Landlord groups have expressed their frustration at being expected to obtain Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) during the pandemic – despite fines being handed out to the general public for minor breaches of lockdown rules.
Updated government advice for landlords and letting agents reiterates the need to arrange for an accredited assessor when selling or letting a property, despite it not being essential safety work.
Its guidance for England and Wales states that if they can’t arrange an energy assessment, it should be rescheduled, adding: “If all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain a valid EPC but this has not been possible, a further 21 days are allowed as a grace period. After this period, enforcement action can be taken.”
Giles Inman, EMPO’s business development director, says it’s particularly frustrating that the government expects landlords to do this work as well as shoulder other repair obligations, while local authorities haven’t been doing any inspections since last March.
However, he tells LandlordZONE that landlords can protect themselves if they’re unable to access a property: “We tell our members that written evidence is key – if they can get a tenant to either send a text or email them to explain why they don’t want to admit them to the property, this will cover a landlord.”
The National Residential Landlords Association has called for delays or an extension to the expiry date of non-urgent inspections, just as the government has allowed for vehicle MOTs.
John Stewart (pictured), deputy policy director, tells LandlordZONE: “The impact of extending EPC renewals would affect relatively small numbers as they are valid for 10 years, and at worst this would mean a few non-compliant properties will be let for a short period.”