Almost half of rented homes to miss EPC targets: Propertymark

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Close to half of privately rented homes in England are likely to miss the government’s energy efficiency rating target in six years, according to Propertymark.

The estate and letting agent’s body says 40% of these properties look set to fail to meet the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities 2021 proposals that new tenancies must have an energy performance certificate rating of at least C by 2025, with existing tenancies hitting this standard by 2028.

In May, Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale introduced a Private Member’s Bill, Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings, with the same requirement.

The latest English Housing Survey, published this month, shows that in the eight years to 2020 the number of homes in the private rented sector with an EPC ‘C’ rating lifted to 39% from 19%.

If this rate continues, 60% of homes in this sector will have met the standard by 2028, says the agent’s body.

It adds: “England’s 4.4million privately rented homes make up 19% of the country’s total housing stock, the second largest tenure, so will be vital in supporting the UK’s 2050 net zero target.”

By comparison, the English Housing Survey says that 68% of housing association homes are currently rated at ‘C’ or above, 61% of council homes and 42% of owner-occupied housing.

The agent’s body calls on the government to do more for the buy-to-let sector and “move away from a one-size-fits-all policy in favour of energy efficiency proposals that consider a property’s age, condition, and size rather than its tenure”.

It also calls on local councils “to develop ‘one-stop shops’ to engage with landlords to find suitable methods to facilitate retrofit at pace, which has also been recommended by stakeholders such as the Local Government Association”.

Propertymark head of policy and campaigns Timothy Douglas says: “We knew it would be a huge challenge for the private rented sector to achieve the proposed 2028 target because the owners of rental properties will not directly benefit from lower energy bills, so where is their incentive? The data in the English Housing Survey shows just how far there is to go.

The new government should take heed of this projected shortfall if it is serious about net zero, and against the backdrop of the huge sums of money, it has had to commit in the short-term to help householders with their rising bills amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Our member agents are already seeing rental properties disappearing from the market for a variety of reasons and there is a real danger more could go with the EPC rating target hanging over them.

Propertymark supports moves to improve the energy efficiency of property types and will continue to lobby for a national retrofit strategy with realistic, fair and achievable targets alongside dedicated, long-term grants that consider each property’s individual characteristics.”

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