Gove calls for EPC deadline reprieve to give landlords a break

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Housing Secretary Michael Gove has suggested a delay in bringing in energy efficiency plans for the private renter sector.

Citing financial pressures on landlords, he told The Telegraph that the government should relax the pace of changes to EPC targets which is expected to see them forced to obtain a C grade for their properties by 2028. This could include spending thousands on fitting a heat pump, insulation or solar panels, with a national cap of £10,000.

Relax pace

michael gove

“My own strong view is that we’re asking too much too quickly,” said Gove. “We do want to move towards greater energy efficiency, but just at this point, when landlords face so much, I think that we should relax the pace that’s been set for people in the private rented sector, particularly because many of them are currently facing a big capital outlay in order to improve that efficiency.”

Ben Beadle, NRLA chief executive, says there was never any hope of meeting the originally proposed deadlines, which it told the Minister earlier this month.

Needs certainty

“The NRLA wants to see properties as energy efficient as possible, but the sector needs certainty about how and when this will happen,” he adds. “Ministers need to develop a proper plan that includes a fair financial package to support improvements in the private rented sector. We will continue to work with all parties to develop pragmatic and workable proposals.”

A rethink could be timely as new research by Green Building Renewables reveals that 63% of landlords plan to sell properties rather than improve them to meet new EPC targets, leading to a shortage of rental properties.

In June, 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 Energy Performance Certificate for rented properties.

44 COMMENTS

  1. Net zero will never happen, the public cant afford to grant the politicians wishes, push back will be immense.

    China emits more in one month than the UK can save by going net zero by 2050

    • Exactly Tony! This whole scheme is crazy in UK and obviously has zero to do with ‘saving the Planet’ All this nonsense has everything to do with lining the Councils’ coffers. British Cities have never been cleaner. I was stuck in the middle of a very, very busy dual carriageway in Central London last week and noticed all the beautiful colourful troughs of flowers hanging either side of the central railings. All perfectly healthy! Not one bit of soot or pollution to damage them. They were so good they wdn’t have been any better if they were in a very remote part of the Countryside. In the 70’s they wd have been all black dust from vehicle exhausts. etc which you don’t get nowadays. Massive ‘Con Job’ by all the people voted in to ‘help’ us and I wish the British people wd get out there ‘en masse’ like the French do to protest against all the ‘wrongs’ which are being thrust upon us all. The Government here have it so so easy to ride roughshod over the British people because we allow them to get away with it by being far too quiet and complacent. It’s time for the ordinary, everyday people to rise up and object in a massive way before those in charge create absolute Anarchy in this Country. They seem to be doing their best to run the country down so that it’ll have 3rd World status.

  2. What Gove states is irrelevant.
    The Tories won’t be the next Govt.
    So any Tory pronouncements may be ignored.

    We want to hear what Labour intend to do as they will be in Govt for at least 10 years.

    There is no way I want my Terrace house improved to C status.

    It would mean ripping out the kitchen and laminate flooring etc.
    Simply not going to do it.

    D status is fine.
    I put a jumper on for winter.

    If I can’t rent I’ll sell it.

    I very much doubt a homeowner will wish to expend to achieve C status.

    So all that will be happening is vast numbers of sub-EPC C status properties will return to the owner occupation market never to return to the rental market.
    Millions of tenants will be made homeless with NONE of them buying the ex-rental properties.

    There is NO way Govt will ever be able to force homeowners to improve to C status.

    D status is far more achievable and this could be an aspiration for Govt to persuade OO and LL to achieve.

    C status is a step too far for housing built before the 90’s.

    OO will ignore Govt to achieve C status.

    Govt will NOT be able to make LL improve their properties to C status because LL will just sell them as is already happening.

    C status is a pointless aspiration that LL will refuse to meet.

    Selling such properties is what LL are and will do.

    • I guess it’s time for landlords to give something back to the community and provide tenants with houses that can be economically heated.
      I’ve just bought a 1840s place that is EPC F and will be turing it into C or B. Landlords have had it pretty good for a very long time, it’s time for them to invest back into the housing stock they’ve made so much money off!

