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

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.

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