What a kick start to the new year?

2013 has got off to some start with already new regulations coming into effect regarding EPC’s; the Green Deal finance being officially launched as well as Parliament having debated the legal recognition of letting agents, and the House of Commons having debated letting agents fees.

The new regulations that came into effect on the 9th Januray, that “all advertising in online or print should include the rented home’s rating from the energy performance certificate (EPC)” rather than the full front page which included the graph and rating, has been widely criticised.

The Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) criticised the U-turn for undermining the government’s green credentials.

“These latest changes make a total mockery of David Cameron’s pledge to be the greenest government ever. The changes have effectively watered down the government’s previous commitment to meet the targets set out by Europe and demonstrate a total lack of understanding of the value EPCs can offer both consumers and businesses,” said PEPA chairman Stephen O’Hara.

The Green Deals finance scheme has officially launched, bringing new obligations of disclosure for agents, sellers and landlords.  There has though been concerns over consumer awareness on the Green Deal, however landlords appear to be paying closer attention to the EPC rating of their properties as “In December 2012 61% of landlords said they had no properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G, an increase of 11% on the year before.”

Towards the end of last year, there where many stories in the press regarding the regulation of letting agents and their fees, not even one full month into the new year and both have been discussed by parliament.  Despite the government not backing Baroness Hayter’s bid to extend the scope of the Estate Agents Act to include letting and managing agents, many are confident that she will win her fight to get letting agents recognised in law.  In regards to fees, although the Labour motion lost the vote, the “Tory minister Don Foster speaking for the Government conceded that they would be “listening carefully”  when the OFT and CLG report on their respective inquiries later this year.”

To see how these stories develop over the year may be quicker than anticipated and will certainly be of interest to everyone involved in the rented sector.

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