      • The cost of heating your home has gone up because of Govt policies & Putins war. People were perfectly able to afford to heat their homes, tenants or owners, before these events. Hope you’ve budgeted properly for your improvements & you don’t end up with a damp property!

      • Utter rubbish
        The landlords have invested.

        Do you even understand capital investment risk.?

        You’re just another socialist with absolutely zero economic knowledge
        With the expectation that skivers should get something for nothing.

        Exactly what risk does a tenant contribute to a rental property?

      • What an ass comment all those that made money have left already. 95% of LL own between 1-4 properties with one wage coming un to cover their own house and any rental properties . Gov wants LL to give all pay for it all not be able to get their properties back which is an investment when they want and sunak want to tax you to an inch of your life but encourage his own freinds to avoid tax left right and centre.
        The government need to make the PRS a viable option becauce at the moment with rates going up , tax going up , councils wanting registrations and fees , rents will only increase or for LL be a loss at which point you have to sell as it will bankrupt you so sorry tenants dont blame LL blame corrupt MPs for not building, and only doing what makes them money

        • Not sure i follow your logic… sounds like you want to make the money and are bitter than someone else is… if landlords need to invest in the investments but cant afford it then give it to someone who can. Prices are inflated and need to crash. The government shouldnt bail out bad investments.

          • Investors are in it for the return, businesses are in it to make money, or else what is the point. J B came across as preaching a little bit. Looking back at history it is only those that have made money became philanthropists. I think Tom was trying to point out that he could only make some money and give back to the community if the government stopped taxing him to death.

      • So JB you have bought an F rated property and are going to turn it into a C or B…. good luck with that we will be interested in your capital costs to do that. Hope you bought it cheap

      • If I could I would, but the costs are too great not to increase the rent and all my Tenants have said that they would prefer cheap rent EPC D to the alternative. When they move out or it becomes law that all homes have to be of EPC C and above I will consider it.

      • Can I borrow you’re magic wand when you’ve finished with it? You obviously have NO experience in renting. Another idiot who believes what they read about nasty landlords screwing the tenants, and no idea of the cost in time and money landlords must pay. For example, lots of criticism from people watching the ch4 news communists covering damp and mould on new (or maybe 30 year) house that was obviously a COUNCIL home, and the foreigners covering up air bricks (designed for ventilation) to stop heat escaping. Number of idiots doing that and THEN complaining about mould. The new building regulations for insulating homes will result in EVERY building developing “damp problems” because the politicians want to signal their virtue, with NO idea of the consequences of their new laws.
        But write back in ten years and tell us about you’re experiences of being a landlord. You have an education in store, and I would bet you won’t be making such trite comments when you’ve lost years of rent, and fortunes on vandal tenants. Especially as these politicians are only getting started with their destructive laws.

    • Both parties are the same
      The Uniparty.
      Globalist Blairite socialists.

      Both parties have instructions to destroy all small businesses in the UK and hand the economy over to Global mega corporations, Investment giants like BlackRock and Vanguard and big Banks.

      Small private landlords are now seen and labelled as pariahs.
      The PRS is dead under Lib/Lab/Con.

    • “There is NO way Govt will ever be able to force homeowners to improve to C status”
      It won’t stop some sections trying, the SNP want to make it so you cannot sell a home with worse than EPC-C rating : https://propertyindustryeye.com/homes-with-gas-boilers-could-be-banned-from-being-sold-under-government-plans/ So you can’t afford to upgrade it, and you can’t sell it ! Seems they want lots of heat pumps – good luck getting a good EPC with one of those.

      But until that is the policy, OOs will have to upgrade as well, then all this current EPC nonsense means is that lower rated properties move to be OO with absolutely zero improvement in overall CO2 outputs.

      • If homeowners are prevented from selling a sub-EPC status property then an effective solution is to take on two unrelated single lodgers.

        The rent will be as much as normal rent inclusive.

        The homeowners will reside one day per month at their property and that is just to satisfy residential insurance requirements.

        There is always stuff to do at a home to fi a day.

