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).