Government U-turn on ‘extra time’ for landlords to meet tougher EPC rules

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baroness bybrook

The government has insisted it is committed to raising energy efficiency in the PRS from EPC band E to C by 2028.

Contrary to her boss’s comments earlier this summer, Housing Minister Baroness Scott of Bybrook gave peers the assurance when asked what she had made of Michael Gove’s remarks, given that the PRS had the fewest decent homes.

In July, the Housing Secretary suggested there could be a delay in bringing in energy efficiency plans for the PRS. Citing financial pressures on landlords, he told The Telegraph that the government should relax the pace of changes to EPC targets.

The previous month, Energy Minister Andrew Bowie admitted that landlords would have to wait many more months to find out the details of government proposals to raise the minimum EPC for rented properties.

And new Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Claire Coutinho has already been encouraged to focus on driving through new EPC rules as the green debate begins to heat up.

No clearer

The NRLA says the sector urgently needs certainty on the timeline for upgrades. Policy director Chris Norris (pictured) adds that landlords are no clearer on what is required of them.

“Ministers must put in place a plan which sets out financial measures which can help landlords deliver improvements,” he tells LandlordZONE.

“Crucially, this strategy must recognise that the PRS contains a higher proportion of older properties, which are usually more costly to upgrade.”

The imminent rule changes are prompting landlords to consider quitting the sector, particularly as there are fears that some will pay out more for green improvements than they could make in lifetime energy savings. Others are only seeking out rental properties to buy that already meet the likely minimum MEES certificate, according to Paragon Bank.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Why only Landlords? Surely this only covers a small percentage of the total amount of properties in England? Any EPC regulations should apply to all homes. Landlords are seen by both Conservative and Labour as easy pickings. I’ll be interested to know what REFORM PARTY’s intentions are for Landlords

    • They’ll soon make it every home.
      The plan is to seize and demolish all properties worse than C rating and house millions in camps. They won’t stop until we’re all under 24/7 surveillance amd we own nothing. It makes no difference which party is in power, they’re all the same now with the same puppet masters pulling the strings

    • The Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings Bill is currently (2023) making its way through Parliament.
      The FIRST SENTENCE in that bill states…

      “The Secretary of State must ensure that all domestic properties achieve at
      least EPC Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable”

      Note…. That’s not rental properties that’s EVERYONE.

      So, my advice to all landlords is to realise that they need to BITE THE BULLET, Forget about trying to upgrade E rated properties, sell on their older properties NOW and achieve pretty good property prices and re-invest in modern C rated units before first time buyers become aware that it is they who will end up saddled with having to make those improvements down the line a decade from now, because once they realise that uncomfortable fact it WILL further impact on the value of those homes needing a lot of work.

      Presuming that The EPC move to C comes to fruition in 2025 the shortage of available properties for rent will rise fairly quickly due to natural churn in the rental market therefore those investors who got ahead of the game and own a C rated portfolio should enjoy huge rent rises as shortages create bidding wars between tenants. I can see properties being advertised for rent at “Offers over £xxx” or even sealed bids 😊 (I’m already being increasingly contacted personally by people asking me if I have anything available) So properties will most likely never even be advertised but let directly to those with the best jobs/finances.

      • Shhh – I’ve just accepted an offer on an EPC E Victorian Terrace (electric heating) to a new LL – I don’t want him to realise he’ll need make it an EPC C soon!

        • Hey ho…. Sorry to rain on your parade Tricia.

          Cleary you understand that selling and possibly re-investing in modern stock is the way forward.

          I’ve already done that and now have only C rated properties that are in demand so hopefully I will be able to avoid the rif raf but if necessary I will quit the PRS if it becomes unviable as a business.

    • It’s aimed at landlords to bring their properties up to scratch for their tenants. Home owners have their own responsibility to check their energy ratings. They can only force people to do it for business purposes. As an energy assessor working in the eco industry, I do come across landlords that want to improve their homes as well as their stock. More these days as the push for renewable intensifies. We upgrade properties from E F and G to A B and C every week at Ecocorpuk.com

      • That’s rubbish. In a totalitarian state they can force everyone to do whatever they like. The only way to stop them is to vote in a non-dictatorial alternative. Sadly there isn’t one in any of the 3 main parties.

      • What a biased person you are. Where on earth do you think that Landlords are going to find £10K to improve our properties especially in Wales where the rents are low and Julie James’ draconian new legislation is squeezing us dry now.

    • Check out the new Energy Bill having it’s last House Of Lords reading. Govt plans cover ALL homes including 12 month imprisonment & £15K fines for not bringing properties up to Epc C, can’t sell either

  2. The corporate sector must take over housing – its cannabilism of the PRS – tenants will pay more for less and it will declared wonderful

  3. What gets me I’ve insulated got builders bill but not taken into account as did not put ruler on wall. What do they want for me to take off insulation and do again lol.

  4. EPC’ are ridiculous. If on a gas main you generally fall straight into a ‘C’ especially if you switch to a combi. How can this be when we are supposed to be reducing carbon omissions. It is because gas is cheaper. This means that EPC’s are measured on cost effectiveness of a property only.

