ARLA Propertymark has fired a shot across the bows of the government as it aims to improve energy efficiency in the private rental sector.
New research from The Mortgage Works reveals that 52 per cent of landlords have thought about selling some or all their properties because they don’t think they’ll be able to either complete or finance work to reach the required standard.
Current legislation in England and Wales requires buy to let properties to have at least an EPC rating of E. However, to improve the energy efficiency, the government wants to increase the requirement to a C for all new tenancies by 2025 and for all existing tenancies by 2028.
ARLA policy and campaigns manager Timothy Douglas has responded to this by urging the government to set “realistic” targets.
“As domestic energy use accounts for 14 percent of overall UK emissions and 90 per cent of homes in England currently use fossil fuels – improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock is one of the most significant challenges in reaching net zero emissions” he says.
“The private rented sector has its part to play, but in recent years, landlords have faced considerable legislative change, and during a time of financial strain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which will continue to have lasting effects, the costs of bringing housing stock up to EPC Band C will be a significant challenge for many.
“If the alarming number of landlords who have considered selling up within The Mortgage Works report go on to do so, it will have a detrimental effect on not only the UK government’s ambitions to reach Net Zero, but also for the thousands of renters looking to be housed as stock levels deplete.
“In some parts of the market, this will put additional burdens on local authorities and increase demand for social rented housing as not everyone can afford to buy.
“To support the longevity of the private rented sector, the UK government must introduce realistic and achievable targets that take into account the diversity of the country’s housing stock.
“Furthermore, without incentives and sustained funding options that landlords can tap into, it is unlikely that the UK government’s proposals for energy efficiency will be met.”