News: Government urged to do more to improve energy efficiency of rented homes

Wed, 08 Aug 18

The government is coming under growing pressure from landlords to be more ambitious when it comes to the energy efficiency of rented housing.

New Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into force across England and Wales in April of this year, setting out minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES).

These regulations made it unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, from 1 April 2018, unless the property is registered as an exemption.

While April heralded an initial change in the rules regarding energy efficiency standards, the bigger picture will see regulations that affect all rental properties, irrespective of the length of tenancy, in April 2020, when it will become unlawful to rent any property that has an existing or continuing tenancy that fails to meet the minimum required energy rating.

What’s more, the government is considering raising this target to a C rating by 2030.

However, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is calling on policy makers to be more ambitious for the sector.

In its forthcoming submission to the Treasury ahead of the Budget, the RLA will call for all private rented homes to be as energy efficient as possible.

The trade body wants to see all work carried out by landlords that is recommended on an EPC to be considered as a tax deductible repair, with a view to encouraging a culture of continuous improvements to properties rather than simply meeting set targets and leaving them there.

On average, such landlords reported that it would cost them almost £5,800 to bring their properties up to the required standard.

However, a previous study by RLA PEARL suggested that 61% of landlords would be encouraged to improve the energy efficiency of their properties if there was a tax inventive, such as relief for energy efficiency works.

RLA Policy Director, David Smith, said: “Whilst progress has been made, we need to be more ambitious for the country’s stock of private rented homes.

“Energy efficient homes are good for tenants and good for landlords. That is why we need to use taxation far better than we do at present to encourage a continuous culture of energy improvements.

“Using recommendations on Energy Performance Certificates in this way is a clear and easy way of achieving this and we call on the chancellor to adopt the policy in his Budget.”  

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