Estate agents have told the government that it must be realistic about the ability of private landlords to fund the huge cost of upgrading properties to meet the EPC Band C minimum by 2030 proposed in the latest consultation.
The comments by Propertymark follow a survey of landlords by lender The Mortgage Works which reveals the fears, and huge costs, faced by many landlords if the minimum EPC requirement is introduced.
Its survey of 600 landlords found that half are considering selling one or more properties as the tougher EPC rules loom, with an average expected cost of £15,000 to achieve the Band C minimum.
Timothy Douglas (pictured), Policy and Campaigns Manager at Propertymark says: “As domestic energy use accounts for 14 percent of overall UK emissions and 90% of homes in England currently use fossil fuels – improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s housing stock is one of the most significant challenges in reaching net zero emissions.
“The private rented sector has its part to play, but in recent years, landlords have faced considerable legislative change, and during a time of financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will continue to have lasting effects, the costs of bringing housing stock up to EPC Band C will be a significant challenge for many.
“If the alarming number of landlords who have considered selling up within The Mortgage Works report go on to do so, it will have a detrimental effect on not only the UK Government’s ambitions to reach Net Zero, but also for the thousands of renters looking to be housed as stock levels deplete.
Propertymark says that to support the longevity of the private rented sector, the UK Government must introduce ‘realistic and achievable targets’ that consider the diversity of the country’s housing stock. Furthermore, without incentives and sustained funding options that landlords can tap into, it is unlikely that the UK Government’s proposals for energy efficiency will be met, it says.
Recent figures revealed that a fifth of all properties with an EPC under a Band C rating in the UK are within the private rental sector, highlighting the huge upgrade the property industry will have tot tackle very soon.