Working with landlords to improve rented properties

Making improvements to old and often inefficient properties can be very expensive so GDAM has created a new Energy Report that will identify the most sensible and cost-effective ways to improve homes and commercial properties that are in EPC bands F or G, in preparation for the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation in April 2018.

MEES makes it illegal for private landlords to rent out any properties which have an EPC rating lower than E39.  MEES is intended to identify properties that are very inefficient and expensive for tenants to heat comfortably. The Energy Report considers all aspects of a building’s fabric, heating and insulation, making recommendations that can improve the property and its level of comfort.

Luke Olly – Energy Efficiency Lead at Central England Co-operative

We have already started working with landlords on their properties using the new report, providing unbiased and independent advice. One of these, the Central England Co-operative, came to GDAM after we had worked with them on other energy efficiency programmes. Luke Olly, Energy Efficiency Lead at Central England Co-operative said “The years of experience and extensive knowledge of energy efficiency within buildings, plus the co-operative values of GDAM meant that they were an obvious choice as a partner”.

Dave Green, experienced energy assessor and Finance Director at GDAM said “Working with CEC has allowed us to use the new Energy Report, looking at the building’s fabric but also talking to tenants about how they can save money. We hope this will lead to tenants living in warmer properties without seeing their energy bills rise”.

For more information about GDAM’s Energy Report for homes or commercial buildings please contact GDAM by using the enquiry form at http://gdam.co/contact/

Domestic private rented sector minimum level of energy efficiency

In December 2017, the Government issued a consultation on the domestic minimum energy requirement (MEES), see https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/669198/PRS_Minimum_Standards_Consultation_2017.pdf

The main proposal is that the rule that improvements should not be conditional on full funding but that landlords should be required to make a financial contribution. The figure suggested is £2,500, this would be inclusive of VAT and inclusive of any part funding available but no spending made previous to Oct 2017 would count (unless of course that spending had already lifted the property into band E or higher).

The £2,500 spend would still be required even if it did not bring the property to an E, but crucially if there were no recommendations that would get the property to an E for less than £2,500 then nothing would have to be done. For example, if £1,000 could be spent on loft insulation but that still leaves the property at an F but there were no other measures costing less than £1,500 then the landlord would only have to spend the £1,000.

Crucially by the Government’s own admission the £2,500 cap would not encourage any new central heating systems, solid wall insulation or double-glazing installs and raising the limit to £5,000 (as originally proposed a year ago) would nearly double the number of homes affected (from 139,000 to 260,000) and the average landlord costs/property would still only be £1,700.

The consultation document explains the benefits of the cap, “Energy efficiency improvements can benefit landlords too in the form of reduced long-term property maintenance costs, increased rentability, increased tenant satisfaction, reduced void periods, and ultimately in increased sale value of the property. A number of studies have shown a robust link between higher standards of energy efficiency and increased property values. The Government believes that the likely benefits of an improved property will outweigh any costs resulting from the regulatory amendments proposed through this consultation. Energy efficiency also brings wider benefits to society as a whole. The cleanest, cheapest and most reliable energy is the energy which we do not use, and successful implementation of the minimum standard regulations will reduce system pressures, helping make supplies more secure and reducing carbon emissions, which is essential to meeting the UK’s climate change targets.”

GDAM welcomes the proposal but considers that a £5,000 cap would be much more effective without unduly affecting landlords.