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What lies in store for landlords in 2016?

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With Christmas fast approaching and goodwill in plentiful supply, landlords can be forgiven if they let the Energy Efficiency (Domestic Private Rented Property) Order 2015 pass under their radar. 

energy-efficiencyThis new legislation, which comes into force across England and Wales on April Fool’s Day next year, gives tenants the right to demand that landlords make changes to their property portfolio to improve the energy efficiency of a rental home.

While placing a duty on landlords to ensure that each property they own meets a new minimum standard for energy efficiency by 2020 should be welcomed, it appears unfair that tenants have the right to call the shots over what type of improvements a property requires.

Not only that, from April 2018 landlords will be barred from granting a new tenancy or renewing an existing agreement on properties that have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G – unless there is an exemption in place or the landlord can demonstrate they’ve undertaken the relevant improvements.

In the meantime, you – and the UK’s growing number of buy-to-let investors – have less than four months to prepare for the following rules…

  • Landlords must consent to any energy efficiency improvements to a rental property requested by a tenant that require no upfront cost – unless there is a good reason why they should not be made.
  • Landlords must submit a response within one month of the request being made. This must either give consent, detailing any conditions, or contain a counter proposal.
  • Where a request has been made and satisfactorily dealt with, a further request cannot be made within six months. The same applies where a tenant has previously refused a landlord’s request to make such changes.
  • Tenants under notice to leave a property or subject to action for breach of tenancy are not be eligible to request energy efficiency improvements.

    What if your rental property fails to match up?

The regulations will be enforced by local authorities through Trading Standards. Any landlord suspected of breaching the new rules risks being served with a compliance notice.

If the landlord is unable to provide evidence that they have allowed improvements to their property to be made, a fixed penalty notice and a fine of up to £4000 may follow.

What should you do next?

It’s recommended that private sector landlords review their property portfolios to establish which, if any, of their rental homes will fall short of an EPC rating of E, and establish how much work needs to be carried out in order to achieve such a rating.

On the other hand, Assetgrove is committed to helping landlords comply with all new legislation that will come into force in 2016. Our rent guarantee scheme not only offers landlords up to five years’ guaranteed rent, we will manage every single aspect of the tenancy during this period – with no monthly fees, commissions or hidden surprises to pay for.

Assetgrove’s maintenance packages free up your cash flow, allowing essential works to be done to your property with no upfront fees. We will fix, decorate or refurbish your property – at an agreed fee – and you can spread the cost with easy manageable repayments.

For more information about our guaranteed rent scheme, contact Assetgrove now.

Neil Jennings

Neil is the Operations Director at Assetgrove Lettings, London's Leading Rent Guarantee Company, providing Landlords with no voids, property maintenance, fee-free property management and stress-free service.

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