The government should offer landlords a tax incentive to make private rented homes energy efficient, urge property professionals.
The plan is for all rental homes to have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of at least ‘C’ by 2030, but the target will be missed if landlords are not offered more financial support to upgrade their properties, says the Association of Rental Letting Agents (ARLA).
The trade body claims landlords cannot afford the investment needed to make their homes energy efficient without help from the government.
ARLA argues the buy to let sector suffers from an imbalance in funding support, as landlords are responsible for the highest number of energy inefficient homes out of the UK’s housing stock and receive no funding, while the social housing sector has more properties rated ‘C’ and above but receives millions in funding.
To balance the market, ARLA is calling for the government to reinstate the Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) and focus energy efficiency schemes towards the private rental sector, with EPC grading as part of funding criteria rather than tenant income.
David Cox, ARLA chief executive, said: “The government’s target for all private rented homes to have an EPC rating of ‘C’ by 2030 will not be met. With the collapse of the Green Deal, the private rented sector has been left little in the way of funding in order to raise energy efficiency within the tenure.
“Last year, the government ended its dedication under the Energy Act 2011 for energy efficiency improvements to come with no ‘upfront cost’ to landlords by introducing a capped contribution of up to £3,500. The increasing financial burden faced by landlords is being passed on to tenants through rent increases, and some buy-to-let investors are leaving the sector altogether.
“If the Clean Growth Strategy target is to be met, the government needs to act fast in providing support to private landlords. Funding needs to be focussed on improving the energy efficiency of private rented stock, and LESA should be reintroduced and extended to include recommendations found in an EPC.”