The UK government has introduced a set of measures meant to improve old rural homes that don’t fit the current energy efficiency standards. Since April 2018, landlords with homes who received an E Energy Performance Certificate grade or below were strictly forbidden from accepting new tenants or renewing current leases. The government is also introducing a whole new set of rules to make the requirements even more stringent for landowners. Let’s take a deeper look at some of these rules and what they mean for rural landlords.
For those who let rural properties, the relatively low energy efficiency of these homes is truly costly. Upgrades mandated by the new law would let tenants save an average of £180 annually. The rules are expected to reduce the problem of “energy poverty”, where people cannot afford to keep their homes warm after paying their rent.
Excess cold accounts for a surprising number of deaths; 30% of avoidable winter deaths occur when people are living in cold homes. By raising the energy efficiency of let properties, the government expects these types of deaths to decline.
An Overview of the Rules Going into Effect
The rules are expected to affect just under 300,000 properties or 6% of the domestic market. An estimated 200,000 landlords will be impacted by the regulatory changes. The rules apply to privately let domestic and non-domestic properties in Wales and England.
Under these new rules, landlords are required to put in energy efficient measures in homes that have the lowest energy performance ratings. The government expects the minimum mandatory upgrades to cost around £1,200. If the upgrade costs are greater than £3,500, landlords can register for an exemption. Landlords must submit three installer quotes to prove they meet the threshold for a “high cost” exemption. Local grants are available to bring properties up to the required standard.
What Landlords Can Do to Upgrade Rural Properties
There are a number of ways to increase the energy efficiency of rural properties. Installing new flooring insulation or increasing loft insulation are the most popular choices. Spray applied insulating foam can insulate or stabilize a roof. Insulated bond tiles can be nailed to the roof as well, assuming it is structurally sound. Tiles like these can keep out wind-driven rain and snow and protect against impact damage too. Polyurethane foam insulation can be injected into the walls to fill voids and create a thermal insulation barrier. Landlords can also install cavity wall insulation to meet building regulations.
Ventilation system upgrades are one of the best overall upgrades for a rural property. Heat recovery systems, bring in fresh air, transfer heat to incoming air to minimize heating needs, and maintain ideal humidity levels. Landlords will appreciate the low maintenance needs of these systems, while tenants will like the fact that they’re incredibly quiet. You can select from a variety of options to create a ventilation system that works well while minimizing the structural changes to the home to make it all work. It is even possible to work with specialists that went through higher education, like ozarch.com/practice-areas/higher-education/.
While the law requires substandard properties to be upgraded in order to rent them to new tenants and avoid fines, there are other benefits. Landlords will end up with more comfortable properties that are more attractive to prospective tenants, and the upgrades may even increase the value of the property.