59 Ashford Landlords are risking £5,000 fines in Spring 2020

Washing Machine Energy Ratings for Houses was the phrase one Ashford landlord used a few years ago when we were talking about these colour bar charts that every property has had to have for over 10 years now.

Now these weren’t brought in just to exhaust the entire palate of ink in people’s printers, but to increase the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock.  The vast majority of Ashford landlords are, by now, acquainted with the legislation that came into force on the 1st of April 2018, requiring all new and renewed private tenancy agreements to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or above, otherwise it would be illegal to rent the property out (EPC ratings have seven bands – A being the best and G the worst).

Yet, from 1st April 2020, those rules will be extended to also cover existing Ashford tenancies, meaning that under the new legislation, properties with an EPC rating of F or G will be classed as unrentable – meaning it will be illegal to rent the property and the landlord will be liable for a fine of £5,000.

It will be illegal for a landlord to let any Ashford rental property with an EPC rating of F or G from April 2020

Back in 2018, there was a loophole for the Ashford landlords of F & G rated rental homes on new tenancies, where they did not need to upgrade the property for five years if it cost them money (called the ‘no cost to landlord’ exemption rule) – yet last year this exemption was removed – so they too are included in these new rules.

Therefore, this means that Ashford landlords must use their own cash to cover the cost of improving their Ashford property to at least meet EPC Band E and…

59 Ashford properties in the TN23 postcode will be illegal to rent out from the 1st April 2020

…as they have energy ratings of F and G.

Now this requirement to upgrade the property is subject to a spending cap of £3,500 (including VAT) for each rental property, as landlords only need to spend what they need to, to improve their Ashford property to EPC rating E.

In cases where an Ashford landlord is unable to improve their Ashford property to EPC rating E within the £3,500 cap, then they still need to spend their hard earned cash and carry out the most appropriate measures which can be installed up to the £3,500 cap, and then register an exemption (with 3 quotes from 3 contractors) for their property on the basis that all relevant improvements have been installed and the property remains below an E.

Ashford properties such as an F rated terraced home on Beaver Road or some G rated flats on Lower Denmark Road will all be illegal to rent out by April

If you are a self-managing Ashford landlord or a landlord with another Ashford agent, then feel free to pick up the phone and chat through any concerns with regard to these new regulations, how to read a EPC graph, how to find the EPC rating of your home, in fact anything – call me. The last thing you need is a £5,000 fine on top of the £3,500 improvement bill.

One final thought though – it might be wise for Ashford landlords who have had their rental properties for a while now to get a new EPC carried out on their property (something we can help with irrespective of whether you are a landlord of ours or not) as recent research has also acknowledged that some early EPC’s understated the thermal efficiency of solid walls.  As countless Ashford rental properties are pre 1925, which is when most (not all) new properties were built with cavity walls, the Dept for Business, Energy and Business Strategy have now recalibrated EPC’s to give a truer result. This probably means that some solid wall properties, Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses and converted flats, presently rated F under an EPC will no longer demand any improvement works and certainly less building work may be required in the case of a G rated rental property.