Radical new proposals for energy efficiency in the private rented sector could see landlords fined up to £30,000 for not improving their properties and tenants given the ability to claim compensation.

The Government’s consultation on its energy efficiency regulations sets out its aim to upgrade as many private rented homes as possible to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C by 2030.

It says the sector has some of the coldest homes – about 67% are rated at less than EPC band C – posing a risk to tenant health and leading to higher bills.

Ministers hope to introduce the changes for new tenancies from 2025 and all tenancies from 2028, and to increase the maximum investment amount, resulting in an average per-property spend of £4,700 under a £10,000 cap.

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This ultimately aims to benefit landlords, tenants and the environment by creating lower energy bills, warmer homes, potential property value gains and greater carbon emission savings.

Dual targets

But an alternative proposal in its consultation would see landlords required to reach a dual metric target of both Energy Efficiency Rating (cost) band C and an Environmental Impact Rating (carbon emissions) band C, with an increased cost cap of £15,000.

The Government is also considering requiring letting agents and online property platforms to only advertise and let properties that comply with the regulations, as well as requiring them to provide an EPC before advertising a property, increasing the fixed civil penalty fine for offences to £30,000 – per property and per breach – and introducing a property compliance and exemptions database.

It suggests that local authorities could inspect properties and use EPC open data for enforcement, and to give tenants power to request that energy performance improvements are carried out when a landlord is non-compliant. It’s also proposing that tenants should be able to request redress from the landlord if they fail to comply.

Read the consultation document in full. Landlords and other interested groups have until 30th December 2020 to respond.

Read more latest news about EPCs.

Read a guide to keeping EPC compliant.

19 COMMENTS

  1. “This ultimately aims to benefit landlords, tenants and the environment by creating lower energy bills, warmer homes, potential property value gains and greater carbon emission savings.”

    I can’t see any definite benefit to landlords. It won’t benefit tenants because I’ll either be putting rents up to cover the cost of upgrading or I’ll be selling up and they’ll be, potentially, homeless. I very much doubt there’ll be enough of a property value gain and most of it is likely to be snatched away in CGT.

  2. When you have done all the sensible stuff – loft insulation, LED light bulbs, boiler upgrade – all you are left with is wall &/or floor insulation, solar power, biomass boiler! These measures are so expensive that it is not possible to recoup the cost and so LLs will sell up.

    It is almost impossible to get a Victorian Terrace up to a C so all these will be removed from the market. Tenants will have less choice and higher rents whilst many will have no choice at all and become homeless.

    My long standing, retired tenants in a Victorian terrace, who have made it their own and planned to stay forever, will lose their home before 2028 as I can’t get it to a C and will have to sell.

    Well Done Govt!

    • I suggest LL sell these dud properties ASAP.
      Market values will be affected the nearer we get to 2030.

      Sell these dud properties to dopey FTB who won’t have a clue that when they come to sell few LL in the market will be interested unless at a massive discount of tens of thousands to pay for all the EPC C status works.

      Now is the time to convince FTB to buy these dud properties so they can enjoy the ‘benefits’ of homeownership!!

      LL need to reappraise and rationalise their properties mindful of this EPC C status quandary.

      It makes little financial sense retaining these dud properties.
      Far better to release them into the market so mug OO can buy them and have the problems.

      LL have enough problems without having to concern themselves with major expensive works to achieve EPC C status.
      Get rid of the problems; sell up.

    • I’ve looked at this. The only improvement I could get a grant for is wall insulation, which would be entirely inappropriate for my property (a flat). The exposed brickwork is part of its attraction, and internal insulation would not be suitable. Replacing the storage heaters, which would be far cheaper, far less disruptive to the tenants, would retain the character, and would achieve the same EPC band, does not qualify. Landlords aren’t going to spend thousands for nil return.

  3. From the consultation document:

    Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been challenging for the country, particularly for
    certain groups. Recognising the impacts of the pandemic on the private rented sector, the
    government introduced mortgage payment holidays for Buy to Let (BTL) mortgagors, whilst
    temporarily banning evictions to help stabilise the housing market and provide tenants with
    security of tenure during this national emergency.
    As we look to the future, we have an opportunity to make sure our economic recovery is a
    green one. To this end, government announced that homeowners and landlords will be able to
    apply for vouchers from a £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme to fund at least two thirds of
    the cost of hiring tradespeople to upgrade the energy performance of their homes up to a
    contribution of £5,000. In addition, low income and vulnerable homeowners, including park
    homeowners and those on certain benefits, will be eligible for a grant covering up to 100% of
    the cost, up to £10,000.4
    However, there may also be long-term impacts from COVID-19 on the private rented sector
    that we are not yet aware of and want to better understand. We would therefore welcome your
    views on what the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 may be as they relate to this policy.

  4. Actually, there are reports that Robert Jenrick, at the Department of Housing, Communiies (no ‘T’), Things That Go Bump In The Night and Local Government is also consulting on going even further, by introducing prison sentences for offending landlords of up to 15 years.

    There are also rumours of calls from his Scottish counterpart to force all offending male landlords in Scotland to wear kilts when outside between November and February no matter how cold it gets. The Scottish Equalities Minister wants this to also apply equally to all offending female landlords.

    Thankfully, suggestions of tarring and feathering and even capital punishment for errant landlords have been shelved for the time being.

  5. That will be me selling up over the next five years… I only have 2 properties that meet EPC C grade, and the others would require knocking down and starting again as they cannot have cavity insulation installed. Or spending on internal insulation at huge cost, which would mean moving tenants out anyway. I have no intention of spending 20k on an upgrade to be persecuted by the government… Yet another push to get landlords to sell up.

