A report into greening the private rental sector, released by British Gas, revealed that many landlords are in the dark when it comes to how efficient their rental homes are.
Some 44 per cent of landlords surveyed admitted to not knowing the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of their property. Meanwhile more than half said they did not know enough about grants for green home improvements available to them, leading to just 23 per cent being prepared to carry out upgrades.
An EPC is a measure of how much it costs to heat and light a home with homeowners graded from A to G based on the results. A is the most efficient and G is the least.
Two thirds of those surveyed either don’t know or have overestimated the average cost of bringing a property up to an EPC C standard, estimated to be £7,430.
Although targets for landlords to upgrade all privately rented homes to a grade C were scrapped in September, the requirement for the EPC rating to be E or higher has been in place since April 2020.
The report reveals how landlords across the UK feel about upgrading their properties to support country’s net zero goals alongside the pressures of high interest rates.
The private rental sector accounts for around 4.6 million of all UK households. Nearly two-thirds of these homes require energy efficiency improvements like low-carbon heating and smart technology installations making this market less green than the owner occupied and social renting sectors.
Landlords said that while they were concerned about the environment and think the UK government and public generally are taking too little action to address climate, they are unconvinced that making environmental improvements will benefit their property and its rental value.
Gail Parker, director of low carbon homes at British Gas, said: “This report shows that whilst landlords across the UK are willing to make changes so that their properties are more energy efficient for tenants, they lack the knowledge and financial support to do so. It’s key that we work with the government and the industry to ensure they have the ability to make these changes easily and affordably. We are calling for more focus to be made on the issue to help make homes more energy efficient for everybody, not just people who own their own properties.”
To help close the gap between the homeowner and private rental sector British Gas wants the government to:
- Introduce a Green Upgrade Relief to allow landlords to deduct green improvements from their annual income
- Introduce government-kitemarked loan terms for private lenders to offer low and no interest loans partially funded by the UK Infrastructure Bank.
- Launch a one-stop shop for advice and guidance service from the Energy Saving Trust.
- Start the data-gathering process to implement building passports for individual properties.
- Update the Renters Reform Bill so landlords cannot reasonably refuse smart meter installation, to strengthen renters’ rights and awareness of rights.