Landlords condemned by think tank over energy efficiency

Landlords condemned by think tank over energy efficiency

10:45 AM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago 16

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A think tank has warned that landlords’ unwillingness to spend money on rental properties to boost their EPC ratings is a ‘significant obstacle’ to Britain’s Net Zero-carbon agenda.

The cross-party Social Market Foundation (SMF) revealed in a survey that 60% of landlords are unwilling to commit more than £250 towards the costs of improving the energy efficiency of a rented property.

The SMF said that government targets to decarbonise homes are likely to fail if politicians are unsuccessful in discovering ways to make sure landlords better insulate their rented homes.

Significant threat to Britain’s carbon reduction targets

Niamh O Regan, a researcher at the SMF, said: “Too many British homes have poor energy efficiency, so the people who live in them are poorer and colder than they should be.

“And too many of those homes are rented out by landlords who aren’t willing to make their properties less drafty.”

She added: “Given the continuing growth of the private rented sector, the reluctance of many landlords to take action on energy efficiency is now a significant threat to Britain’s carbon reduction targets.

“The politicians who rightly see Net Zero as key to our future should be working urgently on new measures to ensure rented properties become warmer and cheaper and more energy efficient.”

Some landlords have spent nearly £9,000 on improvements

Under current government regulations landlords are not expected to spend more than £3,500 on upgrades to meet the current EPC requirements for a rating of E.

However, some landlords have spent nearly £9,000 on improvements to meet proposed EPC requirements.

And the recent findings from Shawbrook Bank revealed that landlords have spent an average of £8,900 so far on improvements – which is almost 50% more than they had expected they would need to spend.

Over half of renters dislike being unable to make energy efficient improvements

Previous surveys from the SMF revealed that more than half (52%) of renters dislike being unable to make energy efficiency improvements to their home, rising to 60% among parents.

The survey also found that more than half (54%) of homeowners do not believe they need any – or any more – insulation, but a majority (74%) would be willing to contribute towards investing in insulation measures along with a government subsidy.

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Churchills Tax Advisers

11:41 AM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

Why are they condemning landlords? What about all other homeowners who are not exactly rushing to improve the energy efficiency of their homes?

Chris Bradley

11:49 AM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

Every property I have purchased to rent out, I have refurbished with new windows, new boiler and new insulation, costing me approx £30k each property. So I look for property in need of work otherwise I wouldn't be able to justify the expense. It does mean that the EPC is a C at least, but in 10years time when goalposts are moved will they still be a C? Will I then be able to afford extensive works to upgrade them again? Will I be physically able to manage an upgrade project, where will I house the tenants elsewhere while it's done? Probably will sell around year 7 or 8 of the EPC's validity to avoid the uncertainty and worry, which means my tenants will have to move on (or buy the house of me)

Paul Power

12:03 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Gone Fishing at 04/04/2023 - 11:41
Due to the fact LL are legislated to meet a rating whereas homeowners are not (yet). Similar to carbon reduction hits big business first then filters down. It is something of a blunt instrument though as I have had LLs who are on top of everything and others who haven't seen a property since they bought it off plot 20 years ago. Prior to buying I pointed out to the LLs agents that every window in the house was blown and the upvc warping. I'm still in touch with the agents as I am expecting it to come on the market soon as I suspect that the 30k someone else mentioned will not cover all of the upgrades needed and that's bargaining room.

Seething Landlord

12:06 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

There is a basic error in this report as it links energy efficiency and carbon reduction with EPC ratings when we all know that the EPC simply reflects energy costs and according to recent reports overestimates those costs to a significant degree.

Many properties are rated below C because they have electric heating systems, which are more carbon efficient than others that rely on fossil fuels. When the artificial distortion between gas and electricity costs is removed, the EPC rating system made fit for purpose and focused on carbon efficiency as well as energy costs, the problem might well disappear.

Chris Rattew

12:07 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

The figure seems strange. Every landlord I know has spent more than that. Perhaps the delays and bureaucracy of a government discount scheme would cost more than the discount, so it would not be worth that. We already spent more than these figures changing to economy bulbs (CFL) in 1990. They had an advantage for the landlord of long life, and we have always let bills inclusive.


12:19 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

'Too many British homes have poor energy efficiency, so the people who live in them are poorer and colder than they should be.'

They'll be even poorer when the rent goes up to pay for it

Happy Landlord

12:39 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

As usual another bash at landlords - I have never been asked if I am willing or not to increase insulation in my houses - very doubtful about figures without any sound evidence to support it - it would also help if the government who are so keen on zero carbon - a wonderful buzz word, new what the heck they are taking about. Politicians at best are ill informed and are otherwise down right liars the whole lot of them. Most of my fellow landlords are to my knowledge quite happy to upgrade to a 'C' but no one has yet told me what that entails - even the so called assessors come up with different ratings for the same property, it seems to be if they are feeling in a good mood or not - my properties regularly move between a 'D' and a 'C' depending who has undertaken the assessment and if there is an 'R' in the month!! Come up with a sensible and reliable method of calculation and most will be happy to comply.

Chris Rattew

12:57 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

I have seen that EPCs do not represent energy use. Perhaps use energy use per square metre or per person. That would give a more accurate environmental cost and be cheaper to calculate.

David Houghton

20:55 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

I just love the government idea that we can make property more energy efficient by making gas cost more.

I'm still waiting on them to tell me how to insulate a concrete floor with a tenant in situ. Boilers and double glazing done years ago, bit still no enough.

I'm guessing I have to evict (just before s21 is removed) Get the builders in to insulate the floor then get new tenants. Definitely a great plan.


21:26 PM, 4th April 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Happy Landlord at 04/04/2023 - 12:39
I agree with you
I have never been asked
Maybe NRLA could ask a few questions in its next survey
1 did you get asked
2 have you declined to invest in rental property to improve energy efficiency
3 have you ever said you would on invest £250.

I wonder what cross section of the PRS were considered and how many were actually asked
Going forwards we should be pushing for all these stats from surveys being quoted by law should have size of sample and what other question were asked. We all know surveys can be designed to prove pretty much anything. The fact that the background to the survey is not disclosed I suspect it was a bias survey. Unless we challenge this statement too many people will believe the statement.
For the record I am prepared to invest to improve the EPC once the database has been updated with recent info

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