First and foremost, it is a legal requirement for a landlord to have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This must be available to potential tenants even before a tenancy begins, so make sure it is acquired prior to advertising. The only conditions under which you would not have to provide an EPC are if you are letting a single room or renting out a property room by room on separate contracts. The certificate is awarded after an inspection by a qualified assessor and will grade the property from A to G, with A being the best efficiency rating. It will also include a list of ways to improve the energy efficiency of your property (e.g. insulation, double glazing etc.). There is no legal obligation to install these improvements but improving your rating will reduce bills and carbon emissions. This will make your property more attractive to future tenants and buyers (oh, and help the environment!). Once awarded, an EPC is valid for 10 years.
There are two further reasons – related to the Green Deal – for acting on the suggestions in your EPC, especially if you have a rating of E or worse (not unusual for older properties):
1.) From 2016 landlords cannot legally refuse any ‘reasonable’ Green Deal improvements from tenants.
2.) Compliance with the minimum standards of the Green Deal will be compulsory by 2018 (which corresponds to an energy performance rating of ‘E’ on your EPC).
Therefore, it may pay to get the plans on course now. If you have specific questions on how EPC’s are assessed, more detail is available here.