The rentals sector in Wales is becoming increasingly challenging for private landlords. There is now a formal requirement for landlords to complete mandatory training and to register, as well as specific requirements for gas and electrical safety, and the need to provide an energy performance certificate for the property.
From the 1st April 2018, a new requirement for all domestic rental properties in England and Wales means that properties being rented out must show a minimum energy performance rating of E on the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
This requirement will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018, and will extend to all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. After this date, it will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption, and a civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
Gareth John, Managing Director of Welsh Estate and letting agent software specialist, AgentPro, says the company already have provisions within their software to manage EPC certificates and believes most of the letting agents they work with have taken action to make sure their landlords comply:
“We work with estate agents throughout the UK and EPCs are not new. Our software has already been managing documents like EPC certificates for years, making it easy for prospective tenants or buyers to view them. The only change is that properties with a poor EPC will now have to be improved or taken off the rentals market.
“Estate and letting agents have been prepared for the new rules for some time, and will have already advised property owners where changes need to be made. However, private landlords are less aware that their properties also have to conform. Hobby landlords, who may have casually rented an inherited property for years, are particularly vulnerable. The plethora of new rules on registration, training, safety and energy efficiency could see them accidentally committing an offence.
“If you have rented out your property privately for some time, we’d advise hobby landlords to speak to either RentSmart Wales or an experienced letting agent. It’s vital to check both you and your property are compliant. There is of course a fee for using a lettings professional, but in the long term, protecting your credibility, reputation and your rental income is worth that fee.”