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Concern over £5,000 cost to make buy to lets energy-efficient

There is growing concern over a predicted £5,000 cost to make some buy to let properties energy-efficient under new government plans.

An estimated 330,000 buy to lets - thought mostly to be Victorian and Edwardian properties - are likely to be affected. 

Until recently landlords and investors could apply for Green Deal loans to improve energy efficiency - these loans were then repaid by tenants, who as a result of the works were paying lower bills.

However, the Residential Landlords Association is concerned that a recent proposal from the newly-created Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy wants landlords must pay for improvement such as insulation, cavity wall filling and new boilers.

As Letting Agent Today has reported in the past, these changes are set to be brought in from 2018, at which point landlords must raise the energy efficiency rating of their homes to at least Band E for new tenancies. The deadline is 2020 for existing tenancies.

Government estimates for the cost of these improvements range from £1,800 per unit to £5,000. 

Now Richard Jones, RLA policy adviser, is warning that some landlords will have no choice but to make tenants pay in the end.

“Unless [government makes] funding available, landlords will be forced to pass these costs on to tenants in the form of higher rents. It could also make being a buy to let landlord prohibitive. They could struggle to find such a large amount of money up-front. Landlords have been harshly treated. This is an extra stealth tax on top of all the other measures that threaten the finances of the sector” he says.

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