By Mike White of Martin & Co Lettings
Since October 1 last year, the requirement for all landlords to have an Energy Performance Certificate for all their rental properties came into force. The good news is they last for 10 years, the bad news is very few prospective tenants ask to see them or are influenced in their decision to rent a particular property by what the EPC reveals. To add the usual insult to injury they cost the landlord anywhere between £65 to well over £100 (depending on the provider). So are they just another tax? Well if the tenants see no value in them and landlords malign them in the same way as HIPs, are they just further evidence of the Big Brother state some people think we live in? After all, isn’t the information held on a central database somewhere?
When EPCs were first mooted, I fell into the “just another tax” camp but over the last 12 months having been able to contrast and compare the EPCs for a very wide range of property types, I can actually see the value of them. I am surprising myself while writing this but I can see the sense in keeping them. We do have a global warming issue and anything that can be done to make all of us aware of the issues involved and offer ways we can manage our own carbon footprint has to be a good thing. However, if you believe most of the political commentators and think that the Conservative party will form the next government, then I believe EPCs along with HIPs will be headed straight for the dustbin. And the reason is quite simple, the new government will need some populist policies to counter balance the more nasty things like spending and benefit cuts; getting rid of ID cards, Hips and EPCs etc., will be a quick win.
In the meantime, landlords will continue to have to produce an EPC if requested by any prospective viewer. In practice, this means at the point where a property is put onto the market for rent, an EPC needs to be available. At Martin & Co., we utilise the services of a very efficient domestic energy assessor who will undertake an assessment quickly and relative to the above price range, at a very reasonable cost.
*Mike’s at Martin & Co., on 01603 766860 at 13 St Giles Street Norwich.