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Rural landlords needing to carry out energy improvements to meet minimum standards for private rented homes are being advised to aim higher. Let property: Think long-term about energy efficiency

Rural landlords needing to carry out energy improvements to meet minimum standards for private rented homes are being advised to aim higher.

Landlords may want to aim for a higher Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating than is currently legally required in anticipation of planned changes to the rules, according to property specialists Strutt & Parker.

The government recently published a consultation seeking views on raising the minimum EPC rating from an E to a C from 1 April 2025 for new tenancies and for all tenancies by 2028, says the firm.

“Although this is currently only a proposal, so the details may change, it clearly demonstrates the direction of travel when it comes to energy performance standards,” explains Yasmin Peach, graduate surveyor in Strutt & Parker’s Stamford office.

“It feels like a sensible approach for landlords to consider long-term solutions for their rented properties, particularly given the current availability of possible funding through the Green Homes Grant to help support this investment.”

Landlords looking for ways to bring F and G rated properties up to standards may want to consider the steps needed to reach a C rating, rather than E, says Ms Peach. Landlords with a property currently rated D or E may wish to consider a similar approach.

Moving to a C rating is likely to be challenging for some farms and rural estates which rent out traditional and listed properties. It is more difficult to reach the required standards in a cost-effective way, without risking damaging the fabric of the building.

But there are circumstances where it is possible to apply for an exemption. A government consultation, which closes on 30 December, also suggests introducing a ‘fabric first’ approach to making improvements.

This would mean prioritising those measures which improve the fabric of the building in terms of its energy efficiency, through insulation and draught-proofing, before making improvements to heat and electricity generation systems.

It also proposes increasing maximum amount a landlord will be expected to invest in order to raise energy standards from £3,500 to £10,000 (including VAT).