Well, there is yet another legal change on the horizon, and if you get it wrong then your home will no longer be legal to rent out…
But don’t worry – that’s what I’m here for!
It has been a legal requirement for some time that any home available for sale or rent must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These involve an assessor coming to your property and checking how efficiently it uses energy – everything from insulation to light bulbs will be assessed and scored. The results are presented in a table you’ve probably seen already:
From April 2018, it will be illegal to rent a property with an F or G rating, so now is the time to check if you will be affected, and plan to deal with it. Fortunately, very few homes have such a low rating, and if you are affected, there are many low-cost ways in which you can raise your bracket.
- Insulation: The cheapest way to improve the insulation in your home is to get down to the DIY store and buy some rolls of loft insulation. Make sure that you fit the insulation into every corner of the loft, as missing insulation on 5% of the area of your roof will lose you 50% of the energy savings! Heat is a bit like water down a plughole – if it can’t get through the insulation when it reaches the ceiling, it will swirl around until it finds a spot to escape through. For some homes, cavity wall insulation can also be fitted. This can provide fantastic benefits, but it will require professional installation and costs more.
- Draught-proofing: Just like the loft insulation, you will lose a lot of hear through relatively small gaps around doors and windows. Renewing the sealant, or fitting a simple draught excluder can have a great benefit.
- Lighting: There are a wide range of energy saving light bulbs now – fit them to every socket to improve your EPC rating by a few points.
- Heating upgrades: If your property is fitted with an older boiler, then you may want to consider replacing it while the property is empty. Older boilers will drag your EPC rating down significantly, and it is bound to break eventually. Trying to replace it ahead of time may mean that you can shop around for a better deal – and avoid the stress and cost of potentially having a tenant move to a hotel while you restore the hot water and heating!
- Windows and doors: Although expensive, if you are experiencing significant problems with your windows and doors, and need to replace them soon anyway, then getting modern double-glazed units in ahead of April 2018 could be a wise investment, in order to prevent void periods later on while you carry that work out anyway.
You should be aware that any building work carried out in England and Wales must comply with Building Regulations. These specify exactly how work must be carried out, and to what standard in order to be safe and legal. They could apply to anything from replacing the boiler to building an extension – but you must check before you carry out the work. If you are using a professional tradesperson, then they should be able to advise you and be able to make applications on your behalf if necessary. However, if you are considering any serious DIY then it is worth checking first.
Advice from Belvoir
If you are in any doubt about the energy rating your property has, or would like to discuss your individual needs then please drop us a line or pop into one of our offices in West Bridgford or Derby for a chat and we will be glad to keep you ahead of the lettings game.
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