0:03 AM, 7th February 2024, About 4 weeks ago 8
Mortgage lenders and advisers have called for a government U-turn on the relaxation of energy performance certificate (EPC) legislation for landlords, new data from the Mortgage Advice Bureau shows.
The survey of some of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders and advisers found that 49% of lenders and 32% of advisers would support any decision to reinstate the EPC changes, by either the current or a new government.
The EPC changes, which were scrapped by the government, aimed to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties by imposing fines for those who failed to meet minimum standards.
The survey was carried out to gauge the views of the mortgage sector on ‘green homes’, as part of its commitment to promote sustainability and energy efficiency in the housing market.
The deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, Ben Thompson, said: “Climate change is an issue that we all need to take seriously, and everyone has a role to play in making UK homes more energy efficient.
“At a policy and industry level, we have a responsibility to push the housing market to a more sustainable future – one that is as energy efficient as possible.”
He added: “The UK has some of the oldest and least efficient homes in Europe, so the government’s decision to scrap the plans to incentivise landlords to upgrade their properties is not going to help solve the problem.
“However, we also need to consider the concerns of landlords and work collaboratively, where the government uses the carrot instead of the stick to encourage green changes.
“For example, refunding Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) once a property has been retrofitted might be one way to incentivise green changes.”
The survey also revealed that 82% of lenders believe that the best way to achieve energy efficient homes is through collaboration between builders and lenders.
And 18% think that builders alone should bear the responsibility.
When asked what the mortgage industry needs to do to accelerate the efforts of green mortgages, 31% of lenders said that increasing public awareness and education about the benefits of such products is the main thing.
Another 29% said that advocating for government policies and incentives for green mortgages is important.
However, mortgage advisers said offering more competitive interest rates and incentives for green mortgage products as the top priority (25%).
That was followed by developing a wider range of green mortgage products tailored to different needs and budgets (22%).
Mr Thompson said: “Green mortgage products, and the wider promotion of these, is one part of the puzzle, and now we must ensure these are being put to prospective buyers.
“We must face the reality that the UK will need to upgrade its leaky housing stock.
“With energy bills in the spotlight, EPC ratings are climbing up prospective buyers’ wish lists, and if the housing market is to meet net zero targets, properties need to be retrofitted.”
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