Despite wide publicity, many landlords are still unaware that Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for buy-to-lets will change soon. The impact of the changes will have a significant effect on the private rental market, possibly causing older homes with hard-to-improve EPC ratings to disappear.
Landlords not clued-up
According to new research from Market Financial Solutions, more than two fifths of UK landlords are still not informed about the MEES changes, which mean all new private lets from April 2025 will need to have an EPC of C or higher. It found 42% of landlords sampled were unaware that the rules were changing, with only 38% saying that they fully understood what the change would entail. It’s a worrying trend, especially as we have previously reported that 71% of buy-to-lets need energy upgrades to stay legal.
Eco-improvements a big expense
The jump in the required EPC rating from E to C is significant, especially for older properties that are likely to require more extensive work to get them up to scratch. The improvements do not come cheap either. Retrofitting an older home to achieve an EPC of C could cost around £60,000 for an average three-bedroom house, according to Zoopla.
Older properties dominate
The UK has an ageing property stock. Data from the Valuation Office Agency revealed 1 in 6 homes in England (15%) and a fifth of homes in Wales (23%) were built before 1900. Additionally, almost half of homes (46%) in England were most commonly built between 1930 and 1982, with this figure 39% in Wales.
The Office for National Statistics is clear that the age of a property has the biggest impact on its energy efficiency rating. It also say just 12% of assessed homes built before 1900 in England, and 8% of homes built before 1900 in Wales, have a high energy efficiency rating, compared with almost all homes built since 2012.
Whilst it is understandable that older and listed properties are the least energy efficient in the country - less than 1% have an EPC rating of A or B – much of the UK’s rental stock is pre- or inter-war. This disparity in energy efficiency comes down to construction methods, technology and new regulations, which have changed so much over the decades.
How do you upgrade an EPC rating?
To improve the EPC rating of your older buy-to-let, you would need to undertake projects such as upgrading the doors and windows, draught proofing, insulating walls and loft spaces, replacing the boiler or upgrading the entire heating system to incorporate an air source heat pump. Solar panels might also be feasible for certain properties.
Professional landlords hit the worst
It’s not just landlords with older properties who should worry about new MEES, landlords with large portfolios could face huge eco bills. A new Handelsbanken Professional Landlord Survey found that 56% of landlords with an average of 20 buy-to-lets were planning on investing an eye-watering £100,000 or more to upgrade their properties so they were more energy efficient.
Are you worried about the change in EPC rules?
If you are a landlord who cannot afford the eco improvements needed to keep pace with changing EPCs, then why not sell now before the new legislation comes into force?
LandlordBuyer will purchase any buy-to-let property, even those that need major eco improvements and renovations. Our transactions start with a free cash offer and sales can be completed in a matter of days. Request your no obligation valuation now or contact us to discuss your buy-to-let in detail.