  6. Me too. I now plan to have tenants move out & sell 4 of my properties that would be too expensive to me to meet these EPC standards. The green homes grant may not be as good as some expect either. As I understand from previous experience many contractors may just put their prices up, making any actual savings minimal. Much like what happens to house prices every time the government brings in a new initiative to “help” (1st time buyer grants, stamp duty cuts etc etc), prices go up. I do feel sorry for tenants though as rents will I believe increase due to less supply & higher running costs. No one in power really seems to care about them, they just love getting good headlines in the media.

  7. As has been proven in the past lagging older houses to within an inch of their lives is a recipe for disaster. I’d advise anyone to think long & hard before getting cavity walls filled in with anything. Do your home work.

  8. What is most potty is that one is expected to do all this work to improve a property so that a benefit-claiming person can live in it and have numerous children (one ghastly tenant had four removed by Social Services but then dropped another – pity it wasn’t literally) all of which will have a far greater impact on the world through the medium of overpopulation. Doesn’t matter how many light bulbs you change and bits of insulation you stick in if you can’t get people to understand the most basic mathematics of exponential population growth versus the ‘rights’ they continually bleat about whilst completely disregarding the attendant responsibilities. Exactly the same situation prevails in high-income families where I have several clients who have reproduced at well over the replacement fertility rate. I expect they still claim the child benefit…

  9. Presumably the sub text of this latest proposal together with the ongoing situation where private landlords are being forced to house people at their (the Landllord’s) expense indefinitely is to force them out of the market. As other posters have already pointed out the costs and insurmountable difficulties involved in making, particularly period, houses C is the equivalent of throwing money into the sea. The costs cannot be recouped. The gov’t did similar to fishermen, not allowed to fish, forced to destroy their boats, whole communities destroyed with the result only a very few very large mostly foreign owned vessels are presently ploughing the seabed destroying it in the process.

  10. I have 10 properties all at D or E, with EPCs showing improvements cannot meet C, so I’d have to spend up to the cap of £15k+, even though the upgrades would make little difference.

    Once again, this is government creating policy based upon pressure from the shouty minority groups. This push to be carbon neutral by a specific date is neither hear not there given the UK contributes about 1% of global emissions. And landlords are an easy target to push their virtue signaling agenda because they can force policy under threat of heavy sanctions, unlike private households where there would be a mass revolt if they attempted to strong-arm homeowners to spend a fortune in the face of £30k fines.

  11. Further to the above this is from the Gov’t document. From my daily viewing of rental payments I would say this is totally inaccurate. The majority of landlords outside the London and Southern sector i.e. the North particularly, are receiving gross under £9K. If the rent is forthcoming of course. The following is from the report.

    Landlord average property income, English Private Landlord Survey 2018, MHCLG
    According to MHCLG data, landlords reported a gross (median) rental income of £15,000 per year before tax and other deductions. Three in five (61%) reported having a gross rental income of less than £20,000, while a further quarter (26%) reported between £20,000 and £49,999. Thirteen percent reported a gross rental income of £50,000 or more.

  12. ‘It says the sector has some of the coldest homes – about 67% are rated at less than EPC band C – posing a risk to tenant health and leading to higher bills.’

    Compared to whom, pray?

  13. Truth is HMG doesn’t want us renting out properties.
    Why?
    they want us investing in pension plans with their crony chums.
    Why?
    because when we hear HMG borrowing money… they borrow it from amongst others, the pension funds!
    Pension providers dump what they should be investing in Utilities and the like paying dividends and seeing a capital gain and investing the money in low yeilding government bonds that will depreciate when interest rates go up…
    And what happens to those utilities et al??
    They are bought up by foreigners!

  14. I’m a small landlord, with a couple of Victorian terraces. I jump on all repairs the moment my tenants bring them up and consider myself a good landlord. I looked at the current epc’s both are an E, because if the era of build, they have solid walls and floors. To make the changes the Epc’s recommend would cost over £40,000 each (wall insulation which means loosing the size of the rooms, digging up and raising the floors to install underfloor insulation which means raising door frames, solar panels, solar heating etc) and still only bring properties upto a D. I’ll have to make my tenants homeless.

  15. OMG, insane: s0d parliament!

    “This ultimately aims to benefit landlords, tenants and the environment by creating lower energy bills this just another assault on private landlords” What a load of utter cr@p!

    So, money well spent, with £0.00 available from the sh¡te green homes grant; that’s not worth the paper it’s written on for many, knowing prices, again, will be artificially inflated, as always.

    We count ourselves lucky compared to other landlords, as we fell into PR accidently, yet, still a whopping £24,200+ to spend on top of of the £££’s already invested – in order to save a max of £331 per annum, oh, and all this is an ESTIMATE!

    Which will take, what, well over 7 decades to eventually benefit from, with the average UK house producing 6 tonnes CO2, whilst ours is a C, estimate of 2.1 tonnes, with a potential for 1.4 tonnes, so, minus a massive 0.7, they are simply having a freaking laugh, it’s cheaper to buy carbon offset!

    Yes, money well spent, NOT! And what about all other homes? Why only then penalise Landlords!!! Again!

    As touched upon by others who have posted; this is just more added to the disgusting assault on Landlords, and we count ourselves lucky, the property we inherited isn’t that old.

    Anyone thinking of spending money for no gain in their lifetime – is truly off their head, knowing that non of paying of rent is practically legalised :-(,or at least not frowned upon, yet they are thieves.

    Seriously, we all need to and encourage others to sign Mr Bhattacharya petition immediately.

    Going forward sadly, our Tenants, a lovely couple, who now how 3 children, over 7 years of no missed rent payments, and only several very small gripes from us, they will soon be needing to find a new home, all because and like many others, it’s time to sell up!

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