A well-known property firm has made the unusual move of criticising the Government for not letting landlords know how they will afford and implement the proposed tightending of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rules.
The changes, which will see all rented be required to reach a ‘C’ band by December 2025 for new tenancies and December 2028 for existing ones or be excluded from the market, were thrown into disarray recently when housing secretary Michael Gove said landlords should be given more time.
Details of what this will mean, or how landlords will be offered financial help to upgrade properties, have not been released by Gove, other than to say the EPC system needs an overhaul.
Neil Hogbin (main picture) from property management firm Fisher German, says landlords and particularly those of older period properties may need to spend thousands of pounds on their property portfolios to meet the energy efficiency targets, so need certainty around any potential reforms.
“We are already beginning to see a shortage of rental properties in the marketplace as landlords start to sell up,” he says.
“Combined with the increase in energy prices because of the war in Ukraine, there is a further threat that rents will continue to rise to cover some of the costs of the EPC improvements being forced upon private landlords as they scramble to meet the new energy efficiency targets being set.
“Decent homes in the private rented sector will no longer be affordable to many.
“We all want to see properties as energy efficient as possible, but the sector needs certainty about how and when this will happen.”
Hogbin says while landlords are looking for a financial package to support improvements to their properties any details of how it will work are unclear.
“Meanwhile, the owner-occupied housing sector has no minimum energy efficiency requirements at all,” he adds.
“Many of the EPC changes are simply not practical, affordable, or wanted by many tenants – particularly those in period properties.
“It is seen as unfair that the private sector landlords, many of whom provide high-quality well-managed homes, should have to deliver on EPC targets ahead of other housing market sectors.”