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Message to Gove: EPC rule changes “devastating” for rental sector

A lettings agency chief says tighter EPC targets will be “devastating” for the private rental sector.

Ben Quaintrell - managing director of agency group My Property Box - is urging Housing Secretary Michael Gove to implement an “equitable, realistic, and workable” reform of the energy efficiency rating covering privately rented homes.

Quaintrell warns that the constraints of the current Energy Performance Certificate – combined with government measures forcing landlords to meet improved ratings – will require landlords of an estimated 2.4m privately rented homes to improve standards from the current EPC band of E to C by 2028.


Critics describe it as punitive and argue landlords could face huge bills or fines of up to £30,000 and a ban on renting out properties if they fail to comply. And it is reported that the government is considering increasing the minimum landlord spending cap for energy-efficient measures from £3,500 to £10,000.

Quaintrell says that the additional red tape, expense and uncertainty could drive even more landlords from the rented sector at a time when rents are already rising as demand continues to outstrip supply.

He comments: “The government should not place the onus on improving the energy efficiency of the country’s ageing housing stock on landlords when so many of its previous initiatives, such as the Green Homes Grant, were an abject failure.

“The majority of Britain’s housing stock was built before 1919 and so will cost huge amounts to raise their EPCs compared to more modern homes. 

“For example, many terraced homes were built with single brick walls while others don’t have the required cavity width for cavity wall insulation.

“I’m aware of developers who are walking away from renovating older properties because the cost of energy efficiency measures together with construction materials makes it prohibitive.

“I urge Michael Gove to reform the EPC system in an equitable, realistic, and workable manner which recognises the huge variety in the age and construction methods, together with the rental value, and estimated cost of retrofitting properties.

“Otherwise, it is simply impractical to bring many up to an EPC C rating and there will be an exodus of investors from the rented sector, which could have dire consequences for tenants, most notably a dramatic fall in available housing at a time when the building of new housing stock is still failing to meet government targets.

“There is no doubt this country needs to improve the energy efficiency of its homes, but it needs a government-led investment strategy which takes place over a more sensible period, and the push to net-zero should not be at the detriment of landlords who provide such a vital service.”

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    I, as a professional commercial and residential landlord, totally disagree with Ben Quaintrell. Rental houses and flats that are not already EPC Grade C are energy wasteful and NOT fit-for-purpose. These rental units have no place in our national's private rental sector. Tenants who live in these sub-standard buildings are in terrible fuel poverty. Before the war started 3 million UK families lived in fuel poverty and that number has now risen to 8 million. This is not good for business. I and thousands of other landlords have reinvested into our assets over a long period of time and now have portfolios of energy efficient, high quality houses and flats that tenants can actually afford to heat during the winter. The Government has given landlords masses of notice. EPCs came in 15 years ago. The MEES legislation went on the Statute books 8 years ago. How long do landlords need to insulate the walls and roof of their rental assets and install a modern, efficient heating system?? Commission a draft 'as is' EPC from a decent energy assessor, work with them to produce a draft 'predicted' EPC that gets you to EPC Grade C and then carryout the works. How difficult is that. In my experience that moaners are those amateur landlords who think being a landlord is dead easy 'passive income' and you can get away without re-investing a penny back into the asset that gives you income. No sound business runs like that but a few (vocal) Buy-To-Let landlords think they can keep 100% of the rental income year after year. Business doesn't work like that and they will have their wealth removed from them by legislation, but most importantly by the market.

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    Martin gibbons, l don't believe anything you write. Your are just a virtues signalling politician. As for buy to let landlords expecting to keep 100 % of the rent you are lucky to get 10% and will find yourself working for a negative income if you get a poor tenant.

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    OK lets put this to bed the gibbons group clearly have a background in journalism not property look at the rhetoric anything below EPC is sub standard and the occupants live in terrible fuel poverty
    you have to laugh I live in an old house with solid stone walls and my home is an F so I am living in fuel poverty if the gibbons hadn't told me I would never have known the terrible abject poverty I am living in just checked with family and friends only three live in a house with C or above we are going to form an abject poverty charity with and ask polly neate to be president
    My daughter in law has just moved into a brand new house EPC A ,I asked if I could have their band A house because I am old and vulnerable and they could have my awful house built in 1640 three hundred and eighty three years old they were booking the removal van van before I had finished the sentence, how very kind

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    Mr Altman, excellent prose!

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    The erroneous comment/position put forward by Gibbons can be explained by the standard Brit. problem of detachment from reality. Inter alia there is a huge housing shortage and serious debt/inflation problems.


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