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Give landlords a new LESA of life

It’s well known that the coldest homes in England are those in the private rented sector. 9.4% of private rented homes are F/G rated on the Energy Performance Certificate compared to 1.8% of housing association properties. A big part of the problem is that landlords have been reluctant to invest in energy efficiency when it’s their tenants that benefit from the resulting lower energy bills. That “split incentive” is one reason why the government introduced the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance in the Budget of 2004 – making it cheaper for landlords to invest in key energy saving measures.

With LESA – for every property they rent out – landlords can claim up to £1,500 off their tax bill for the costs of buying and installing cavity wall, loft, solid wall, floor and hot water system insulation and draught-proofing.

LESA is set to be scrapped on Wednesday – in the next budget.   

EST doesn’t want to see that happen. We are working with a broad alliance of activist groups, campaigners, landlords associations and concerned citizens to ensure that this potentially vital policy is kept on the agenda. We’re calling on George Osborne and Danny Alexander to extend LESA for the good of tenants, for the good of landlords and for the good of the long term economy.

Now is the wrong time for LESA to be scrapped. The incentive hasn’t been widely used to date (about 18,000 landlords have used LESA so far). But thanks to important new government policies LESA should right now be coming into its own. The government has introduced plans to require the owners of the least efficient rented properties to upgrade them. The aim is that all private rented homes should be meeting an EPC E standard by 2018.

So landlords have a clear reason to upgrade homes fast. LESA provides an obvious means to help them to do that.

By supporting a growing energy efficiency industry and leaving tenants with more spending money, the national economy will ultimately benefit from the LESA incentive as well. A policy that makes both tenant and landlord happy while also offering economic growth is a very rare thing and clearly worth keeping.

If you’d like to join the campaign to help protect LESA, please tweet the following hashtag: #SaveLESA The clock is ticking!

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