EPC Changes And Impact On Landlords
While it is helpful for landlords to make energy-efficient improvements as and when they can, but a leading body has raised concerns that being forced into making eco-friendly changes might force landlords to leave the lettings sector.
A rural trade group, the CLA, stated their belief that up to 50,000 rental properties in the countryside might be sold off. This outcome will be in relation to stricter energy efficient measures which might be implemented by the Government.
Energy efficiency changes have been proposed
In September 2020, the Government announced proposals to increase the minimum energy efficiency rating from Band E to Band C.
If implemented, this would be in place for new tenancies from 2025, and for all existing tenancies from 2025.
Landlords might be required to spend more
There was also a recommendation in the proposal to increase the landlords cap from £3,500 to £10,000. The landlords cap is the upper ceiling for how much money a landlord is required to invest in a property to improve its energy efficient rating.
The CLA says that decarbonising rural homes is a necessity to tackle climate change, they have concerns over the regulations. The CLA claims these regulations are based on an assessment methodology which undervalues how energy efficient older, and off-gas grid properties are.
They believe this means a significant proportion of rural properties will never meet the improved minimum standards. If this is the case, it will result in landlords selling the property, as the house will not be eligible for rental accommodation.
The CLA is calling for:
• The assessment methodology for EPCs to be fundamentally reviewed so that rural homes are accurately assessed
• The Green Homes Grant, or similar, to provide targeted funding of £10,000 to rural homes to enable their transition to low-carbon heating
• The metric used for the minimum energy efficiency standards to be based on carbon (environmental impact rating) not fuel cost (the current method of energy efficiency rating)
Mark Bridgeman, the CLA president, spoke at length about the matter, saying; “Our members play a crucial role in the provision of homes in rural communities across the country. But this new raft of Government legislation could have a devastating impact for those who live and work in the countryside.”
Mark continued by saying; “There is already a rural housing crisis and this will only increase if a large portion of the existing rental stock ends up being sold, as it is no longer economically viable for landlords to retain.”
Mark Bridgman concluded by saying; “The unique challenges that affect rural properties in decarbonising seem to have been forgotten about in the new policy proposals. If the government are serious about decarbonising rural properties, they need to support and invest in the sector. Rural areas are so often left behind with government initiatives and this must not continue.”