Does your property comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES)?

Does your property comply with the new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES)?

Because non-conformity could cost you up to £150,000!

The new energy efficiency requirements

The new Minimum Energy Efficient Standards (MEES) come into effect in April 2018 and will affect you if you are a buy to let landlord. The 2015 Energy Efficiency Regulations set out minimum energy efficiency standards for properties in England and Wales.

These regulations make it unlawful for landlords to lease or grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.

After 1 April 2023, landlords must register an exemption for any building with an EPC rating of less than E if they wish to let the building.

The exemptions

Landlords can let a building if any of the following exemptions apply:

  • Where an independent assessor determines that all relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made to the property or that improvements that could be made but have not been made would not pay for themselves through energy savings within seven years. Relevant energy efficiency improvements may include such things as double-glazing and pipework insulation.
  • Where an independent surveyor determines that the relevant energy efficiency improvements that could be made to the property are likely to reduce the market value of the property by more than 5%.
  • Where the landlord is required by a contractual or legislative obligation to obtain a third party’s consent or permission to undertake relevant improvements relating to the minimum standard, and such consent was denied, or was provided with unreasonable conditions.
  • The landlord requires consent as above but the occupying tenant withholds that consent.

You need to register an exemption on the central government PRS Exemptions Register. The exemptions are valid for five years only and cannot be transferred to a new landlord.

The penalties for non-compliance

The penalty for renting out a property for a period of fewer than three months in breach of the MEES Regulations will be equivalent to 10% of the property’s rateable value, subject to a minimum penalty of £5,000 and a maximum of £50,000. After three months, the penalty rises to 20% of the rateable value, with a minimum penalty of £10,000 and a maximum of £150,000.

Where a property is let in breach of the MEES Regulations or where a penalty is imposed, the lease will still remain valid.

The rationale behind the new requirements

The built environment has been identified by the government as a major contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.  Building Regulations ensure that new properties meet current energy efficiency standards and MEES will ensure that older buildings play their part.

The rental market has historically had the highest proportion of properties falling in the F and G bands. The minimum standard could rise in future.

You need to take action now  

If you don’t already know, your first step as a landlord should be to check your current rating. If the provisions do apply to you, you may then need professional advice about whether any of the exemptions are applicable to you and if they are, you need to register them.

You will also, of course, need to balance the financial cost of upgrading non-compliant buildings against the potential loss of income if a property cannot be rented out and the cost of a potential fine.

It’s not all gloom and doom

For forward thinking landlords, there is the potential to increase rental and asset value by making energy efficiency improvements and combining these with other upgrades.

And both finally and worryingly…

According to a report published by Landlord Today earlier this month research has found that 25% of landlords do not know about the new requirements, 42% admitted to being ‘only vaguely aware’ of the new rules and 27% said that they do not even know the EPC rating of their property to begin with.

https://www.landlordtoday.co.uk/breaking-news/2017/4/two-third-of-landlords-unaware-of-new-energy-efficiency-rules

If that sounds like you, now really is the time to find out.

www.ewemove.com/dorkingGraham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking and he’s also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

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5 common mistakes to avoid when selling your home

5 common mistakes to avoid when selling your home

So you’re ready to move house 

The clocks have changed at last and there’s a palpable sense of relief that we’ve survived another winter. In the property world, that invariably means homeowners start thinking of moving. New beginnings and all that.

But before you fall in love with your next home and start packing your bags, watch out for these 5 common mistakes made by vendors:

1. Not preparing your house for sale. Moving house has a reputation for being stressful but it doesn’t have to be if you take time to prepare. Be realistic about the state of repair of your home. If needs be, get a survey done or ask a local builder.

It may be that some remedial work in advance will make your home more attractive to sellers. At the very least, it will save you being caught unawares when a potential buyer spots a problem and starts trying to negotiate you down on price.

If you know what needs to be done and the likely cost of such work, it immediately puts you in a better position when it comes to deciding on your asking price and / or during any subsequent negotiations.

home buyer adviceThe other element of preparation is cosmetic. A thorough declutter, clean and freshen up is essential. You don’t necessarily want to replace bathroom and kitchen units (because you rarely make your money back) but you do want to give your property some TLC. Light, bright, neutral colours are best. Declutter halls and be prepared to keep it clean and tidy for as long as it takes.

The last thing you want is for potential buyers to trip over smelly running shoes in the porch and find a stack of filthy dishes in the kitchen. First impressions count.

2. Not getting advice on valuation. It can be very tempting to over price your home. There’s a tendency to think that if you over price, it will test the market and you’ll end up getting more for it. Actually, more often than not, the opposite is true. Buyers have a lot of information available to them, including price comparisons, so over valuing really doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did.

Equally, don’t make the mistake of loving your home so much that you are completely unrealistic about what it’s really worth. You’d be surprised how often this happens. Use our online valuation tool as a starting point. It’s one of the most comprehensive online valuation tools available.

3. Not double checking your agent’s terms. Not many people like the small print but it is so important to check it. You want to avoid being tied to one estate agent for a period of time and you need to be clear about their fees and what happens in the event of a non-sale.

Tenancy agreement advice- EweMove DorkingYour estate agent is obliged to let you know what their terms are, but double check whether there are any hidden extras – for advertising costs, boards etc. At EweMove we operate on a no minimum contract, no cancellation fee and no sale no fee basis.

4. Failing to check advertising material. I’m still often shocked at the poor quality of some advertising material, particularly photos and descriptions. Check the quality of your photos. Is there a big pile of rubbish in the corner of the photo? Was it pouring with rain, meaning your photos make your home look grey and dull? Is the washing visible on the line? These things make a difference to how eye-catching your property is in a list of many. Don’t settle for second best. Check the written description and any floor plan too, to make sure they are both accurate and also make your home sound attractive.

5. Not preparing for the legals. Just because you’ve accepted an offer, doesn’t mean it’s all going to be plain sailing. You really need to do everything you can to make the process quick and efficient. That means:

  • deciding on who’s going to do your conveyancing early, so that you are ready to proceed as soon as you accept an offer,
  • keeping in touch with your agent so that you can provide all the information they need promptly,
  • making sure you are in a position to move. That means both finding somewhere else to live and making sure you have a mortgage offer in place as soon as possible. I can’t tell you how many sales fall through as a result of failure to do so,
  • taking time to read and understand the terms of the sale. Even the small print, otherwise you could be legally bound by something you were unaware of.

The above isn’t rocket science but they are very common mistakes which can scupper a deal and could cost you dear. The expression “make sure your house is in order” has really never been more apt than when it comes to moving house. Don’t be one of the ones who isn’t prepared.

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com