The mortgage market has been inundated with three-letter acronyms over the past few years. HMO, MMR and IHT to name just a few. The most recent is EPC: energy performance certificate.
It is hoped new government guidelines will improve housing standards and help reduce energy consumption, and therefore household energy bills.
From April, any new lets and tenancy renewals for properties rented out in the private sector must have a minimum energy performance rating of E. This will be extended to all tenancies within the next 18 months.
Properties that do not meet the new guidelines will be subject to a civil penalty of up to £4,000 imposed on the owner, so landlords will need to act quickly to make sure they meet the new standards.
For brokers, the next 18 months could be very busy indeed, as the changes represent a great opportunity to engage with landlord clients.
As part of this conversation, brokers may also be able to gauge where additional insurance cover is required. For instance, some landlords may use the need to meet the new energy ratings as an opportunity to make larger property improvements, such as a loft conversion or an extension. This would lead to extended insurance needs.
In some instances, the tenant themselves may seek to make improvements to the EPC rating of the property they are renting. Here, it is worth ensuring clients are aware this could have a knock-on effect on the property price and insurance requirements too.
Rob McCoy is senior product and business manager at TMA