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The UK government plans to delay energy efficiency targets for rented homes. This follows pressure from landlords about the cost of improvements. This decision is part of a wider review of the government’s environmental policies. Some Conservative MPs fear these are too expensive and could weaken the party’s chances in the next general election.

The current proposals would have required all new tenancies to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of C or above by 2025. with this expanded to all existing tenancies by 2028. However, the government is now considering delaying these requirements and overhauling the EPC system.

The policy initially intended to reduce bills for tenants and stop poorly insulated homes from adding to emissions. However, a Whitehall source has pointed to the cost it would have for landlords, stating that the government cannot “overburden landlords facing cost of living pressures” (Sky News). In this article, experts in the legal tenancy sphere at AST Assistance explain the changes to the energy efficiency regulations and their implications for landlords’ obligations.

Reaction from landlords to the energy efficiency changes

The National Residential Landlords Association has welcomed the government’s decision. It also states that ministers need to develop a proper plan that includes a fair financial package to support improvements in the private rented sector.

The economic considerations behind the decision are complex. On the one hand, improving energy efficiency would save renters an average of £570, according to climate think tank E3G. On the other hand, landlords would be expected to pay the first £10,000 of any energy efficiency work themselves. The government’s decision to delay the targets reflects a concern about the potential financial burden on landlords, especially in the context of broader cost-of-living pressures.

The delay in energy efficiency targets and the overhaul of the EPC system signals a shift in the government’s approach to environmental policies. It reflects a growing concern about the cost and speed of policies to reduce carbon emissions.

Landlords should closely monitor the government’s announcements regarding the delay and the proposed changes to the EPC system. They should also engage with industry associations. This will help them understand any financial packages introduced to support improvements in the private rented sector.

The new considerations landlords must take

The decision to ease energy efficiency requirements in rented homes is a multifaceted issue, with implications for landlords, tenants, the economy, and the environment. It reflects a delicate balancing act between competing interests and priorities.

Landlords must navigate this complex landscape with care, staying informed, assessing their properties, engaging with tenants, and exploring financial support options. This includes keeping on top of upcoming regulatory changes concerning a potential overhaul of the EPC system.

Landlords must also stay abreast of other legal changes in order to understand their rights and obligations. Upcoming changes to eviction laws, for example, mean landlords must comply with new processes. Should a landlord want to evict a tenant, it’s wise to consult eviction specialists to ensure full compliance with ever-changing laws. By taking a proactive and informed approach, landlords can respond effectively and comply with regulatory changes.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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