As gas and electric bills rocket for Chatham tenants, Chatham landlords who do not start to make energy efficiency upgrades face lengthy void periods and will have to discount their rents. This is irrespective of the Government's plans to change the rules on renting properties with low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings.
Until six months ago, out of the thousands of tenants I have shown around Chatham properties in all my years as an agent, I can count the number of tenants who have requested to see the EPC of the rental property on the one hand. Now, it’s the first question tenants ask.
The better the EPC rating, the lower the gas and electric bills.
Chatham tenants are leaving their poor EPC-rated properties which are too expensive to run and moving into higher-rated EPC rental properties.
The average heating bill for the 5,657 Chatham tenants will rise from £83.59 per month to £217.35 per month.
And their hot water bill will rise by £37.19 per month and lighting by £21.89 per month.
Each Chatham tenant will have to find an extra £192.83 per month for their gas and electric bills.
To give you an idea of the extent of the money being spent by Chatham tenants on heating alone (ignoring hot water or lighting), last year it was £5,674,760.99, and by 2023, it will be £14,754,378.58 a year.
Yet these stats don’t tell the whole story.
It is a legal requirement for every rented property to have an EPC which rates a property on its energy performance (like those washing machine or fridge ratings, albeit for a property). A is the best rating, and G is the worst.
Whilst the law states property cannot be rented with an EPC rating lower than an E in England and Wales, there are exceptions to this, meaning Chatham rental properties are still being let legally with an F and G rating. Although legislation for a minimum E rating EPC requirement in Scotland was scheduled in 2020, it never passed through the Scottish Parliament because of the pandemic.
Let me show you the average saving in energy bills between the EPC rating of an average Chatham rental property.
A Chatham rental property with a D rating will cost £38.50 more per month than a C-rated property
A Chatham rental property with an E rating will cost £67.66 more per month than a D-rated property
A Chatham rental property with an F rating will cost £97.16 more per month than an E-rated property
Both Westminster and Holyrood governments now propose introducing a minimum EPC of band C for all new tenancies from 2025 (and 2028 for existing tenancies).
Irrespective of this new potential legislation, those Chatham landlords with low EPC ratings will now need to seriously consider making those energy efficiency upgrades to ensure their Chatham rental properties continue to appeal to tenants.
I can see Chatham rental property’s energy efficiency ratings filtering into rental prices over the winter months.
Chatham rental properties with low EPC ratings will probably rent for between 4% to 10% less than higher energy proficient properties.
This means Chatham landlords could have to accept between £37.96 and £94.90 per month less for an average Chatham property with a low EPC rating compared to a high-rated EPC rental property.
Any Chatham rental property with a lower EPC rating will also take longer to find a tenant, especially during the winter. This means some Chatham landlords will have the prospect of void periods early next year.
I have seen more Chatham rental properties coming onto the market in July and August, so if this trend continues, this will give Chatham tenants much more choice. With the increased supply of rental properties, I certainly believe some tenants could decide to offer less on Chatham rental properties with low EPC ratings.
So, what are the options?
I am experienced in reading EPC reports and aware of the most cost-effective way to improve the EPC rating of your Chatham rental property. Irrespective of whether you are a landlord client of my agency, another Chatham lettings agency, or you even manage your property yourself – feel free to drop me a message. I will find your EPC on my database and give you 5/10 minutes of my time, over the phone, at no charge, to guide you on the best options. What do you have to lose?
One place for more information is my Medway Property Market blog. If you are a landlord or thinking of becoming one for the first time, and you want to read more articles like this about the Medway property market together with regular postings on what I consider the best buy to let deals in Medway, then it is well worth reading. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in the area feel free to pop into the office which is based at Station Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 4WQ
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