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Energy Performance Standards for 2018 – What do you think?

Article Posted -
14 Jun 2013

As you will undoubtedly have heard, the Government is proposing that from April 2018, it will be illegal to let any property with an energy performance rating of F and G.

To help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their property, the Government launched a flagship energy initiative, the Green Deal, at the start of the year.

Under the Green Deal, the cost of energy efficiency improvements, such as loft and wall insulation, and installment of solar PV panels, will be paid through a loan attached to the property’s energy bills. However, due to the energy savings achieved by the improvements, the energy bill will never be higher than it would have been if the work had not been carried out.

The NLA has launched NLA Green Deal, a complete Green Deal solution which will enable landlords to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties with ease. From assessing the eligibility of your properties to finding a Provider and installing the improvements, NLA Green Deal will provide landlords with a complete Green Deal solution.

Landlords have until 2018 to ensure their properties have an energy performance rating of at least an E. The NLA is currently sitting on the Private Rented Sector Regulations Working Group, established by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which has been tasked with devising recommendations on the implementation of the 2018 regulations.

The NLA is planning to put forward a proposal and we want to know what you think.

  • Should there be a fixed start date after which any let F or G properties must be withdrawn from the market, i.e. 1st April 2018?
  • Alternatively, do you think the regulation’s roll out should be staggered as we saw with tenancy deposit protection in 2007?
  • Or perhaps you think it should be done in another way?

We would be grateful for your ideas and explanations as to why your proposal would work in practice. We can then take your suggestions to the Private Rented Sector Regulations Working Group. If you have a suggestion, please email policy@landlords.org.uk

 

 

