, hitting the new targets can be affordable. This article explains the new regulations, breaks down the costs of key upgrades, and provides tips for making rental properties more energy-efficient on a budget.

Understanding EPCs

An EPC rates a property’s energy efficiency from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). Having a valid EPC is already legally required when renting out a home. Landlords with F and G rated properties can currently be fined up to £5,000.

The rating is based on factors like insulation, heating systems, and renewable energy generation. The accompanying report recommends improvements to reach higher ratings.

With the new standards, all rented homes must achieve at least a C rating by 2028. Landlords could face fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliance.

Why Is This Happening?

The regulations are part of the UK’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Because over one-fifth of UK homes are rented, improving their efficiency is essential for meeting national climate goals.

There are also huge financial incentives. More energy-efficient homes have lower bills, making them appealing for tenants concerned about rising prices. Upgrades like insulation also increase property values.

Where to Start: Low-Cost, High-Impact Upgrades
Reaching a C rating does not necessarily require expensive technology like solar panels or heat pumps. In fact, most older rentals just need basic insulation and draught-proofing.

Prioritising cheap, simple upgrades makes the most financial sense:

– Insulate the loft and cavity walls. Typical costs: £600-1000. Annual savings: £300-400.

– Install energy-efficient LED light bulbs. Costs as little as £15. Saves up to £40 per year.

– Seal draughty doors, chimneys, vents, and gaps around pipework. Costs less than £100. Can reduce bills by £55 annually.

– Lag pipes to prevent heat loss. Under £30 for DIY materials. Saves around £25 per year.

Many local authorities and energy providers offer heavily discounted insulation schemes or free efficiency upgrades to low income households. Landlords can pass on installer contact details to tenants to arrange installations.

Sourcing Reclaimed Materials
Used insulation, doors, windows and more can often be acquired for free or cheaply:

– Check online reselling platforms like eBay and Gumtree.

– Use apps like Sustainability Yard to find reused building supplies.

– Ask if local construction firms have unwanted materials they plan on skipping.

How Much Will It Cost?

A proposed cap limits mandatory upgrade costs to £10,000, with a sliding scale based on property value. However, most landlords spend far less.

A mid-range property needing insulation and new windows/doors can be upgraded to a C rating for around £5,000-£7,000. An extensive renovation with new heating could approach the cap, but is unlikely to be mandatory.

Crucially, costs should be weighed against the financial benefits like higher rents and house prices for improved buildings. Well-chosen upgrades often pay for themselves within a few years.

Advanced Upgrades: Effective but Optional
Measures like heat pumps and solar power can further boost efficiency, but come at a greater initial expense while not always improving EPC scores. They typically cost £5,000-15,000 fully installed.

Many landlords are hesitant about such major investments until they have exhausted basic upgrades. Especially as subsidies and regulations continue evolving.

However, forward-thinking landlords may reap benefits like lower tenant energy bills and a competitive edge attracting eco-conscious renters. The futureproofing allows easy compliance with tightening requirements down the road.

Navigating the Upgrades
Upgrading older properties can be daunting, but help is available:

– Consult a qualified assessor on ideal improvements for your building and realistic costs.

– See if your local authority offers any landlord energy efficiency schemes or discounted installations.

– Consider using a trusted contractor to project manage the upgrades end-to-end.

Tenants can also coordinate smaller jobs like draught-proofing if liability is clearly communicated beforehand. Engaged tenants are the most satisfied!

The Road Ahead

While boosting rental property energy efficiency requires upfront effort and expenditure, owners stand to gain higher rents, home values and quality tenants. Carefully planned, cost-effective upgrades done properly the first time can save money and hassle over time.

With sound guidance and realistic budgets, landlords can meet the new EPC targets affordably, even if buildings need extensive renovation. Through open communication and harnessing available support, owners and tenants can cooperate in creating comfortable, efficient rental homes.

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