It should perhaps come as no surprise that this week’s tightening up of the energy efficiency regulations for the private rental sector has been backed by a heating trade body, the Heating and Hotwater Industry Council.
Under the changes, announced first thing on Monday, landlords will have to fund some of the work required to make some of the least energy-efficient rental properties compliant with minimum requirements.
The payment, up to £3,500, replaces the existing cost exemption which allowed landlords to avoid implementing energy efficiency measures if there were no funding available to recover costs.
Now the HHIC has welcomed the move - but wants landlords to do even more and says the cap should be £5,000 instead of £3,500.
“When government and industry - ‘those in the know’ - work together then the resulting outcomes are better. I am pleased that the government has recognised that legislation is required in the rental sector to improve EPC ratings. The figure of £3,500 improves upon the suggested £2,500 which would have only helped 30% of homes improve upon their EPC rating” says Stewart Clements, director of the HHIC.
“Having said this, HHIC still believe £5,000 is the correct level for the cap, as it would help close to 60 per cent of cold inefficient (band F and G) homes reach the required EPC level. This is because, the cost of installing a new central heating system can amount to £4,000 - which is £500 above the new cap level” he continues.
“Insulation alone will not keep a home warm, you need an efficient heating system too. And gas central heating is the most obvious solution.”
Clements says the decision opens a wider debate on the duties landlords have to their tenants.
He says the amount that tenants pay for rent is often their largest outgoing, yet is one of the least regulated markets in the UK.
“HHIC believes that like every business and service provider, landlords should be regulated by similar laws to every other market in the UK. This would prevent cold and damp homes from entering the rental market.”