Propertymark has told the government that imposing the same solution to the Net Zero challenge on all of the private rental sector across the whole country just won’t work.
The trade body is making its claim in support of new research from a think tank called Localis, which says buy to let investors in some local authority areas of the North and the Midlands could spend as much as 25 per cent of the value of their investment property on improving its energy efficiency.
Yet in London, a landlord may fit the same equipment but that would be only two per cent of the property value.
Localis gives the example of the ‘red wall’ constituency of Burnley, where nearly four-in-five dwellings need to attain EPC grade C standards, standard retrofitting costs of £24,000 are equivalent to a quarter of median house prices of £99,500.
However, in the Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where median house prices are £1,317,500, retrofitting costs are equivalent to a mere 1.8 per cent of overall property values.
Propertymark’s policy and campaigns manager Timothy Douglas says: “A ‘one-sized fits all’ approach rarely works in any policy implementation but when dealing with affordability and property this is particularly true.
“When we look at property value against the estimated cost of retrofit improvements for energy efficiency, we see a stark geographical divide making the feasibility of carrying out works required unequal across the country.
“This means that those living in lower value areas will be penalised when they are unable to afford the measures needed to bring their homes in line with government targets.
“To avoid regional inequality the research recommends a greater degree of strategic planning by local authorities to develop frameworks to help with affordability and spark local economic growth through collaborative working, developing skills, creating green jobs and utilising existing supply chains.”
Localis wants councils - especially in ‘red wall’ areas where property values are low - to collaborate in creating ‘one stop shops’ as joint ventures which would engage with landlords to retrofit.
Other recommendations from the think tank’s report include calls for local authorities to come up with retrofit jobs strategies, clear timelines from central government, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to accelerate retrofitting in social housing.
Also backing the report, Ben Beadle - chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association - says: “With a higher proportion of older stock than other housing tenures, the private rented sector has some of the biggest challenges in meeting the government’s energy efficiency and decarbonisation ambitions. We therefore welcome news that landlords can access grants to transition to low carbon heating.
“We support the recommendation in this report that extra help should be given to owners of low value properties to make it viable for them to invest in energy efficiency measures and urge the government to act accordingly.”