On 1st April 2018, the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into effect. In short, if your domestic property in England and Wales had either an F or G rating on its EPC, it became illegal for anyone to let it or renew an existing assured tenancy. However, there were exemptions candidates could register for in certain situations. If you have one or more flats to rent in the Putney area, you must note that, from 1st April 2020, this rule applies to all properties.
If your buy-to-let property still has a rating of F or G, you must make the necessary energy efficiency improvements, or register for an exemption, before this date.
In this blog, we look at 10 things you need to consider when it comes to your flat or flats to rent. Whether in Putney or the neighbouring areas, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with the law.
1. Check with the EPC directly. They have recommended changes that can help to raise your property’s rating.
2. If your rental home needs reassessment, you need to find an energy assessor to carry out the service. If you can’t find the EPC for your property, you can see whether it’s listed on the official register. Should you find the documents pertaining to your flats to rent, you can download them free of charge.
On 1st April 2019, rule changes affected the cost of funding property improvements as well as the conditions in which you could register for an exemption.
3. To ensure you don’t overspend on energy efficiency improvements in Putney, there is a personal ‘spending cap’ of £3,500. This includes VAT.
4. The new rules also include a ‘high cost’ exemption. If it costs you more than £3,500 to bring F- or G-rated flats to rent in line with the necessary standards, you only need to carry out as much as you can for that amount. You can then register for an exemption afterwards.
5. However, this cap only applies to any personal spending you undertake on your Putney property. If you have a grant or any other type of funding to help cover improvement costs, this does not count toward your limit of £3,500.
6. Exemptions centred around ‘no cost to the landlord’ end on 31st March 2020. If you qualified for an exemption based on your inability to fund energy efficiency improvement works, you will need to reassess your situation as this will no longer be a valid reason.
7. You should also note that ‘consent exemption’ is no longer valid either. Previously, if current tenants in flats to rent withheld consent to a Green Deal finance plan, you were able to register for exemption on these grounds. This is no longer the case.
8. Should you breach any of the MEES rules, the local authority in Putney can fine you up to £5,000. This total constitutes various smaller fines, such as:- Up to £2,000 for a failure to comply with council-issued compliancy notices.- Up to £4,000 for a breach of regulation totalling 3 months or more.- Up to £1,000 for entering misleading or false information on the PRS Exemptions Register
9. As a result, these changes mean you might now have to spend £3,500 on efficiency improvements, whether that represents an affordable figure or not.
10. However, it’s more than likely that your Putney-based improvement works won’t cost anywhere near the £3,500 limit. According to Which?, it costs an average of £1,200 to complete improvement works on most flats to rent. This figure is based on upgrading older properties to an EPC E grade.