        Even the SNP can’t prevent lodgers occupying a HOME.

        There is no legal requirement for a Home to be EPC C status.

        If the SNP make selling a non-C status illegal then lodgers wi be the solution.

        The homeowners might spend a lot of time renting themselves or might even become lodgers in another property!!

        The Dopey SNP can easily be beaten unless they ban lodgers from homes!

    • I presume you meant houses built before the 1990s lol. Many of mine were built close to the 1890s.
      No way I’m going to make these get to a C & then a B. In fact I’ve sold several already because of all the faff.

  3. If you push it back and back it’ll just cost you more to do later and they’ll be more efficient rental properties on the market than yours, get it done now and have a good product to rent out, or play the game of chance that your tennant can’t pay you or either heat and protect your investment.

    • Trouble is, at the moment you could spend “a lot” of money to upgrade, then the EPC changes that have been talked about for ages come in, and you find you have a non-conformant property again. IMO, better to wait until any changes in the whole EPC assessment system (which we all agree is broken) are known and then spend to meet the new rules – or just sell. Upgrading now means you could spend now, and still sell later.

  4. You can’t believe a word this snake Gove says.
    He was the Tory architect of Net Zero, now suddenly he’s on the road to Damascus?

    No, its because an election is coming and there’s no clear blue water between Labour and the socialist CON party.

    Anything the Tories say today they will u-turn on tomorrow and most definitely won’t stick to their election promises.

    if Gove cared about the private rental sector he would tear up his ridiculous Renter’s Reform bill and then resign.

  5. There is a certain amount which can be done without evicting tenants to do it. Weve gone from Fs and Gs. to D and in a few cases B and C. But if for example the home is off the gas grid the mark down for LPG is penal. Whatever LPG is not sold is just flared off and wasted, so no saving of the planet by not using it. The reverse in fact. Of all the fossil fuels it is the cleanest. It is monstruous that Landlords who have put in wet sustems with buried LPG tanks should be penalised down to a D for an otherwise very efficient home.

  6. I’m selling my 4 flats, no way of achieving ‘C’ and not got £40k to spend to then get an exemption. That’s another 4 PRS flats out if the rental market. It’s going to hit hard.

  7. ‘upgrading’ from e to c is not only expensive and disruptive, but also likely to cause long term issues to the building.

    Cavity wall insulation causes damp and is not recommend for older property without a repointing. Underfloor insulation runs similar risks and could lead to floor joist rot.

    Heat pumps are entirely unsuited to older property, thermal outputs are lower so a house needs to be well insulated for a heat pump to do it’s job.

    • Totally agree. Filling 130 year old houses wall cavities with any insulation will only end in damp, mould, tears & complaining tenants asserting all of their newly formed rights. Madness. These people have no idea about older house construction & so should wind their necks in.

  8. It would be good if policy statements could be accompanied by the benefits and downsides expected as a result (with details on how these will be measured). Then we can all judge whether they are good or poor policies.
    This one seems to have many downsides and not enough benefits, so may not be quite the right approach to achieve whatever goal it is aiming for.
    Well done to Give for at least raising the topic.

  9. Reality is that landlords should not be making a profit while renters struggle paying for poor quality housing. Either improve standards and reduce monthly bills for renters or sell the property to someone else who will invest in the home they own. The decisions landlords make for their own homes vs rented properties is very different. More needs to be done to make landlords create sustainable housing rather than turning a profit. The government need to prioritise the people over wealthy landlords.

    • That is hilarious. Of course they should make a profit. Why should they work 20 – 30 years to save 100s of thousands of pounds to invest in property & do this for nothing? What would they live on? We don’t all have the luxury of free handouts from the state. There’d be little investment in housing stock & landlords would just put the cash in the bank instead – it is obvious.
      Next you’ll be saying that supermarkets & water companies shouldn’t make a profit.
      Tell you what, why not just move to a communist country & see how you like it?