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Comments

What if you have a long term tenant who you don't want to kick out of their home and you also don't want to damage the resale value or ruin the lovely brick facade of your property by having it clad with insulation. Are the only options to sell the house or kick the tenant out while you have the inside done???
The vast majority of housing stock is in the hands of owner occupiers. What are they compelled to do about energy efficiency? Landlords, an easy target? Surely not? Remember HIPS? Joined up thinking is needed. All owners and landlords want lower energy bills. Lower bills means the tenant can afford rent just that bit easier. An initiative that targets all housing stock instead of singling out landlords would be more beneficial. Government standing up to energy companies would be a start.
Yet another useless idea from a weak government. Cut red tape not increase it to get business moving. The Country is constipated with useless regulations. Small business owners would be taking on more staff but they live in fear of employment rules, health and safety rules, equal opportunies legislation etc. etc etc. Energy saving is well worth while but what an over complicated load of nonsense this is. Get a backbone Mr Cameron before the Country is on its knees.
I am in favour of efficient use of energy. However, I have grave reservations about the Government's proposals (and the apparrent (almost unquestioning) submission to these proposals by the NLA). For example: 1. If I add a bathroom extension to my property, outside the current perimeter of (say) a terraced property, there will be additional external walls, disproportionate to the overall envelope of the home. Because of the disproportionate external walls, the energy efficieny rating could go DOWN - is that what is intended, although I am inproving my property? 2. If I have a tenant who uses heating like there is no tomorrow, and a 'Green Deal' is installed - but then leaves, to be followed by a tenant who is frugal with energy, to cut bills to the minimum. How then will the 'Green Deal' bill be paid, on much lower usage of energy; and how will i be able to persuade a prospective tenant to become an actual tenant? 3. I have a friend who works for National Grid: he tells me they are totally opposed to the 'Green Deal' approach, believing that straightforward subsidies to become more energy-efficient are more reliable, more effective, and in the long run, cheaper. Why are views of such major players never publicised? Green Deal is a loser - although the aims are admirable. Ill-thought-out, impractical, and I don't know why NLA is supporting it (other than to try to prove to Government that self-regulation will work. Well, self-regulation WILL work, but only through teaching, training, education, subscription, and membership of validated and validating organizations such as NLA. Other routes to validation (by Government) such as promising to support initiatives such as 'Green Deal' will bring disaster). NLA - please rethink your (our) strategy on this. Martin Hawke
I am an advocate of energy conservation. I own two leasehold flats in old properties. I have done as much as possible within the flats. Now the highest heat loss is through the solid walls, resulting in mediocre energy ratings. The most economical way of insulating would be putting external cladding which would be ugly. Internal wall installation is both very expensive and disruptive. I notice that the energy assessments are getting more stringent and the results less flattering. So could someone tell me what is going to happen with properties owned by responsible landlords who try their best but are restricted by costs?
I have concerns about the accuracy of some of the EPCs. Too many (wrong) assumptions are made based on the age of the property. Assessors don't seem to be able to spot when improvements such as cavity wall insulation have been installed even if the drill holes are visible and the freeholder has paperwork to prove it's existence. Improvements don't always result in the up lifting of the EPC grade to the one specified if the improvement is made due to changes in the processing of information by assessors. Too much emphasis is put on certain things being 'bad': electric heating, solid walls, single glazing, etc. Other things are supposed to be 'good': double glazing, insulation, modern gas boilers. Especially with heating systems no account is taken into the overall running costs. The biggest problem with tenanted properties is that tenants refuse to learn how to run their houses in the most efficient way. How many tenants turn a well maintained, decent house into a damp, uncomfortable dump by sealing up all the ventilation, turning the heating right down and trying to dry their washing in the house? Perhaps a government program to educate people about heating, ventilation and energy efficiency with a certificate to show to their landlord at the end would be a better starting point. Then tenants would be in a better position to decide if Green Deal would actually work for them.
Like the others, I can see why the Gov want to do this - but I have serious reservations. I own two properties, neither of which will be affected (by a long way being modern with cavity walls etc), but round this way I can see a lot of properties that will be affected, and for which the remedies will be very difficult. As already pointed out, EPCs are a farce. As far as I can tell, both of mine were done from the outside without even looking at the inside. The suggested improvements are also farcical - one wonders where the ideas came from. Based on what I've seen with EPCs, I confidently expect to start hearing horror stories before long about how Green Deal loans are costing a lot more on the bills because the savings have been exaggerated to push stuff through. And again as already pointed out, why pick on landlords and ignore all those owner/occupier houses with the same problems ? What about some of the properties round here, quaint old town cottages, in a conservation area (so no outside cladding) and rooms already too small (so no interior cladding either) ? And of course the big question has to be ... Class F & G now, then what ? Class E next, then D, then C (that would affect me) ...
The grading process is seriously flawed. I have a property with rooms directly under the roof which has heavy slab insulation. The "inspector" was invited to check this by making a small hole in the ceiling but refused - "If I can't see it, it's not there." The 18thC property is in a conservation area so external cladding is out. Should I evict my tenant who has been there since 1999? By the way, I'm in favour of energy efficiency. My other properties are graded D or higher and most have solar panels.
No consideration appears to have been paid to the impact of this rule on the aesthetic appearance of the country's houses. There are many, many attractive Victorian properties with F or G ratings and the only way to improve them is to add internal and external insulation. This will destroy decorative brickwork (it is impossible to replicate with modern bricks) or internal cornicing, picture rails and so on. Also, these houses were built with lime plaster and mortar, so were designed to breathe moisture; adding internal or external cladding will block this and create problems with condensation, decay of brickwork, "damp" and so on.
I like most people think we need to be more energy efficient. However I personally have two properties which are old and quite small and also grade 2 listed. At the moment they are listed as F registered and any improvements are also listed as F. So there is little apparently I can do to substantially improve the EPC of these two properties.
We all welcome energy efficiency - that's kind of obvious. However I haven't met a single landlord, agent, builder or tenant who supports the green deal. Why? You can't use your regular builder/plumber etc, double glazing is fitted without trickle vents causing condensation, cavities are filled up creating rising damp, lofts are filled with insulation meaning they can't be used for storage, and cheap, unserviceable boilers are fitted and the people installing them are never seen again. It is in a landlords' best interest to keep properties up to date, warm and safe otherwise we can't rent them. We have a tenant who has been in her home since 1957 and doesn't want central heating or double glazing or loft insulation even though we have offered them to her. She has a regulated tenancy and doesn't want to move either...so where do we stand on that? We can't simply 'withdraw the property from the market'. What happens if someone decides that by 2021 all properties have to be D or above?
The Georgian flats in Bath, and there are hundreds of them, will have a low rating and will be unable to be let from 2018 because they are listed buildings and they cannot be clad or double glazed. The roof could be insulated but that only affects the top flat with as many as five underneath.
My main job is Architectural design, then secondly a landlord. So I am dealing with energy performance on a regular basis. Its amazing what a difference things like compact florescent bulbs and a decent condensing boiler can make to your EPC. OK, the boiler isn't that cheap, but compared to going for solid wall insulation its peanuts and can make the difference to whether your building complies or not. And as far as light bulbs goes, just replace all of them with compact florescent units (They don't work with dimmer switches) In houses with flat ceilings, top up the mineral wool loft insulation, this is also relatively cheap. Houses with loft rooms are a little trickier. Looking at the grean deal, I am not that convinced its going to work. If the bill payer isn't going to save money on their bills, then why would they bother going through all the mess and interruption of external or internal solid wall insulation.
It would be useful to profile how this impacts properties in listed buildings, or ones in conservation areas, where improvements to insulation are limited to use of specialised materials, sympathetic to the original fabric. Many of these rate at "E" and below. It is not, I hasten to add, merely aesthetic consideration. The Green Deal needs to be considerate of this, and not penalise people upholding their end wrt these properties. I would add that the ratings system is not an exact science. Some of the oldest buildings in theUK are actually quite efficient, but the system used to measure efficiency is limited, with vague guesses replacing actual knowledge.
I have several small flats that have wall mounted electric convector heaters because they are too small to have gas central heating or where there is no gas supply. I am looking to improve the heating arrangements and it has been suggested that i could fit high efficiency electric wall heaters and this will make the flat fall within the 2018 regulations. How can i prove this without doing the work and having an EPCc done afterwards? if it doesn't meet the regs i will have wasted my money! any ideas? These are in Victorian buildings with solid walls and no double glazing-conservation areas.
Oh that will help the quantity of housing stock! NOT. It's still more efficient than a cardboard box in a doorway.
Very poorly thought out legislation. This will reduce housing stock for rental and drive some landlords out of business. Fact is every time you do a major piece of work the building regs force up to date compliance which is reasonable and sensible. New boilers and windows also do this. This is another detrimental piece of red tape that should be abolished. The bureaucrats have no idea about business or its needs.
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