Campaigns Environment, Safety and Standards

RLA wants cap on energy efficiency spend slashed

Sally Walmsley
Written by Sally Walmsley

The RLA has called for landlords’ spend on mandatory energy improvements to be capped at £2,500 – half the figure proposed by the Government.

Under plans from the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy landlords would have to fork out up to £5,000 to bring homes up to a minimum Band E energy efficiency rating or be banned from renting them out. The deadline is April 2018 for new tenancies and 2020 for existing ones.

However the Residential Landlords Association has warned this new ‘Green Tax’ could have a massive impact on tenants – pushing rents higher as landlords try to recoup costs.

In a survey of 342 members almost a quarter, 23% said they would have to increase rents to pay for the work. A total of 52% said they would be forced to sell off some of their F or G rated properties, with 65% of these looking to evict their tenants.

The RLA is now calling for the cap to be halved to £2,500 to minimise the impact on tenants and landlords alike.

A total of 330,000 buy-to-let homes, typically Victorian and Edwardian properties, will be affected by the changes.

Landlords until recently could apply for Green Deal loans to improve energy efficiency. These loans were then repaid by tenants, who as a result of the works were paying lower bills.

The new plans propose landlords stump up the cash themselves for improvements such as insulation, cavity wall filling and new boilers.

The Government proposed the £5,000 cap in a briefing to landlords – claiming that most will pay no more than £1,800. However, the RLA survey shows the real average cost to be £7,200 per property.

Richard Jones, RLA company secretary said: “The RLA would advocate a cash cap to be set at no more than £2,500 to protect tenants from excessive rent increases, without them benefitting from a reduction in their overall utility bills.”

The RLA wants the Government to make funding specifically available to PRS landlords, with a cash pot to help those with pre 1919 homes with solid walls. It is also asking for tax relief to be reinstated so that the costs of energy efficiency measures recommended on EPC certificates can be offset against income tax.

To read the full report, including the findings of our members’ survey click here.

About the author

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley

Sally Walmsley is the Communications Manager for the RLA and award-winning Editor of RPI magazine. With 16 years’ experience writing for regional and national newspapers and magazines she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and editorial content for our media partners.

She issues press releases promoting the work of the RLA and its policies and campaigns to the regional and national media and works alongside the marketing team on the association’s social media channels to build support for the RLA and its work.

2 Comments

  • My personal view is that G & F rated properties are not acceptable for any habitable dwelling. I do not believe anyone would choose to live in such properties if they had the choice.
    The last property that I purchased was rated as G1. After a full renovation the EPC rating is C76. The property was transformed from being unfit for human occupation, to one suitable for 2016 living.
    This was achieved by some of the items listed here: insulating the roof void, floor void and the 9″ solid brickwork external walls; Fixing an A-Rated GCH Boiler and A+ Rated UPVC double glazing widows and doors; total re-wired and LED lighting throughout.
    The result was Tenants who fully respect and appreciate the property, who are happy to pay a rent above the going rate for the area. A truly Win / Win situation.

  • The focus on the solid walls of pre WW1 is misguided in my opinion. Of all the improvements that can be made to a typical 2 or 3 bed Victorian rental terraced house, such as double glazing, 300mm loft insulation, A rated boiler and blocking up the flues of unused fireplaces, adding insulation to solid walls is marginal in terms of benefits and very costly. Unless it is an end of terrace the external wall area is small when compared to a semi or detatched property.

    The other issue is that, unless previously spoiled with external render or paint, many houses of this era have delightful facades with interesting detailing which is spoiled by external insulation. Add that to the matter of room size and internal features such as original cornicing that is impacted by internal insulation and you don’t have a simple case of gaining a benefit from spending several thousand pounds – especially when it could easily knock the same amount off the property value in some locations.

    My own homes for the last 40 years have been solid wall properties – I would not have wall insulation if it was given free with its ‘value’ paid out to me in cash.

    If the law is requiring this irrespective of the landlords wishes and at significant cost, then the law is an ass.

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