The Governments ambition to have all PRS properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of C or above by 2030 is a ‘pipedream’ according to an industry body.
EPC rating of “C” or above
The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) has highlighted that the government’s plans to have all PRS properties achieve an EPC rating of C or above, by 2030, are unrealistic for some.
They believe that while better EPC ratings benefit many, without financial assistance, the goal will be unachievable.
According to an analysis by the NRLA, only 5% of landlords have received government help to fund energy-efficient improvements to their properties.
This is despite the fact that privately rented properties have the furthest to go when it comes to EPC targets, compared to the social rented sector and privately owned properties.
With the short-lived Green Homes Grant being scrapped just 6 months after its launch, the NRLA is calling for more substantial financial backing, when it comes to upgrading EPC ratings.
Without any financial support, they don’t see the 2030 goals as achievable for all landlords and worry about what the repercussions could be.
The English Housing Survey was published earlier this month and highlighted that a third of PRS housing was built before 1919.
This generation of properties is the hardest to increase the EPC rating for. When looking at all properties built before 1919, 84% had an EPC rating of “D” or worse.
These older properties are also considered ‘fuel poor’.
According to government figures, it would cost an average of over £7,500 to bring rental properties needing it, to an energy rating of at least “C”.
The NRLA has identified that the average net annual rental income for a private landlord could be less than £4,500.
Further to this, a large proportion of the properties rated at less than a “C” currently are unable to reach this higher EPC rating despite energy-efficient changes being made.
Will the government put a solution in place, to support landlords, who cannot achieve these EPC targets?
In light of the challenge ahead, the NRLA is proposing two avenues to assist landlords with improving EPC ratings on properties.
The first of these is to introduce a scrappage scheme around upgrading windows, as many properties with low EPC ratings have no double glazing, compared with housing in other sectors.
Following this, they are also calling for energy-efficient improvements, which are carried out by landlords, to be offset against tax as repair and maintenance.
This would address what they highlight as anomalies in the tax relief system. If a landlord replaces a broken boiler, this cost is tax-deductible. However, replacing a boiler with a more energy-efficient one is not.
Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said:
“We all want to see energy-efficient rental homes. They cut bills for tenants, make homes more attractive to potential renters and help the country to achieve its net-zero commitment.
“The Chancellor needs to develop a financial support package that works for landlords and tenants. This should especially be targeted at the hardest to treat properties where the cost of work will be prohibitive for landlords. In this way, he will also be doing the most to help the fuel poor.”