Landlords and letting agents have joined calls to address a stark geographical divide that threatens to penalise landlords in the North and Midlands when installing heat pumps.

The government’s newHeating and Building Strategy aims to help homeowners swap gas boilers for low carbon heating with heat pump grants but fails to factor in huge regional variations in property costs, the think-tank Localis claims.

Its new report – Lagging Behind: energy efficiency in low-viability properties – says that in some areas of the North and Midlands, the estimated costs of improving home energy can be about 25% of property values, while in affluent parts of London and the South East retrofitting with heat pumps represents less than 2% of overall property value.

It wants councils to collaborate in creating ‘one stop shops’ as joint ventures which would engage with residential landlords to retrofit at pace, and to devise bespoke solutions that meet local need and personal circumstances.

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Targets

It is also calling on the government to provide details of a localised funding mechanism for retrofit to help authorities in areas with low-viability housing achieve targets. 

Localis chief executive Jonathan Werran says a one size fits all approach to funding retrofitting threatens to deepen regional inequality and counter efforts to level up in ‘red wall’ areas.

“If the challenge of how to effectively support retrofit properties in low value areas is not met, we risk creating a dangerous divide between different parts of the country,” he says.

nrla ben beadle new pic

Ben Beadle (pictured), National Residential Landlords Association chief executive, agrees that extra help should be given to owners of low value properties to make it viable for them to invest in energy efficiency measures.

Propertymark policy and campaigns manager, Timothy Douglas, adds: “When we look at property value against the estimated cost of retrofit improvements for energy efficiency, we see a stark geographical divide making the feasibility of carrying out works required unequal across the country. This means that those living in lower value areas will be penalised when they are unable to afford the measures needed to bring their homes in line with UK government targets.”

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