    • Am intrigued as to why landlords, and not the populace as a whole should “create sustainable housing”, plus at the expense of “turning a profit”. Forgive the basic lesson in economics but landlords need to make a profit so as to have the funds to (constantly and at short notice) “invest in the home they own”; items wear out, need repairing or replacing, walls, roof and chimneys require remedial work and so on during the course of a tenancy. All these things cost money and unlike the BoE QE is not an option. It is also worth pointing out that sometimes this expenditure can be down to the tenant’s thoughtless actions which are always denied but can cost £000’s – and not covered by insurance.
      As such, a God-given right to heat pumps and solar panels at lesser rent is illogical. Finally, I think you’ll find that the wealthy landlords are corporate entities owned by pension funds or based overseas; the average (small) landlord cares about their property and their tenants; they can’t afford not to.

      • The ability to ‘turn a profit’ is something that many LL won’t be able to achieve with all these nonsense policies.

        Many LL will have little alternative than to sell up.

        I wonder how long it will be before FHL are required to be EPC C status!

        Possibly closely followed by all AirBnB and SA.

        Nothing would surprise me!!

        That will put the cat amongst the pigeons!!!!

    • Many owner occupiers live in properties which do not meet the EPC C standard, and many rental properties do achieve this level. As landlords, we live in a D rated property, while many of our tenanted properties achieve a C.
      Not all landlords are wealthy – especially in the current climate of rising interest rates.
      As for landlords not making a profit – why on earth would they put up with all the nonsense churned out by the government unless there were a financial incentive? They run a business, and not a charity! You’ll soon be saying that Tesco should be giving away free baked beans!

  10. Alastair has a very dim view of landlords. I have a D and cannot get C as my walls are 2ft thick solid stone. the house is as warm as can be and heating bill very low, but as the inspector who gave me the D said ‘computer says no, walls are either insulated or not, there is nothing about solid stone’. I look after my properties, do not charge the earth, have very happy tenants but will have to sell if the EPC does not change to take in reality. I also wish JB luck with his 1840’s house, I just hope that he does not end up with a very expensive very damp house. Cavity wall insulation in older buildings can draw in damp massively. For interest apparently thatched houses get very low EPC although they are amazingly cheap to heat!!!! One size will never fit all, the EPC as it stands is not fit for purpose.

  11. Amazing all the comments against landlords…
    Why don’t you say more about the petrol rip off, or mega bucks companies make, or electric companies sucking the life out of every one.
    It not against the law to own property and rent it out.
    Most landlords are good decent people providing good quality housing
    And working very hard for their tenants.
    Everyone makes a profit just look at apple.
    No one comparing about them?
    LL also provide housing for the millions not getting jobs and sucking the system and not giving to the state, just taking.
    Any anti landlord want to add anything to that or provide a home for that tenant.
    No.
    Hmmm…wonder why.

    • Ultimately it is pure envy.

      I invite you and every other LL to watch Channel 4 news yesterday.

      They devoted a whole programme to Housing issues.

      There were two absolute idiots on there.

      Your typical Marxist woke idiot.

      He maintained that private rental property shouldn’t be used for PROFIT!

      The other idiot made other facile comments.

      Watch the programme and I guarantee you’ll be shouting at the TV!!

      The LL responses were feeble

  12. I wonder if people saying landlords are at fault and greedy likely do not actually rent a property themselves. Go buy a £180,000 property. Find and put 33% of your own money into it. Cover all maintenance, insurances, legal etc, suck up any non rent payment issues. If it’s not a epc C , spend up to £10,000 to bring up to C. They simply haven’t got a clue how difficult renting properties are. We feel unappreciated in providing homes to people who would otherwise not have a home ( no fault of theirs, low wage etc). It’s is simply the lack of council properties causing the housing shortage. Putting the burden on private individuals to provide homes for fellow citizens is simply unfair. Private rentals have been reasonably stable , whereas social/council homes in past 30 years have drastically reduced in numbers. We have great tenants who we are keeping, but are not reletting when the properties become empty, mainly due to the constant attacks by government who 6 years ago wanted to reduce the private sector ( which they have not reversed) and the constant nasty unreasonable comments made by unappreciative fellow citizens who have no idea how hard we have had to work, particularly in the early years of a purchase. I was a gasman working full time to subsidise the purchase of our rental properties. It’s been hard work, used to enjoy it very much but not now, it’s just one hassle after another.

