Q.  I have just heard that the government is changing the rules on the minimum allowance rating of an EPC from next year and that this could impact me as a landlord; can you explain what the proposal is and what I need to do to be compliant?

A.  From April 2018, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property)(England and Wales) Regulations 2015 mean that private non-domestic (and domestic) landlords must ensure that properties they rent in England and Wales reach at least an EPC rating of E before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required whenever a property is built, sold or rented. You must commission an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before you market your property to sell or rent. An EPC contains information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs as well as recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money. A certificate lasts for 10 years. The regulations will come into force for all brand new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will become unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. This is serious stuff as a civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. Going forward if your last EPC rating was below an E, the first thing to do is to get an up-to-date EPC carried out. EPC calculations are changing all the time and it is possible that you will receive a different rating to the one you got several years ago. If the property’s new EPC rating is still below an E, then you will need to make efficiency improvements to boost your rating before you let it out or renew your contract. Your EPC report will have a list of recommended measures for improving your property’s energy efficiency performance. You will need to carry out enough of these measures to improve your score to above an E rating. Speak to your EPC assessor if you are unsure about how to proceed with improvements. After the energy efficiency changes have been made to the property, you will then need to commission another EPC to show the new energy rating.