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EPC targets threaten private rental sector if they are unchanged

Stricter proposals for energy efficiency under review by the government risk damaging the private rental sector if they remain unchanged.

That’s the messages from a new survey which shows landlords in the UK are more likely to sell their properties rather than make the upgrades needed to meet the government's new EPC ratings by 2025.

Tech company GreenBuildingRenewables, which commissioned the research, found that 63 per cent of landlords said they plan to sell properties rather than invest in energy-efficient measures like insulation, heat pumps and solar. 


In London, as many as 75 per cent of landlords said they would sell. 

Over two-thirds of landlords said they were concerned about how they would afford property improvements needed to meet the EPC C rating or above that all new tenancies must have by 2025.  

At the moment it is the case that from April 1, 2025, the minimum EPC rating will be raised from E to C for new tenancies. This will be enforced from April 1, 2028, for existing tenancies.  

Housing Secretary Michael Gove last weekend suggested these timescales were unrealistic and harsh on hard-pressed landlords - but so far no details of a relaxed timetable have been issued.

In this new survey 62 per cent of landlords said the new regulations had made them consider whether it was worth keeping their properties. Although over 80 per cent of landlords knew about the potential impact a solar installation, for example, could have on their property's EPC rating, only 43 per cent said they felt fully prepared for the changes.  

New boilers (37 per cent), insulation (36), solar panels (29), LED lighting (29), and heat pumps (23 per cent) are all being considered by landlords as potential energy efficient improvements they could make. Still, one in five landlords admitted they needed to become more familiar with the financial support available from the government for such upgrades.  

Despite such incentives, 41 per cent of landlords thought they would have to spend between £5,000 and £10,000 on average per property. More than a quarter thought the costs would be over £10,000.   

GreenBuildingRenewables managing director Chris Delaney says: "The results from this survey are startling. The fact that such a high percentage of landlords would rather sell their energy-inefficient properties than improve them with technologies like solar panels and heat pumps raises some serious questions for the government and policymakers.  

"Eighty per cent of the buildings that exist today will exist in 2050; as a nation, we have a serious responsibility to transform our buildings and make them more energy efficient, and residential landlords have a critical role to play in this transition. The fact that so many were concerned about the costs suggests that something has fundamentally gone wrong in the messages and their understanding of energy-efficient upgrades. Improving the fabric of their properties and installing technologies like heat pumps should be seen as an investment and not a financial burden in the properties they own." 

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