  13. When a house already has triple glazing, recent GCH boiler replacement, part wall insulation and loft insulation, minuscule roof space for potential solar, the only remaining works that could take it from EPC D to C are majorly disruptive.

    Given that the average rental attracts 20 viewers, what you never hear about is how we are supposed to decant these 100s of 1000s of tenants while the floor is ripped out and insulated or walls insulated (and resulting room size reduced).

  14. ‘63% of landlords plan to sell properties rather than improve them to meet new EPC targets, leading to a shortage of rental properties.’ I wonder if that’s got anything to do with Mr Gove’s U turn. They catch on quickly, don’t they?

    • I believe that it has come as a bit of a shock to Govt that LL are ACTUALLY selling up due to all the bonkers anti-LL policies.

      S24 was bad enough; all the stuff after that was and is even more bonkers.

      I DONT believe it ever occurred to Govt that LL would sell up if the PRS environment was made so penal.

      Why they may have believed this would be the case I have no idea.

      I could only conjecture and consider because of the huge costs of entering the PRS and exiting it as well that Govt believes LL would stay invested come what may.

      It appears that this ISN’T the case!

      The situation appears to have belatedly woken up Govt.

      They are now offering ‘warm noises’ as regards the PRS policies.

      I DONT believe LL are convinced at all.

      They are continuing with their exit strategies.

      COME WHAT MAY!!

  15. The notion that all LLs are fat cats living off others belongs in the dark, distant past but unfortunately remains wafting around like a damp, dank smell thanks to the idle, the clueless, and the endless array of paper pushers. Buy to Let landlords are being bled dry. Those with small property portfolios are going broke. It makes you wonder, is this the plan? Who will be buying up all the properties when the exodus gets going? Who will benefit, and for what purpose? There has to be a motive for such unreasonable, unrealistic measures and I’m unconvinced it’s simply to swell the coffers short term.

  16. Mr Gove, it’s not a case of ‘relaxing the pace’, it’s a case of not doing it at all because it’s insane! It’s also unfair to expect landlords to upgrade to C or whatever when home owners aren’t. If it’s a health need, or a save the world need, to live in a C, why does it make any sense for this to only apply to rented property?

  17. I set my self a target of getting my 6 retals to a EPC C -or fiding out how and at what cost .
    all my properties have gas ch d glazing loft instalation were possible .
    1 ground floor flat ( 1960 ) —c
    2 1970 3 bed semi with cavity fill –c
    3 2 bed 1980 flat –c
    4 2 bed 1981 flat –c
    5 1880 2 bed terr house –C
    6 1960 2 bed bungalow — c

    The bungalow was rated as a D with £8k to 12k needed to make it C , so haveing looked at other properties in the road I contacted the EPC listed assesser with a c and said how . She said unplug the electric fire and removed and get it re assesed I did and I got a C with no cost at all. IF YOU HAVE A PORTABLE ELECTIC HEATED IN A GAS CH HOUSE REMOVE IT !! it could ( and in my case did ) reduce a house from a C to a D .

    • Absolutely bonkers!!

      I wonder whether it would be permitted to pay for an EPC assessor to advise a LL what they could do to achieve a C status.

      This advice would not be the EPC assessment.

      Once the LL has done what the assessor recommends such as removal of electric fires then the official EPC may go ahead.

      A bit like a pre-MOT where the garage does an unofficial MoT.

      Any works required are carried out by the garage which subsequently carries out an official MoT.

      Inevitably the vehicle passes!!!

      So a pre-EPC would make eminent sense

  18. Weather a tenant wants to live in a epc rating below c is entirely up to the tenant, they have a choice before moving in, in ref to any improvements to properties to achieve energy efficiency to reach c or above, this should apply to all properties not just PRS but all properties throughout the uk, and if the government is demanding this, then the it should be fully funded by the government

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