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Nearly half of landlords believe potential EPC legislation is guidance not law

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Almost half of landlords believe that upcoming EPC legislation, which states all rental properties have an EPC rating of C or higher, is guidance rather than law.

According to research from Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), which collated responses from around 500 respondents, only 35% knew it was legislation that would become law and 18% were not aware of changes at all.

The government proposed to impose a deadline on landlords to upgrade their properties to an EPC C rating of 2025 for new tenancies and 2028 for existing ones. However, according to a report by The Telegraph the deadline has been pushed back to 2028 for all tenancies.

Communication problems

Landlords could be blocked from renting property and may face hefty fines unless properties are upgraded to an EPC C rating when the legislation comes into force.

An EPC tells property owners how energy efficient their home is by issuing a rating based on a scale from G, the least efficient, to A, the most efficient. An energy assessor inspects the property and issues a certificate outlining the rating and gives details on how it can be improved. The certificates are valid for ten years.

Of those that were aware of changes, around a third said they had heard about potential changes straight from the government, whilst a further third had heard about it through the media and 30% had heard from friends.

Around a quarter were made aware of changes via their tenants.

Retrofitting concerns

The primary concerns of landlords were finding a trusted tradesperson at 27%, followed by costs of necessary upgrades also at 27%.

A further 23% said they were worried about disruption to tenants and the time it might take.

Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “Landlords were facing a race against time to retrofit their properties and meet incoming EPC legislation.”

He added that they were “clearly in the dark about the changes that they needed to make”.

He added: “While delaying the cut-off date before the law comes into place is clearly a sensible move, unless there is clear help unveiled to support with the cost of retrofitting, they could find themselves up against the deadline again in a few years’ time.

“An extension would also, sadly, mean that tenants will continue to struggle with higher energy bills, so it’s vital that the deadlines are not seen to be easily moved. Sooner or later, the inconvenient truth is that the retrofitting of properties that are sub-C (whether rented or owner-occupied) will most definitely need to be done.”

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