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Landlords face selling homes after new 'nail in the coffin' energy efficiency rules

PUBLISHED: 11:16 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:33 04 November 2019

New laws coming in about energy efficiency can particularly hit landlords who own older properties like period terraced homes. Pic; Archant.

New laws coming in about energy efficiency can particularly hit landlords who own older properties like period terraced homes. Pic; Archant.

Landlords across Norfolk could be wiped out by new energy efficiency rules aimed at cutting tenants' bills but hitting property owners' pockets.

'Would-be' landlords, with one or two homes who are not running companies with huge property portfolios, are going to be the worst hit by the rules which came in on April 1, said Charles Clarke, the chairman of the ELA, Eastern Landlords Association, based in Norwich.

New laws require all new tenancies with EPCs, Energy Performance Certificates, of an F or G rating to have made improvements to upgrade to at least band E. The law is aimed at cutting tenants' energy bills by up to £180 a year but is an expensive headache for landlords.

MORE: These are the things what will cost you more money from April 1

Many properties which typically make ideal buy to lets, such as Victorian terraced homes, are not energy efficient and are expensive to improve, said Mr Clarke with the result in many cases being a necessary hike in rents to cover the costs or the landlord selling up.

"It's another nail in the coffin for the buy to let industry. Landlords face a big dilemma, costs can run into the thousands and as a result several people have already sold up as they've had enough."

Mr Clarke, himself a landlord, said he had replaced three windows in one of his properties recently at the cost of £700. "If you've got one or two properties and aren't running a company, the work is going to be too expensive for many people and a real trauma."

The average cost of work needed such as installing low energy lighting or loft insuslation is said to be £1200 by the government.

Landlords who have not carried out the work can be fined up to £5,000 by councils.

If work costs more than £3,500 then landlords can apply for an exemption.

The rules will extend to existing tenancies in April 2020, and landlords will no longer be able to apply for the exemption from this date.

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