Upcoming legislation could prove problematic for buy-to-let landlords

By Nick Batten on 28 October, 2022

Local housebuilder Newland Homes and Westbury estate agent Davies and Davies have joined forces to help raise awareness of proposed changes to rental legislation, which could have a dramatic effect on the local buy-to-let market.

From 2025, new rental properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) score of at least ‘C’. However, 35% of landlords aren’t aware of these government proposals, according to research this summer by Rightmove, which has been echoed by Davies and Davies and Newland Homes (the developer of Heron Rise on Station Road in Westbury).

An EPC assesses the energy efficiency of a property, with the most efficient home graded as A and least efficient graded as a G. Landlords will have to improve their rental properties to achieve at least a ‘C’ for new tenancies starting from 2025, and for existing tenancies by 2028 under current government plans. The consequences of not meeting the minimum standards will be severe, with fines of up to £30,000 per property.

Newland Homes’ Heron Rise development in Westbury achieves the proposed new energy requirements, thanks to their highly efficient construction. 

As of May 2022, over half (56%) of available rental properties on Rightmove had an EPC rating below C, making the task at hand a significant one. Landlords are being advised to start considering if they need to make changes to their properties now, and if so, how they will fund the modifications. 

Sian Cockerell, Lettings Manager at Davies and Davies in Westbury, said, “Letting agents are waiting for further detail on the requirements so that we can prepare our landlords accordingly, but many of our investors are choosing to act now rather than leave it too late. Interestingly, many landlords are getting ahead of the legislation change by purchasing new build homes as investments in place of older properties which tend to have a lower EPC rating.”

Marcus Evans, Sales & Marketing Director at Newland Homes said, “For investors, it very much comes down to the bottom line. The average rental yield in the South West is around 3.44% according to Severn Capital Investment. Our two-bed apartments at Heron Rise can achieve up to a 4.7% yield and four-bed homes up to 4.5%, making them sound investments whilst cushioning landlords from any future legislative changes.”

The Rightmove research goes on to say that one in five landlords are minded to sell their existing properties once the new rules come into effect, with the main barriers to making the improvements required being the cost, and landlords not thinking the return on investment will be good enough.

Marcus added, “The maintenance costs on a new build home are non-existent, particularly during the first few years of ownership, enabling landlords to generate more rental income. Brand new properties are very attractive to prospective tenants and landlords alike as they’re a hassle-free option. Location is another factor to consider, as landlords need to appeal to the broadest potential audience. Westbury boasts excellent public transport links and Heron Rise is opposite the train station, meaning that many of the big employment cities are within striking distance.”

To book your tailor-made appointment of Newland Homes’ Heron Rise development and speak to a consultant about lettings potential, please call 01373 229294. 

Tailor-made appointments are available daily from 11.00am to 5.00pm. For further information visit: www.newlandhomes.co.uk/westbury or follow Newland Homes on social media @newlandhomes

Pictured above: Heron Rise, Westbury