10:32 AM, 21st September 2023, About 2 months ago 4
The Prime Minister has confirmed plans to water down the phasing out of gas boilers.
The delay will mean landlords do not need to install all new gas boilers in new builds and existing properties in England by 2035.
Many landlords in rural areas will be relieved to hear of the backtracking of the boiler ban as many faced having to replace their boilers with other expensive alternatives such as heat pumps.
According to consultancy firm Eco Experts, a new oil-fired boiler costs about £4,700 on average, compared with £10,000 for a heat pump.
The Prime Minister says people will have more time to make the transition to heat pumps, and households will only have to make the switch when they’re changing their boiler and not until 2035.
Rodney Townson, from landlord organisation ihowz welcomed the news.
“My personal view is that he needed to buy time, as the commercialisation of hydrogen production at a competitive price is taking longer than was originally anticipated.
“If boilers are retained and systems adapted to use a hydrogen mix (all new boilers since 2000 can handle a 20% mix) this would give a matching carbon reduction plus anything gained from insulation and energy efficiency.”
Propertymark says raising the boiler upgrade grant by 50% to £7,500 is good news for landlords and homeowners.
Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark said: “In the short term, increasing grants for the boiler upgrade schemes will support more landlords and homeowners, but we know from member agents that awareness of the scheme remains low.
“Despite the cooling of approach from the Prime Minister we hope that this hands-off way of doing things allows homeowners and landlords to improve properties at a more flexible and affordable timetable which they can more easily manage.”
Landlords will also be celebrating after the government announced it will scrap the energy performance certificate (EPC) targets for homes.
He said that property owners would not now be forced to make expensive upgrades in just two years’ time and the cost of energy improvements could be around £8,000.
The prime minister said: “Those plans will be scrapped and while we will continue to subsidise energy efficiency, we will never force any household to do it.”
The chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), Ben Beadle, said: “It is welcome that landlords will not be required to invest substantial sums of money during a cost-of-living crisis when many are themselves struggling financially.
“However, ministers need to use the space they are creating to develop a full plan that supports the rental market to make the energy efficiency improvements we all want to see.
“This must include appropriate financial support and reform of the tax system which currently fails to support investment in energy efficiency measures.”
Mr Douglas from Propertymark said: “Property agents have been desperate for clarity from the UK government on new plans for energy efficiency targets and now we know that the planned changes will be scrapped with no new targets for homeowners and landlords.
“Propertymark continues to want to see more energy-efficient homes, but as we have long said the rules and requirements must be realistic and achievable for the sector.”
Mr Townsays says iHowz also welcome the news that the proposed new EPC targets will now be pushed back.
“We have been lobbying government for clarity on failure of the government to publish their new EPC/MEES requirements since before COP26.
“iHowz will continue to lobby government to take a more pragmatic approach to encouraging landlords and other homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient and prepare for low carbon heating.
“Without a clear roadmap detailing the proposed higher standards, it is understandable that landlords will delay investing significant amounts of money with the risk that they will not comply with new standards.”
Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, said: “Many landlords will no doubt have welcomed the news that they no longer need to fork out thousands to improve the energy efficiency of their portfolios.
“Having already been hit with a raft of legislative changes designed to reduce buy-to-let profitability in recent years, the last thing they can afford to do in the current climate is to spend thousands replacing perfectly good boilers, windows and so on.
“The fact of the matter is that the vast majority already provide quality living accommodation for tenants and so forcing them to make unnecessary improvements to their property simply isn’t productive.
He added: “There continues to be a hugely insufficient level of rental stock to meet the overwhelming demand from tenants and had the government pushed ahead with these green targets, the likelihood is that more landlords simply would have decided to throw in the towel and the level of stock available would have reduced even further.”
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