The flame on conventional gas boilers is set to be snuffed out after the Prime Minister fleshed out his Net Zero agenda ahead of the COP26 climate change conference. His address reiterated two deadlines that the rental sector needs to keep an eye on.
In 2025, house builders and property developers will be banned from installing conventional gas boilers in the new properties they build. In 2035, the sale of conventional gas boilers will also be banned.
The new rulings will prompt more landlords to explore alternative heating options in their buy-to-let properties. Although existing gas boilers can stay in rented houses and flats, a like-for-like gas boiler will not be a viable replacement should the model be condemned or fail beyond repair.
While 2035 may feel too far in the future for it to be an immediate concern, landlords may need to make heating changes sooner than this, as the Government is on course to further improve energy efficiency in rented properties. By 2028, the Prime Minister wants all new, renewing and extending lets where the EPC is below a C to be made illegal, with this standard rising to a B rating from 2030.
Currently all let properties need an EPC rating of at least an E to be legally compliant, so a steep jump in minimum energy efficiency standards may be ahead. Improving the energy efficiency of a buy-to-let with greener heating systems will go a long way to achieving a higher EPC rating, so what should landlords do next? Here’s our recommended plan of action:-
- Check your buy-to-let’s current EPC rating: if your rating is an E, you’re in the danger zone and risk slipping into unlawful territory. An EPC is valid for 10 years so if yours is close to expiring, be aware that your let may be reclassified when a new EPC is issued.
- Get a boiler health check: a landlord’s gas safety responsibility involves an annual gas safety check and required maintenance, so why not book a boiler health check at the same time? You’ll find out the predicted lifespan of your boiler, and where you stand in terms of parts and performance.
- Think about heating alternatives: the Government would like gas boilers replaced with air, ground or water heat pumps. They are currently more expensive to purchase and fit than most gas boilers – around £10,000 – but this cost is set to reduce as more people switch. Other options open to landlords include all-electric heating – such as storage heaters and hardwired underfloor heating.
- Apply for a heat pump grant: to help finance a quick switch to heat pump systems, the Government is making £450 million available to property owners – including landlords. The Clean Heat Grant launches in April 2022 and successful applicants will receive up to £5,000 to put towards the cost of a heat pump installation. There are limited funds available, however, so those considering the switch should apply as soon as the grant launches.
- Keep your current boiler serviced: there is no indication that existing gas boilers in good working condition need to be removed now or in the future. If your EPC is already above an E and you’d like to avoid installing a heat pump system for now, look after the existing gas boiler in your buy-to-let with annual servicing.
- Replace any old gas boilers soon: there’s a window of opportunity to replace ageing gas boiler models before the ban on public sales comes into effect in 2035. New gas boilers offer greater energy efficiency, will reduce the fuel bills of tenants and, if serviced, may keep heating your let beyond 2035.
If you’d like to discuss your buy-to-let’s current EPC rating or are considering energy saving improvements, get in touch with our team.