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Landlords lagging behind may say ‘bye’ to let

Rising rents mean times are tough for the tenant. And things can be made worse when massive energy bills are dropping on the mat, too.

Our survey at the start of this year showed that private renters have a desire to get green measures in their homes – but are the least likely to be actually benefitting from them.

We’ve got some advice and letter templates for tenants looking to nudge their landlord into action on energy efficiency. But perhaps the greatest incentive to action might be that landlords won’t be able to rent out a place at all after April 2018 if its EPC isn’t above F or G banded.

As this article points out, it could well be as many as one in ten private-rented properties that become ‘unlettable’ when the legislation comes in.

This is not idle threat from the government – this is going to happen. The only point of discussion left is whether the ban on rental starts on a fixed date or at the end of an existing tenancy at that point. 2018 is hardly worlds away, so it would be pertinent to crack on now. As our housing strategy manager David Weatherall says:

Landlords should act now to make improvements while offers like ECO exist, which offer additional funding to improve the energy efficiency of leaky homes, rather than waiting until 2017 when the same funding might not be in place.”

What’s more, from 2016, tenants will have their right to ask for reasonable energy efficiency improvements enshrined in statute.

This is not about hitting landlords where it hurts, with no gain. Green Deal support is available, with the parallel ECO funding making up the cost difference for those whose portfolios include old, hard-to-treat properties with solid walls. Plus, at the end of work, homes will be warmer, comfier and with a smaller thud on that doormat. These are all things even the moderately discerning renter is looking for.

When the landlords’ trade association has laid down the law on the issue of energy efficiency to their members, you can be sure that the arguments in favour of energy efficiency in our leaky private-rented sector have been well and truly won. So, the final word to the NLA:

The Government has made it clear that there will be consequences for those who do not voluntarily improve the energy efficiency of their properties by a specific time, so there is no excuse not to comply with the cost-neutral scheme." 

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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