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Pressure group urges £5,000 cap on energy efficiency rental work

An energy efficiency lobbying group says it backs new government energy efficiency guidelines to improve 300,000 private rented homes - but it says there should be a £5,000 cap on the cost of remedial work for each property. 

Speaking to the magazine Utility Week, the Association for the Conservation of Energy has proposed a cap of £5,000 for energy efficiency improvements. It also says compliance with new domestic energy efficiency standards coming into effect next April could cost many landlords as little as £600 per home.

The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards are based on rental units’ Energy Performance Certificate ratings and may force landlords into substantial expenditure on each property. 

From April 2018 it will be unlawful to let a property with an F or G EPC rating to a new tenant, with very few exemptions. From April 2020 a minimum E rating will apply, not just to new lets but also to existing tenancies. Then from 2025 the target is for a minimum D rating and by 2030 the minimum will be C.

“How landlords should spend £600, would depend on how to get their energy performance ratings higher. This could include better heating control rafts, replacing windows and loft insulations. We are not asking for major work to be done" ACE chief executive Joanne Wade tells the magazine.

But she says landlords may need further assistance with securing funds if there is substantial work required. 

“Looking to the next Budget statement, I think that we need to provide longer term incentives to landlords that what are currently on offer, and stop the staccato progress on incentives. For example, a policy of zero rated VAT for implementing energy efficiency measures could be introduced, to boost the link between a higher level of energy efficiency and higher quality apartments” Wade suggests.

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    Is this part of an attempt to force conventional private landlords with conventional private homes to remove such property from the rental market, pushing tenants towards new builds and indeed local authority managed 'build to let' segments of new housing estates? Cynically I think so and it will of course make no difference to our nation's energy emissions as the untenanted houses will then be owner occupied instead. EPC being used as a political tool, nothing to do with the environment.

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