New regulations are set to be introduced which will require more landlords to improve energy efficiency in their properties.
Since April, owners of properties with the worst energy efficiency rates – bands F and G – have been required to carry out work that would push the property into band E. Failure to do so would mean they would be barred from agreeing new tenancies.
The initial measures proposed that any landlords facing a bill of over £2,500 to make the required improvements would be exempt from having to do so. But the government now intends to lift that figure to £3,500 in 2019, meaning fewer landlords will be exempt and more will have to make their properties warmer and less draughty for their tenants.
Savings for tenants
The government estimates that for a landlord to carry out works including insulating lofts, cavity walls and upgrading boilers would set them back £1,200 on average. The measures, which could also include low energy lighting and underfloor heating, would save tenants an average of £180 per year.
David Smith, Policy Director for the Residential Landlords Association, felt the government could have gone further, stating,
“The proportion of private rented homes with the worst energy efficiency ratings or F or G has fallen from 39% in 1996 to 7% in 2016. Whilst good news, we should seek to ensure every private rented property is as energy efficient as possible.
“To help achieve this, the RLA produced recommendations for the Budget, which were ignored, that any work a landlord carries out that is recommended on an Energy Performance Certificate should be tax deductible. It is bizarre that, for example, that replacing a broken boiler is classed as a tax-deductible repair, but this is not the case if a landlord wants to replace an old boiler with one that is more energy efficient.”
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP said the move was part of a wider effort to improve standards, and said, “This builds on our on-going work to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords and drive up standards in the Private Rented Sector, including through our reviews of health and safety standards and carbon monoxide alarm requirements in the home.”
The government has a Clean Growth Strategy that aims to bring as many homes up to band C by 2035. Energy giant Eon is developing a Green Mortgage with BNP Paribas Financial Services, which would extend a mortgage to include a loan that would be spent specifically on improving a home’s energy efficiency.