Energy efficiency changes could result in landlords selling off more than 50,000 rural rented homes, sparking rent increases and a worsening housing crisis.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) warns that many properties will never be able to reach the higher minimum standards proposed by government, which is likely to result in landlords selling up.
The government plans to raise the minimum energy efficiency rating from Band E to Band C for new tenancies from 2025 and for all existing tenancies from 2028, but the organisation says 12.4% of rented rural homes don’t even meet Band E, meaning that losing these from the sector would result in 51,653 fewer properties.
Meanwhile, it believes the assessment methodology continually undervalues the energy efficiency of older, off-gas grid homes.
An increase in the ‘landlords’ cap’ has also been proposed – the maximum amount of money a landlord must invest to improve a property’s energy efficient rating – from £3,500 to £10,000.
But the costs of converting properties could be prohibitive for rural landlords, says the CLA.
Even if landlords were able to find £10,000 to improve the energy efficiency rating, rent would have to increase by 6% annually for the next 15 years to recoup their investment.
The CLA adds that rural landlords are already finding it hard to access the Green Homes Grant due to a lack of rural TrustMark installers and urban accredited firms unwilling to travel to remote areas.
President Mark Bridgeman (pictured) says many members have invested significant sums on renewable options already.
“The unique challenges that affect rural properties in decarbonising seem to have been forgotten about in the new policy proposals,” he says.
“If the government are serious about decarbonising rural properties, they need to support and invest in the sector.”