Landlords have a month left to get homes to new minimum EPC standards


From April, all buy-to-let properties in England and Wales will need to achieve Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), so landlords need to act now.

All privately rented residential properties will need to achieve grade E or higher in their Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) from the beginning of next month, as MEES will from that point apply to both new and existing tenancies.

Landlords who own properties that don’t achieve an EPC rating of A to F must complete any necessary upgrade work now, as they have less than a month left to ensure they comply. Those who fail to do so could face prosecution.

Where work needs to be done to raise the EPC rating, there is a £3,500 cost cap in place. This means that landlords must spend anywhere up to £3,500 (including VAT) on improvements to the energy efficiency of each of their rental properties. If, after spending this amount, a property still would not reach the minimum level, the landlord can apply for an exemption on the PRS Register.

How to improve your EPC rating

The new MEES rules first came into effect in April 2018 for any rental property that started a new tenancy, or a renewed one, after this date. From next month, the rules will begin to apply to all existing, ongoing, periodic and secure tenancies, meaning everyone who owns a rental property in the UK must ensure that they comply.

So for landlords who currently own properties with EPC ratings of F or G, it is essential to now increase the rating before the deadline. Ways to do this include:

  1. Top up your loft insulation: a cheap, easy way to add points onto your score.
  2. Install cavity wall insulation: this could improve your rating by around 5-10 points.
  3. Upgrade your heating: old boilers are a prime cause of low EPC ratings.
  4. Insulate your hot water cylinder: not everyone has one, but if you do it can lose heat without insulation.
  5. Install double glazing: this should make properties much warmer for occupants.
  6. Seal any open chimneys: again, these can create draught so can make a difference to the EPC.
  7. Add renewables: solar panels, wind turbines and even ground source heat pumps could be considered.
  8. Lighting: simple but effective, replacing lightbulbs with energy efficient ones could give your property a boost.

Some EPCs could be wrong

Aside from the above, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has also pointed out that whether a property has solid walls makes a difference. Some landlords whose properties fall below the required standard could have them reassessed. They may find that they now achieve the minimum due to a change in the assessment.

On its website, the RLA states: “Research has also identified that energy performance certificates (EPCs) understate the thermal efficiency of solid walls. Many PRS properties have solid walls. Usually they were built pre-1918 but can be later.

“The government have now recalibrated EPCs to give a truer reading. This could mean that some solid wall properties currently rated F under an EPC will no longer require any work and less work may be required in the case of a G rated property.”

“Landlords of F and G rated solid wall properties are therefore advised to consider having a new EPC check performed. In these cases, obtaining a new EPC may mean that you no longer need to comply with the regulations or less work may be required.”

Exceptions to the rule

Some landlords will be able to declare themselves exempt, although the rules could change on this. Aside from the £3,500 per property cost cap, other reasons for exemption include:

  • If the tenant won’t give consent for improvement works to be carried out.
  • Where the improvements would require consent from a third party and you have been unable to obtain such consent despite your reasonable efforts.
  • If carrying out the necessary works will devalue the property by more than 5%.

If a rental property does not meet the MEES standards after 1st April, the owner could face a civil penalty of up to £4,000.

For property investors and landlords who focus on new-builds, there shouldn’t be an issue. Newly built properties tend to have the highest EPC ratings. As the construction industry places an increasing focus on energy efficiency in building, those who invest in newer properties will see energy savings over the long run.

Highgrove Mews

High Net Yield Freehold Houses

  • Commutable to London (27 mins to central Paddington station)
  • Rental demand extremely strong with large industry presence in Reading
  • Freehold with 4% net yield

£284,955 - £457,000

St Petersgate – Stockport Manchester

New Launch - Stockport Manchester, apartments from £160,000

  • Discounted launch prices from £160,000
  • Excellent transport links with 3 trains per hour to London Euston and only 9 mins journey to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Experienced development team

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

  • Assured rent & no rental voids
  • Tenant damage cover & newly refurbished inline with requirements of a corporate sitting tenant
  • Free property and lettings management

From £62,000

Emerging Birmingham Commuter Town With Properties From Just £104,000

The emerging Birmingham commuter town where properties are selling in an average of just 24 days

  • A collection of 62 two bedroom apartments and 28 one bedroom apartments.
  • DE14 is one of the fastest selling postcodes in the West Midlands.
  • 23 minute train journey into Birmingham New Street Station.

Properties from £104,000

Mill, Stockport

The Northwest's emerging property hotspot

  • Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000
  • Completion date - Q4 2021
  • Rental yields - 6% plus

Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000

South Central – Birmingham City Centre Apartments

Highly anticipated 28 storey launch in Birmingham City Centre with an impressive roof garden and communal facilities.

  • 154 units across 28 storeys
  • Residential multi-media community room, gym, roof garden and sky cinema
  • Excellent future connectivity via the metro system to other key transport hubs and locations around the city

from £205,800


Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today: 

+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT

+852 9865 4446

Open from 9am-6pm HKT

Stamp Duty Calculator


Unlock members only investment opportunities and full development details. Join now – it’s free, quick and easy.


Not a member? Sign up for free

EPC rent rise

Landlords have a month left to get homes to new minimum EPC standards


By submitting your details via this online form you agree to be contacted via email/phone/SMS by Direct Marketplace Ltd t/a BuyAssociation in relation to property investment and property developments . We do not share your personal details with third parties.  To view our full Privacy Policy click here.