The government has been warned that its plans to improve energy efficiency within English and Welsh privately rented homes are unrealistic as it seeks to enforce a ‘one size fits all’ policy.
It plans to force all landlords to ensure their rented homes reach an EPC ‘C’ grade or above by 2028 regardless of their age, condition or size.
The government also wants to set a £10,000 per property price cap; set a requirement for landlords to install ‘fabric first’ measures; as well as requirements on letting agents and online property platforms to only advertise and let properties compliant with the rules.
“Forcing tighter restrictions on landlords, without sustained financial support, is too ambitious and will not be achieved,” says ARLA Propertymark.
“A key concern from members is that the target is unrealistic, and it is impractical to improve many properties based on the construction type and age.
“For instance, Wales has the oldest private rented dwelling stock in the UK, with 43 per cent built before 1919. Furthermore, too large a proportion of existing privately rented stock requires significant improvements to meet the C rating, which would reduce the amount of housing stock available to rent.”
One size fits all?
The trade body is, instead, calling on the government to implement changes incrementally.
Ministers have said the recently-extended Green Homes Grant that pays for two thirds of a property’s upgrade costs to a maximum of £5,000 will help but ARLA says it ends too early (31st March 2022), particularly given the financial strain many landlords have been under during Covid.
ARLA also says listed buildings and those within conservation areas within the PRS present unique challenges that should be tackled separately, rather than being included in the current ‘one size fits all approach’