Impending changes to EPC legislation plus rising energy bills mean some landlords may want to get ahead of the game and improve their properties. But what will the new rules mean, and what improvements benefit most?
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) outlines the property’s energy efficiency on a scale from A to G and lasts for 10 years, with A being the highest rating. If you sell or rent out a property, a certificate must be issued by an accredited energy assessor.
New EPC ratings for rental properties in Scotland
Planned legislation in Scotland will require rental properties to have an EPC rating of C or above by 2025, apart from buildings where such a rating isn’t feasible due to the prohibitive cost of improvements.
But how is an EPC calculated, and what improvements will boost a rating and make a property more energy efficient?
Regular EPC rating updates required for older properties
Computer software is used to calculate a property’s energy efficiency, with the assessor inputting various information such as cavity wall and loft insulation, double glazing and boiler efficiency. The software is regularly updated as new information becomes available, so it’s possible an EPC rating from 10 years ago will be different, even if no changes have been made to the property.
A new EPC must be issued when a property is sold or let if the EPC is more than 10 years old. It does not have to be updated for existing tenants living in a property. EPC ratings give a score out of 100, and some improvements have much bigger impact than others.
Upgrading your heating for energy efficiency
Replacing an old boiler with a more energy-efficient model is likely to improve an EPC rating, and innovations such as heat source pumps and solar panels will also boost the rating. But if you’re replacing old heaters, check before you buy.
Electric panel heaters and oil-filled radiators are energy efficient because they convert almost all the energy they use into heat. Still, EPC software scores them poorly because they operate on expensive peak-time electricity. Storage heaters are a better option as they use cheaper electricity to store heat, but always take professional advice before investing in a new heating system.
Impact of Double Glazing on EPC Ratings
New double glazing is an improvement many landlords make to a property and while it may not have the biggest impact on EPC ratings, it has the added benefits of making a home warmer and insulating against noise.
Replacing draughty single-glazed windows with double glazing throughout a property will increase the EPC score by around four points. The double-glazed units are easier to clean and maintain and can help to eliminate other problems such as damp.
Added benefits for landlords of EPC improvements
Making improvements to a property to boost the EPC rating has additional benefits for landlords. Mortgage lenders are more likely to make offers on energy-efficient properties, and savvy tenants want homes that cost less to run – especially with rising energy prices.
For more advice about making improvements to your Edinburgh rental property, talk to us. With more than 500 homes on our books and over 15 years of experience in the city’s lettings market, we can offer impartial, expert guidance. Schedule a call with our team of expert property managers to find out more.