Turning up the heat on rural landlords

Rural landlords will need to comply with new energy efficiency targets by 2030 as part of the Government’s commitment to improve the long-term energy performance standards of privately rented homes in England and Wales, highlights Ceres Property.

As significant change is introduced to the private rented sector to improve domestic energy use, landlords should schedule any improvement works to spread costs and seek advice on grant funding to ease the financial burden, advises associate partner Peter Cole.

He points out that the drive to reduce emissions and improve the energy efficiency standards of rented properties means that houses with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of below B will need to be upgraded over the next eight years.

Explaining that EPCs are a legal requirement which set out the energy efficiency of a property and rank them on a scale of A to G, where A is the most efficient and G the least, Mr Cole says that the planned changes are expected to be a greater challenge in rural areas.

“A large number of older rural properties currently have an EPC rating of D and E, which meet the current law of a minimum rating of E,” he says.

“That law will have changed and the bar raised by 2030, as energy performance standards are tightened in line with wider Government targets on energy use and net zero targets.”

Rural properties are more likely to need improving, due to their age and method of construction, which is often based on traditional materials and techniques, he adds.

“Landlords have eight years to take appropriate action and bring these properties up to scratch. In some cases, that may require significant investment.”

Programming improvement works into the normal repair and maintenance policy will help with costs, advises Mr Cole. “What you have to remember is that houses that fall short of the new requirements won’t be able to be rented out.

“The worst-case scenario is that these assets become liabilities – they will be more difficult to sell due to their poor energy efficiency and they can’t be let in their current condition.”

Minimal grant help is likely to be available to help with the financial implications of upgrading, even though meeting the targets is going to need both public and private finance.

“There’s time to consider all the options and make the right decisions,” he adds. “This issue isn’t going to disappear and some have described it as a ticking timebomb.

“Seek independent advice from a property expert before taking appropriate action and budgeting for significant capital expenditure– there’s plenty to be aware of with energy efficiency and new standards.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.