    Now, to make it even more ridiculous, if you only have electricity, all you need to to in most properties is, change the primary heat source (living room) to a high heat retention night storage heater. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 500w for a 20sq metre living room but as long as it’s there for the assessor. You can leave fan, convector or oil filled radiators in all other rooms and you’ll be fine (secondary heat source). Make sure you have low energy bulbs in all outlets, add some loft insulation (300mm), bung a 80mm jacket on the boiler and most likey you will hit a high ‘D’ and be exempt on the register!

    It’s still time consuming but absolutely ridiculous. Ministers really need to stop harassing the PRS with this bumf because it is exacerbating the problem by forcing uncertainty within the BTL property market and worsening it for renters.

    • Phil, you are spot on! I changed a perfectly decent, quality electric radiator this summer for a HHRSH & gained 10 points & an EPC C. It probably makes no difference whatsoever to the carbon emissions of the property but I am now compliant! Apparently Dimplex managed to persuade the powers that be that their product was better than any others in a huge marketing coup. The only possible benefit to the environment is that it uses off peak electricity, but if we all switch to EVs will night time electricity be off-peak?

  5. My BTL is a flat in a purpose built block and has a D rating. Over the last 8 years 3 different tenants have lived there and none of them have ever needed to turn on any of the electric wall heaters as the flat is always warm enough, even in Winter. To get a C rating I will have to replace the wall heaters with more efficient wall heaters that also won’t be used.

    A complete waste of money.

      • A leasehold flat won’t allow outside cladding, solar panels or heat pumps My flat has solid walls & floors & is all electric. Top of the range electric heaters & fully refurbished but stilll an EPC E as it’s an Edwardian property. Will be evicting the tenant & selling up.

        • I have the same problem with a 1 bed house. Double glazed. Wall insulation. 150 mm loft insulation. But it’s electric heating. EPC D rating. All I can do is replace the storage rad with a fan version. Change the immersion heater for a double. With no guarantee it will meet standard

  6. For LL who can game the EPC process by very little expenditure it will be worth retaining these properties.

    These LL won’t bother with these minor expenditures until Govt has issued the definitive requirements for EPC C status.

    But in the vast majority of the current 2.9 million sub-EPC C status letting properties.it just won’t be worthwhile spending what will be required.

    LL are already starting to sell off because of EPC C issues.

    This could result in 6 million homeless tenants.

    Surely Govt must be aware that most LL won’t be bothering to improve to EPC C status.

    There seems to be a Govt presumption that LL will indeed upgrade their properties to C status.

    No idea where they have got this perception from.

    I can assure Govt that LL won’t in the main be bothering with C status.

    Where does Govt imagine that all the tenants of these sub-EPC C status properties are going to live!?

    6 million homeless tenants is an awful lot of homeless to deal with.

    Of course this is a problem that will face a Labour Govt.

    To avoid a political disaster Labour would do well to make D status the maximum that any long-term letting property needs to achieve

    Based on the construction types of property that are mostly prevalent in the PRS.
    D status is readily achievable at not too much cost.

    Whether Labour would be so pragmatic is another question.

    But it is clear requiring C status is just not viable.

    • Where do they imagine they will live? I can answer that. They don’t care! They have no ability to think rationally beyond satisfying the green lobby. Some politicians have no common sense, some are too spineless to resist and the rest are outnumbered.

  7. Letter to my tenants has already been sent explaining about EPC and the intention for all rented properties to attain a C . As soon as its passed , notice to sell will accompany it again with a 12 month time line. 1895 built house, no way am I spending huge amount to save £200 year on upgrades.

    • I think this is the way to go. I’m considering drafting a letter for my tenants in D properties to send to the housing minister (whoever that might be at the time ) and to send to their local MP and councilors. If only tenants would wake up and see what’s about to happen! Why isn’t the situation highlighted strongly on national TV?

  8. Is this a gift from the Tories for Labour?. Tories won’t be in power by then so Labour will have to choose between seeing millions of people unable to find a property to rent or publicly winding back on virtue signalling on green stuff.

    How did the country’s IQ drop so fast in such a short space of time?

  9. That’s another 10,000 tenants been made homeless then. Why not do it to a B? Come on surely another £30,000 on a house we don’t already want & only keeping it for tenant, that’s paying 70% of market rent, surely that’s not gonna’ increase their rent.
    These politician’s have no clue. They have no idea many of us are really trying to look after the tenants. They think we’ve just bought these houses & are charging top whack & want the houses as long as possible.

    • Mick no sane LL keeps a property for a particular tenant.

      Any LL who does is a charity LL.

      Nothing wrong with that of course but the LL is not operating the property for maximum profit.

      DONT most LL seek to maximise profits?

      That was the only reason I became a LL.

      If you have 2.9 million letting properties that aren’t currently EPC C status that is about 6 million homeless tenants.

      I can’t see LL bothering to upgrade 2.9 million properties to EPC C status.

      Sane LL will sell off these dud properties.

      LL need to get rid of these dud properties sooner rather than later.

      Leaving selling off til 2028 would be extremely unwise.

  10. I have appealed before, I shall appeal again for us all to join in mutiny against the government on these policies. No one has listened to my plea. I would be willing to do my fair share.

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