Honourable and personal residential letting experts

30Jul

Lettings legal update July 2021

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Energy Performance in the PRS with Maxine Lester Lettings

Consultation continues on the matter of a minimum standard for rental (and residential properties). The government is suggesting that by 2025 all-new tenancies can only be set up if the EPC grade is at least a C. Going forward, all tenancies must reach this standard by 2028.

There are two stats that say this is not going to be the easiest transfer.

  • First of all, 60% of properties in our area currently have an average EPC rating of D.
  • Secondly, the English Housing Survey points out that 33% of PRS households were built before 1919 and these have an energy rating of D or worse.

On a more positive note, however, data from the English Housing survey also shows that 97% of PRS properties could reach C or better.

As good landlords, I know, we all want to supply energy-efficient rental homes. But unless we can get help with the upgrades required, the cost of any improvements will undoubtedly be passed on to tenants of the future.

The Green Deal and the Green homes grant were not fit for purpose (in my humble opinion) however the NRLA has come up with a far more workable solution and are presently lobbying the Government for the following:

  • A bespoke financial package to support the improvements that are needed.
  • Development of a scrappage scheme to upgrade windows in private rented homes. Based on the stats that a significant proportion of properties in the sector have no double glazing.
  • It is calling also for energy efficiency measures carried out by landlords to be offset against tax as repair and maintenance, rather than as an improvement at sale against Capital Gains Tax.

All of these seem sensible ideas to us

What’s best to do in the meantime? If you are buying a property look at the EPC and decide how much it would cost to get to a C. If you are already starting to make improvements make sure that you keep all invoices for works completed!

Evictions and Mediation

Remember all the stories about horrid landlords making people homeless during the pandemic?

Guess what…

Official figures show that there was a huge fall in possession claims between April 2020 March 2021!

The figures have come from the NRLA showing that there was an 80% drop in possession claims from 2019. It shows what we had been talking to you about throughout 2020 – Landlords and tenants took a collaborative approach and worked to find ways to continue tenancies (see our story on happy tenants).

However, on a less positive note information taken from the Ministry of Justice show that if nothing has worked and possession is the only way forward the average wait time for the possession order to be issued has increased from 10 weeks to between 15 -18 weeks.

A quicker way through the process would be to go to mediation. This system is free to use for both landlords and tenants and includes a third-party mediator who will help identify issues and work to resolve them. The Ministry of Housing Communities has said that remote mediation is likely to happen within 10 days of referral. The idea being that once the sessions are complete and subject to both parties being happy with the solution, an agreement will be drawn up which will explain what both parties must do.

Presently notice periods on Section 21 are 4 months but we expect this to reduce to 2 months from October 1st.

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