Landlord EPC Requirements, New Eviction Rights and More
As a landlord, you need to keep abreast of the latest regulations and updates for rental properties across England and Wales. In the UK, new changes have been introduced regarding eviction rights to replace Section 21, and you also need to be aware of the changes in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings. If you’re investing in property, it’s crucial to understand these updates to ensure that you’re complying with the law and that your rental properties are up to standard. In this post, we’ll be covering what landlords need to know about the new eviction rights, EPC ratings, and the deadline extension.
1. New Eviction Rights for landlords
One of the significant changes for landlords is the introduction of new eviction rights to replace Section 21. Section 21 allowed landlords to regain possession of a property without any specific reason after a fixed-term tenancy came to an end. However, tenants could be evicted without any reason, with only two months’ notice. The new eviction law, which came into effect on March 29th, 2021, requires a valid reason for eviction. As a landlord, you can only use the new ‘Section 8’ notice to regain your property if there’s a valid reason, such as rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.
In March 2023, the Government has recently come up with a new set of measures to tackle antisocial behaviour, including drug testing and harsher penalties for littering and graffiti. Additionally, landlords are now empowered to kick out troublesome renters within two weeks, essentially those who prove to be a nuisance for the neighbours, cause property damage or skip rent payments. How effective these measures are remains to be seen, but it’s a step in the right direction towards curbing antisocial behaviour.
The plan now requires landlords to put clauses that prohibit antisocial behaviour in all new rental agreements. Instead of the four weeks’ notice period, landlords can give tenants two weeks’ notice to remedy the problem. This change will allow landlords to evict tenants on the basis of any behaviour that can cause disturbance or nuisance. The plan aims to better facilitate the eviction process for landlords dealing with problematic tenants. The courts will prioritize these cases, with judges considering the impact on landlords, roommates, and neighbours. These changes come on the back of research findings, which reveal that one in four social housing tenants are affected by antisocial behaviour.
2. Changes to EPC Ratings
Recent developments in England and Wales have made Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings more stringent for rental properties. The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) was introduced in 2018, raising the EPC band from an E rating to a D rating. As of April 2021, all new and renewed tenancies must have an EPC rating of D or higher. If you’re a landlord with an existing tenancy in place for your rented property, it’s essential to arrange for an energy assessment of your rental properties to ensure they meet the EPC new standard.
EPC rating of C or above by 2025 and what this means for Landlords
The government’s mandate that all new tenancies must have an EPC rating of C or above by 2025 is causing concern among landlords, who are worried about the initial costs of upgrading their properties. According to The Telegraph, around 3,500 properties would need to be upgraded per day if targets are to be met in time. Specialist buy-to-let lender Paragon reports that the average cost of upgrading a property to EPC C is £10,560, with 77% of landlords prepared to spend up to £3,000. Landlords risk being fined up to £30,000 if they fail to meet the target. Unfortunately, there was little guidance surrounding the announcement of these changes, leaving many feeling confused and uncertain.
Extending the EPC Deadline for Landlords
However, recent rumours suggest that the government may extend the deadline, with the new deadline predicted to affect new tenancies from 2028. Such an announcement would bring relief to many landlords, but only if proper guidelines and support are in place to aid in meeting these new targets. It’s important to note that meeting the higher standard may have benefits for landlords, including increased property value and lower energy bills for tenants. Therefore, it’s worth exploring ways to improve your property’s energy efficiency and EPC rating. By doing so, you can ensure your rental properties are up to standard and avoid any penalties for non-compliance. You can find out more on this below.
Simple Ways to Raise Your EPC Band
In order to obtain an EPC, an Energy Assessment Survey must be conducted at your rental property. A Domestic Energy Assessor will conduct both internal and external inspections to assess the energy efficiency of your building and determine what level of efficiency could be achieved with improvements.
During the assessment, the assessor will inspect several key areas, including:
- The windows in the property
- Insulation in the roofs and walls
- The property’s boilers and heating systems
- The presence and efficiency of Renewable energy devices. For example, solar panels.
- Lighting used throughout the rental property
- Fireplaces in use and the efficiency of them
- The building’s measurements, that is, the size of the entire building
- The year the property was built.
