Update on minimum EPC requirement

Back in November we were advised by the government that they intended to have minimum EPC regulations (which had been postponed due to Covid-19) re-laid before parliament in the spring, to come into force on 1 April 2021. These regulations would require rental properties to have an EPC rating of D by 2025 (and by 2022 if there was a change in tenant).

The government has now decided to once again pause the laying of these regulations. This is because of the ongoing pandemic, the impact it is having on the private rented sector and on the construction/building sector. The government is not currently able to give a firm date on when the regulations will be laid. We will update members with any more information on this as soon as it is available.

It is worth noting that this pause may not result in any change to the planned compliance deadlines, as there is still time for regulations to be laid later this year. All it means is that at present there is no such regulation in place.

The regulations will provide for some exemptions, including where:

  • it is not technically feasible to carry out improvements
  • where other owners in a block of flats refuse consent to do work to common parts of the building
  • where tenants refuse consent for work
  • where permission to carry out work to a property which is listed or in a conservation area can’t be obtained
  • where the cost of improvements needed exceeds £10000.

Landlords will only be required to carry out work where the cost of purchasing and installing it can be financed by means of funding provided by a grant or loan from Scottish Ministers. The government has set up the Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan which is interest free for those with five or fewer properties or at an interest rate of 3.5% for those with larger portfolios.

Details of the loan and other funding available to landlords for energy efficiency work can be read here.

Local authorities are expected to be responsible for enforcing the standard. Fines could be levied on those owners who don’t comply with the minimum standard or provide false or misleading information on the exemptions register.

The government plans to publish detailed guidance on the requirements when the regulations are published. We will provide further updates to members on the introduction of the regulations and guidance as soon as they are available.

For guidance on EPCs and improving your EPC rating please see SAL’s factsheet here. Please note that the EPC recommendations report is NOT a reliable tool to use to work out what improvements to do to get to a particular EPC rating. Landlords should seek further advice before installing measures to ensure that they are suitable for their particular property and find out what the likely impact on the EPC rating will be. EPC providers can model your property with different improvement measures and tell you what the effect on the rating will be, before you spend any money on improvement works.

As a member of the government’s working group set up in 2013 to develop proposals for regulating energy efficiency in private sector housing, SAL has been representing landlords from the outset. SAL’s response to a consultation on the draft regulations and guidance can be read here (members please remember to log in so that you can download documents).