Government urged to rethink energy efficiency plans for private sector

The National Landlords Association (NLA) is calling on the Government to rethink their energy efficiency plans for the private rented sector (PRS), describing the latest proposed changes as “entirely unambitious”.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is currently consulting on plans to amend the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards which come into force from 1st April. Under these standards, new tenancies will be prohibited in properties with an EPC rating of F or G.

Currently, the regulations allow for landlords to register a 5-year exemption if they cannot fund the necessary improvements from third-party sources, such as a Green Deal plan, a local authority grant or the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme.

However, the Government is consulting on plans to remove the “no-cost” exemption and to replace it with a “cost cap”. If the plans go ahead, possibly from as early as April 2019 landlords will be expected to be up to £2,500 per property to reach an EPC rating of E.

The NLA is calling for the Government to incentivise landlords to make improvements by reintroducing the Landlord Energy Savings Allowance (LESA) as the most effective way of reaching its targets.

The organisation argues that if the Government’s intention is to tackle fuel poverty then it needs to get energy efficiency improvements to be made across the whole sector, not just F & G rated properties.

The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which states that homes now account for 22% of UK emissions, sets out a target to bring all private rented sector properties up to an EPC rating of C by 2030 “where practical, cost-effective and affordable.”

The Government has indicated that it is not against incentivising landlords in principle, with the Housing Secretary and the Chancellor previously announcing that they will soon consult on incentivising landlords to offer longer tenancies.

Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association, says the body is calling on the Government to take the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of our country’s housing stock seriously.

“Simply placing yet more costs on landlords is an entirely unambitious proposal that does nothing to help improve the properties where the vast majority of fuel-poor households live,” he said.

“The Government should listen to the voices of stakeholders from across the political spectrum who are desperate for some positive and supportive action to be taken to incentivise the change we want to see.”

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