A lack of public money to back landlords keen to upgrade their properties is likely to have been a major factor behind Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap changes to minimum energy standards, an expert has claimed.
Anna Clare Harper (pictured), of GreenResi, believes the Prime Minister acknowledged the difference between the private and the social rented sector, which features larger, institutional bodies where the equivalent of minimum energy efficiency standards has been in place for years.
Speaking on The Rodcast podcast, Harper, whose firm advises investors about green issues, said: “He probably realised that having the proposed legislation come into law without an equivalent public funding mechanism would be party suicide because the people who own the properties couldn’t afford to put these changes in place.”
Following the announcement last week that the government was rowing back on introducing minimum EPC levels for properties and phasing out gas boilers, Harper said it was sensible to scrap proposed dates because laws were impossible to deliver without a supporting infrastructure.
She believed the government must move away from making short-term decisions about energy efficiency and housing if it was to meet Net Zero targets; the sector needed joined up policies, not “random dates”.
Harper added: “We need investment, otherwise none of this will happen. Net zero 2050is long-range objection which means we need long-term strategies.”
She outlined the situation in Europe where housing stock is more fit for purpose and there are more institutional owners who want to invest in sustainable opportunities.
For professional investors, having a reserve budget – which can be spent on energy upgrades - is how you do business, she added. “It’s harder for an individual; if you didn’t intend to be a landlord, it wouldn’t have crossed your mind to save up the money.”
Listen to the podcast in full.