The Government must use ‘carrot’ as well as ‘stick’ policies as it attempts to improve the energy efficiency of landlord properties, a leading mortgage broker as claimed.
Ben Thompson (main image), Deputy CEO of Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), warns that landlords’ concerns must be listened to when forming residential housing policy and that their approach should be more collaborative.
“For example, looking to refund Stamp Duty once a property has been retrofitted might be one way to incentivise green changes,” he says.
The Government has already shown its willingness to change policy following Rishi Sunak’s U-turn last year on minimum EPC requirements for rented homes, effectively kicking the minimum C band that would have been required by 2025/2028 into the long grass.
Thompson’s comments follow his firm’s poll of mortgage brokers and lenders. It found that half of mortgage lenders and a third of advisers would welcome any decision to reverse Sunak’s U-turn, whether by the current or a newly elected government.
Labour has been coy about its EPC plans, saying only that it wants to upgrade all of the UK’s 19 million homes and committing only in Scotland to doing this ‘within a decade’.
Both political parties are aware minimum EPC requirements for both landlords and homeowners are unpopular given the huge cost involved.
A poll of landlords last year found that 75% supported Sunak scrapping the 2025 and 2028 EPC band ‘C’ targets.
But MAB says the reality remains that millions of rented homes need to be upgraded quickly if the UK’s ‘net zero’ plan is to be achieved.
“With climate change continuing to be an issue we all must take seriously, everyone has a role to play to ensure UK homes are more energy efficient,” says Thompson.
“At a policy and industry level, we have a responsibility to push the housing market to a more sustainable future - one that is as energy efficient as possible.
“The UK has some of the oldest and least efficient homes in Europe, so the government scrapping plans to encourage landlords to improve their homes is not going to help solve the problem.”