‘Energy efficiency’ are two words on everyone’s lips where property is concerned. Massive increases in energy costs have seen homeowners eyeing up ways to save money on their bills each month and for landlords, expected regulations to bring all rented properties up to a grade C or above is also a growing concern given that the majority of rental homes in the UK are rated as a D or below.
To delve further into the issue, we caught up with our Energy Assessor, Sean Carrigan, to get his thoughts on the current state of play.
What are the changes you'd most recommend to homeowners and landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their property?
For me, there’s a few things I’d look at which have a real impact on the energy efficiency of your property and which are very straightforward. Firstly, increase your loft insulation to 300mm. Secondly, ensure you have a thermostat, radiator valves and time controller for your boiler. Lastly, check your boiler is under 10 years old.
Is there anything tenants can do to help?
If your tenant is in receipt of benefits, they can enquire as to whether they are entitled to free improvement measures. There are various national and local schemes so a bit of research online would be advisable to see what is right for you.
What improvements do you think are overrated? They are recommended but in reality don't make that much difference.
Energy efficient lighting. Obviously I’d recommend installing this but don’t expect it to make a significant impact on the energy rating of your property. It will only make a slight difference.
Do you think the EPC changes for rental properties will come in, in 2025?
Originally the plan for legislation change was for all rental properties with new tenancies to be a grade C or above by 2025 and then for all existing tenancies by 2028. Recent reports in the press, however, suggest that the government will push the 2025 date back to 2028 for all tenancies to allow landlords more time to make the adjustments. The main concern being the costs involved for landlords will lead to them exiting the market, leaving the stock levels (which are already low) in an even worse position and ultimately pushing up prices further for tenants. Throw in a general election and a probable change of government next year into the mix as well and we could even see further changes.
Do you think EPCs will remain in their current format or be replaced with something else?
It’s all up in the air at the moment but Michael Gove recently made a speech at the Conservative Party Conference in March where he did express concerns about the way the reports are currently produced so it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility alongside other changes, whenever they do come in.