Last week, EiD posted “Landlords in UK face challenge to upgrade their properties.” It mentioned that planned deadline for newly let properties is 2025. For all existing lets, the deadline will be 2028. It turns out this is misleading as can be seen by the following news item from the May issue of Energy in Buildings & Industry:
Minister under fire for rented homes upgrade timetable
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, is being heavily criticised by the insulation industry for failing to confirm his timetable to upgrade minimum energy standards for rental properties.
The Government has remained silent for 16 months since outlining plans to ban landlords from letting energy-inefficient properties below an energy performance certificate C rating. Experts have warned this inaction could mean property investors will be unable to complete works ahead of the anticipated 2025 deadline, owing to an insufficient number of trained installers being available.
The Government consultation on energy improvements in the private rental sector – both commercial and residential – closed in January 2021. Its recommendations included introducing a requirement that all newly let private rental sector properties should have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2025. At present, the minimum is grade E.
However, there have been no further announcements on when these rules will become law, or whether there will be any grant funding to support the measures.
A senior banking industry source said: “The Department was going to put a publication out around COP26, last October. Then we were told it would be before Christmas. Now we’ve been told it will be this spring. If they leave it much longer, landlords will only have little over two years to make a huge amount of change.”
Already property agents are reporting greater demand for existing properties that currently meeting higher EPC standards (see EIBI April 2022). But in its consultation, the Government stressed its desire to see all rented properties achieving at least an EPC of C standard for homes, and B for non-residential buildings. For all existing lets, the deadline would be 2028. It recommended that the cost for landlords per domestic property should be capped at £10,000.
Experts are warning that these delays mean retrofitting and home improvement industries may not have the capacity to carry out all the work needed to meet the expected targets. Insulation is the improvement measure most recommended by EPC assessors. But installation of insulation has fallen by 90 per cent over the past decade, with many of the largest installing companies, like Dyson and Miller Pattison, having long since quit the market.
Nigel Donohue, of the Insulation Assurance Authority, a trade body, said the sector alone would need to quadruple to meet demand. It is already grappling with a supply chain crisis, with the cost of some insulation materials having jumped 35 per cent. Russel Smith, of Retrofit Works, a trade co-operative, said: The Government has been silent on every aspect of retrofitting. The whole thing is a mess.”
A Government spokesman said: “We expect landlords to invest in their assets to ensure their tenants are able to live in warmer homes that are cheaper to heat. This is good for landlords and tenants. We will release our response to the consultation in due course.”