16:57 PM, 22nd September 2023, About 2 months ago 74
Rishi Sunak has once again shown his true colours as a Prime Minister who does not care about the interests of landlords and the private rented sector.
In a shocking move, he has scrapped the plans to enforce minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings for rented homes, which would have required landlords to upgrade their properties to a C rating. To me, the EPC rules should either not have been introduced without a firm and achievable deadline – an insinuated deadline created lots of confusion among landlords – or the government shouldn’t have bothered with the notion that only rented homes needed energy improvements.
The PM’s decision is a slap in the face for thousands of landlords who have already invested in improving the energy efficiency of their properties, in anticipation of the new regulations.
Some landlords have spent thousands of pounds on installing insulation, double glazing, new boilers and renewable energy sources.
And let’s not forget that thousands of landlords will have sold their properties – some will have offloaded at a loss – because they could not afford the necessary EPC improvements.
For those landlords who have already invested in upgrading their properties to meet the EPC standards, Sunak’s decision is a bitter blow.
They have spent their hard-earned money on making their properties more energy-efficient, and now they are being told that it was all for nothing.
This is a betrayal of their trust, and it will leave many landlords feeling resentful.
However, I accept that without EPC criteria, there is no guarantee that landlords will invest in making their properties more energy efficient.
Why can’t we have a staged approach? Why couldn’t we move to a D rating, with exemptions for listed homes, and then a few years later to a C? (And then, I’m guessing, the climate crisis hoaxers would demand an A rating…).
But we can’t pretend that something like this was not in the offing – I raised the issue when I asked: ‘Landlord’s EPC deadline: Does anyone else feel conned?‘
This is when the landlord’s friend Michael Gove hinted that too much was being asked of landlords, and the costs were too high.
Now, Sunak claims that he made this U-turn because he felt the costs involved were too much at a time when many people are facing financial difficulties.
He also said that he wanted to have a more honest and pragmatic debate about how to achieve Net Zero emissions.
But these are just empty words from a Prime Minister who has no vision or leadership. Remember, this is a leader who wasn’t voted into power by us or even the Conservative Party members. He’s a placeman for the Parliamentary loons running (ruining?) this country.
Landlords and landlord organisations have been asking for a firm deadline for the EPC regulations for years now, so we had something to work towards.
It didn’t come.
I’ve also got issues with Sunak’s argument that scrapping the EPC criteria is necessary to help landlords and tenants during the cost-of-living crisis.
This argument is flawed because scrapping the EPC ratings will not help landlords in the long term.
In fact, it will probably make it more difficult to rent out homes in the future since tenants will want to live in energy-efficient homes that are cheaper to heat.
Landlords who do not invest in making their properties more energy-efficient will find it difficult to attract tenants.
Indeed, we saw this week that landlord investors are unwilling to buy a home that doesn’t have a C rating. This is the direction of travel, whether we like it or not.
Sunak is not only betraying landlords but also tenants because landlords who have improved their EPC rating have had to put rents up. Sunak has belatedly acknowledged this.
This is in a ‘cost-of-living’ crisis.
Now Sunak says he is still committed to meeting the 2050 Net Zero target.
What does this mean? What can we expect as landlords?
Landlords deserve better than this.
We also deserve a Prime Minister who respects our contribution to the housing market and supports us to make our properties greener and more comfortable.
After this debacle, will landlords vote Conservative at the next election? The answer will be Yes because the prospect of Labour getting in (which I don’t for a second believe they will) means the EPC regulations will be back on the agenda, along with other draconian legislation aimed at wiping out those nasty landlords in the UK.
Who will fight our corner? Who will stand up and explain that without our investment efforts and time spent providing homes, the country needs us?
And if we are to improve EPC ratings in the future, make it for ALL homes not just those in the private rented sector. Afterall, the ‘climate crisis’ affects everyone in the country and not just private sector tenants – does it not?
But, just in case, here’s a helpful message to a future government: Please reinstate section 24 so we have a chance of making a profit and commit to helping us provide the desperately needed warm homes that tenants need.
It’s not too much to ask, is it?
Until next time,
The Landlord Crusader
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