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Trade body wants lettings energy efficiency deadlines to be delayed

The government is being urged to delay the introduction of new energy efficiency targets in the private rental sector, with a warning that the move could see rents shoot up.

The call for a delay has come from the Residential Landlords’ Association, in response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the aborted Green Deal and ECO scheme following a recent National Audit Office report.

The government’s Green Deal scheme, which offered loans and grants to landlords to fund energy efficiency improvements, was axed last year due to low take up and its ECO programme - where people on benefits access cash for improvements to their own or rented home - is being augmented with a new scheme due to come into force next year.

The RLA maintains the private rental sector is unique in being compelled to hit new energy efficiency targets, with all rental properties required to have a minimum rating of E from April 2018 onwards.  

“In our response to the government, we at the RLA have warned costs incurred by landlords in carrying out improvements are likely to be passed to the tenants via rent rises” says a statement from the association.

It says 18 per cent of homes were built before the introduction of cavity walls in 1919 and although the landlord is required to improve the property at his or her expense it is the tenant who benefits from any savings on energy bills.

“Solid wall insulation is also an issue. This is necessary if we are to make older, harder to treat properties energy efficient.  However we believe that it is out of reach of the vast majority of landlords financially without some form of public subsidy” says the RLA.

“The government has already delayed the introduction of the register of exemptions to the legislation. We believe that the implementation of the minimum standards themselves should also be put back” it insists.

The government has recently introduced what the RLA calls “an alarming tranche of measures which are manifestly anti-landlords” including restricting mortgage interest relief to the basic rate, increased rates of stamp duty, and the loss of the wear and tear depreciation allowance for furnished lettings.

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