Rural rentals pressured by EPC requirements

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), a rural trade group, has published a warning to the UK Government that increasing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating will cause a sell-off of rented housing in rural areas.;
Rural PRS

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), a rural trade group, has published a warning to the UK Government that increasing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating will cause a sell-off of rented housing in rural areas.

Government proposal

September 2020 saw the Government propose to increase the minimum EPC rating from ban E to C for any new tenancies from 2025, by way of a consultation.

The consultation ran from September 2020 to January 2021 and the landlord community is still waiting to hear the outcome.

Rural homes

Whilst the CLA recognize that “decarbonising rural homes is an important contribution to tackling climate change”, they are concerned that the methods used to assess energy efficiency do not take into account off-gas grid homes.

Although some houses are offered exemptions if the cost of decarbonising them is too high, there are a lot of grey-areas.

They feel that this means that if the Government was to go ahead with the proposed change in the minimum requirements in a more condensed time, some rural landlords will have no choice but to sell their properties.

Green homes grant

To help landlords with the upgrades required for their properties, the Green Homes Grant was introduced.

You can read more about our coverage of the Green Homes Grant here.

The CLA has also brought this scheme under contention –highlighting that, primarily, the requisite “Trustmark” membership is expensive, so some traders are hesitant to apply.

Secondly, that with the increasing interest in the initiative, these qualified tradespeople have been inundated with work on their doorstep and see little reason to travel to remote or rural areas.

The trade group has championed that the rural homes are “arguably the most important to decarbonise”, as they are usually less energy efficient than urban properties.

This again highlights the struggle for rural landlords, who need to get works done, but can’t due to a lack of resource.

Fewer homes

Based on their membership numbers and a recent survey, the CLA has calculated that if the government was to go ahead with this alteration to EPC ratings, there would be over 50,000 fewer rural homes in the PRS.

This sell-off would only “exacerbate the rural housing crisis”

Mark Bridgeman, President of the CLA, said:

“Our members play a crucial role in the provision of homes in rural communities across the country. But this new raft of Government legislation could have a devastating impact on those who live and work in the countryside.

“There is already a rural housing crisis- and this will only increase if a large portion of the existing rental stock ends up being sold, as it is no longer economically viable for landlords to retain.

“Our members understand the importance of decarbonising these houses and want to do their bit in helping the environment, and many have already invested significant sums on renewable options. Some insulation solutions will work in rural homes, but many of the ones that work on old houses are often incredibly expensive.

“The unique challenges that affect rural properties in decarbonising seem to have been forgotten about in the new policy proposals. If the government are serious about decarbonising rural properties, they need to support and invest in the sector. Rural areas are so often left behind with Government initiatives and this must not continue.”

This information should not be interpreted as financial advice. Mortgage and loan rates are subject to change.