Electrical Contracting News (ECN) June 2016 - Page 38

SPECIAL FEATURE RENEWABLES & SUSTAINABILITY HOT PROPERTY Chris Stammers at Dimplex assesses how the need for investment in the private rented sector could signal an opportunity for electrical contractors. F rom April this year, landlords purchasing an additional buy-to-let property are required to pay an extra three per cent surcharge on stamp duty. According to figures from HMRC the impact of the hike led to a number of purchases being brought forward, with landlords keen to get deals done before the April deadline. Figures show 161,990 property sales of £40,000 or more were registered during March 2016, a 77 per cent increase on March 2015. Refurbishments Despite this, housing market experts have predicted that the property surge will be short lived, as the UK housing market gets set to slowdown. In the private rental market, which now surpasses social housing in size, there is a general belief that with the stamp duty surcharge, landlords will begin to shift their investment away from new properties and begin to spend more refurbishing their buy-to-let portfolio. For many, however, this change was already under way, as landlords make the necessary improvements to meet the minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) set out last year by the Energy Efficiency Regulations. The regulations state that from 1st April 2018 it will be unlawful for landlords to rent out properties with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of less than ‘E’. What’s more, from April this year landlords will be unable to refuse a tenant’s request to make prescribed energy efficiency improvements to properties. Almost 10 per cent of the 4.2 million privately rented homes England and Wales currently fall below the ‘E’ rating and when you consider that more than 60 per cent of energy in the home is used in heating, it becomes clear where the biggest savings can be made. Electric heating Contractors are well placed to be able to take advantage of this demand, but will only get a head start with the correct knowledge and understanding of choices available. Those who work closely with manufacturers will have the opportunity to get a thorough understanding of the benefits that electric heating systems can deliver for the private rented sector. 38 38-40 R&S – Dimplex.indd 38 12/05/2016 14:18