3. Deadline Extension
The deadline for landlords to meet the new EPC rating requirement was originally set for April 1st, 2020. However, the deadline was extended to April 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was again extended to now potentially 2025, mandating that all new rental property tenancies must have an EPC rating of C or above by 2025. It’s essential to note that this deadline is still in place, and failure to comply with the new EPC requirements could result in hefty penalties. As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your rental properties meet the latest standards and regulations.
The property industry has been buzzing with talks on the deadline move. But, landlords are concerned about meeting the timeframe as well as the cost of making the necessary changes. According to recent research by the Mortgage Advice Bureau, two-thirds of landlords are thinking of selling their property instead of retrofitting to raise the EPC from C to E. This could be due to the costs involved, which are putting landlords under economic pressure with increasing living costs and high-interest rates. MAB’s Deputy CEO, Ben Thompson, thinks that delaying the deadline is a sensible move, but unless help is provided to support the cost of retrofitting, we could find ourselves in the same situation in a few years.
Sell up or Raise the EPC?
Impact on the buyer’s market
While it’s important for rental properties to meet the required energy efficiency standards and achieve their EPC bands, there could be benefits if many landlords choose to sell their properties instead of upgrading them for the buyer market. For one, it could lead to an increase in the supply of available homes, which could help alleviate the current housing shortage in some areas. This, in turn, could drive down housing prices and make it easier for people to enter the housing market.
Additionally, if many landlords opt to sell, it could create opportunities for first-time buyers or those who were previously priced out of the market. Finally, it could provide an opportunity for property developers to acquire land or properties and undertake regeneration projects that could benefit the wider community. However, it’s worth noting that the long-term effects of such a shift in the market would depend on various factors, including the demand for housing, the state of the economy, and government policies regarding housing and planning.
4. Importance of Compliance
Being compliant with the latest regulations and updates relating to rental properties is crucial. As a landlord, you need to be aware of your responsibilities and ensure that you comply with the latest laws. If you fail to do so, it could lead to legal issues, penalties, and, ultimately, damage to your reputation. Keeping your rental properties up to standard also helps to attract tenants, increase rental income, and retain tenants for longer periods.
Landlords must ensure that their properties meet basic standards for human habitation. This means that properties must be in good repair, structurally sound, and have proper ventilation. When making this determination, courts will reference section 10 of the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985, which outlines factors such as whether the building is neglected, unstable, or has issues with damp, inadequate light, or ventilation, or problems with hot and cold water. While landlords are normally expected to make their properties fit for habitation, there are some cases where they are not required to do so, such as problems caused by tenants or events beyond the landlord’s control. Nevertheless, if a property does become uninhabitable, landlords must address the issue in a reasonable time frame. If they don’t, tenants have the right to take legal action against them.
5. Seek Professional Advice
Given the latest changes and updates to the rental property market, it’s advisable to get professional advice from experts who can guide you through the compliance process. Contacting a property management company can be a good idea if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and expertise to navigate the new laws and regulations. A professional rental management company can help you with EPC assessments, ensure that your properties comply with the law, and provide legal advice.
You don’t have to use an agent to sell your property, as many people do it privately. However, turning to an agent can give you access to a wider range of potential buyers and make the process less stressful.
Choosing the right agent can be a tough decision because the UK has so many different types of agencies that range from listings-only services to full-service agencies that handle everything from viewings to sales. A good agent can provide value-added services such as property valuation, customised marketing, and organising viewings. They can also be a knowledgeable advisor throughout the process and help you reach your ultimate goal.
As a landlord or property investor, it’s imperative to stay on top of the latest regulations and updates that affect your business. The recently introduced eviction rights, changes to EPC ratings, and the deadline extension all require your attention. Non-compliance with these changes could lead to legal issues and penalties, so it’s essential to seek professional advice and ensure that your rental properties meet the latest standards. Ultimately, recognizing and reacting to updates and changes within the industry is necessary if landlords want to keep their business thriving in a post-COVID world.
Staying informed on the latest updates and changes in the UK property market is essential for landlords and property investors. If you own rental properties, you should keep an eye on changes in legislation that might affect your business, such as the introduction of new eviction rights, EPC changes, and safety standards. By being proactive and well-informed, you can ensure that you’re compliant with regulations, your properties are safe and welcoming environments for tenants, and your investments are robust and secure in the long term.
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