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Cornwall Landlords – Warmer Tenants Advice Service for Landlords

Posted on January 27th, 2021

Article by Community Energy Plus. For more information please contact Nicole Solomons on 01872 308930 or email: nicole@cep.org.uk

Introducing a new service from Community Energy Plus, designed to provide advice, support and guidance to private sector landlords working alongside their tenants. The aim of the Warmer Tenants Advice Service is to improve the energy efficiency of rented properties in Cornwall. Here, the advice team have put together a few Q&As to explain what the service aims to do and how they can help.

With so much information on various standards, rating systems, regulations and statutory obligations, it’s not surprising that many landlords feel confused and overwhelmed. We’re here to help landlords through the maze, find cost-effective ways to improve and maintain their property and to help landlords ensure their tenants are living in warm and healthy homes.

There’s so much information out there, I’m completely confused and just don’t have time to deal with it.
We understand. Our professionally trained advisors can help guide you through the maze of information and assist you with anything you don’t understand or need help with in improving the energy performance of your property. A problem shared, is a problem halved, as they say. The most difficult part of the process is deciding to do something about it.

I have asked for advice before – how are you different?
We’re a new service, helping to liaise between landlords and their tenants. We have a dedicated Landlords & Tenants Advisor who can help make the process much easier and by using our advice service, landlords can be assured of free and impartial advice to help them find solutions and available options in order to make cost-effective, energy efficient improvements to their property. Part of our service is to provide an advocacy service, speaking with both landlord and tenant to ensure the best outcome. This can be a combination of property visits and/or phone calls. We can liaise with tenants and other third parties, if appropriate, in order to secure grant funding. Landlords can be confident that not only can they meet regulations, but also secure existing and prospective tenancies by ensuring their tenants live in warmer homes.

Do you provide EPCs?
We do provide EPCs where a new EPC is needed as part of the process. In addition, we can also provide EPC modelling, which is a way of producing draft EPCs that show a selection of measures to increase your property’s EPC rating, so you can prioritise what to do and potential costs and savings.

I need to raise my property’s EPC rating to an E. How am I going to be able to afford this?
Part of the advice service is to help landlords gain access to grants in order to help pay for measures needed. For example, if you have an eligible tenant, we can help you access ECO grants, and we can give advice on the new Green Homes Grant which landlords are eligible to apply for. There is a maximum price cap that landlords have to spend on improving a property and if this is met, an exemption can then be applied for. There are other instances where exemptions can be applied for and we will be happy to advise on this process.

I have heard the minimum EPC rating may be raised to a C in a few years’ time. Is this true?
BEIS (the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) has just completed a consultation on whether to increase the minimum EPC rating to a C from 2025 for new tenancies and from 2028 for existing tenancies. If your property’s EPC rating is already D or E, then we can help you find ways to make the investment to move toward a low-carbon property, thus future-proofing your property to any new regulations.

Apart from meeting regulations, what’s the point of improving my property’s EPC rating?
Existing tenants should save money on their energy bills, which in turn could make them a more secure tenant with less chance of running into rent arrears. For prospective tenants, your property should look more attractive, as tenants would expect lower energy bills and a warm home in which to live.

Are there any special provisions for listed buildings or property in conservation areas?
There is no blanket exemption for historic buildings, listed buildings or buildings within a conservation area from requiring an EPC and in the majority of cases an EPC will be required. Protected buildings will only be exempt if compliance with the minimum energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance and the owner can provide evidence of this. Even if a building is protected it is likely that it may still be possible to make some improvements without altering its character or appearance and advice should be sought to confirm this. The
onus is on the owner of the property to understand which works may or may not be permitted. A property owner can contact the Planning Service at Cornwall Council to provide evidence in relation to the likelihood of obtaining planning permission or listed building consent for energy efficiency improvements through the Planning Service page.

Where can you get additional information?
For more information from Community Energy Plus: https://www.cep.org.uk/ourservices/warmer-tenants-advice-service-for-landlords/

Community Energy Plus
35 River Street

01872 245566 / 0800 954 1956
Freephone advice line
0800 954 1956

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