Expat Investors Should Consider Changes to Energy Efficiency Standards Regulations
From 1st April 2018 landlords of UK properties will need to comply with new minimum energy efficiency standards. Buy-to-Let investors who fail to obtain an Energy Performance Rating (EPC) rating of E or better by next April may find it harder to let their UK properties.
Up to 400,000 buy-to-let properties in the UK (many of which were built before 1918) could be affected by this change. Properties that do not meet the minimum standard and are graded F and G will be treated as substandard under the new legislation and landlords could struggle to let their properties as a result of this.
Anyone with a buy-to-let property in the UK should check their property energy ratings as soon as possible allowing plenty of time to bring the property up to the new minimum standard before the changes come into effect. Those thinking of buying a buy-to-let property in the UK should consider this in the process.
Improvements than can be made to a property to help meet minimum energy efficiency standards include: draft proofing, loft insulation, more efficient showers, cavity wall insulation and double glazing.
Landlords will not be able to grant new tenancies, or renew existing tenancies on properties deemed substandard that do not have an exception, and may face fines of up to £4,000 for renting out a non-compliant property.
There are a lot of small improvements a landlord could make to ensure a property is compliant, however in some instances, more substantial upgrades may be required. It could be possible for landlords to obtain an exception for certain properties. The important thing is for expat investors to be aware of the regulations, and factor this into their plans for improving existing properties or when purchasing a new property.