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Rental sell-off inevitable if government pushes EPC changes - claim

Up to 50,000 rental homes in the countryside could be sold off if the government presses ahead with stricter energy efficiency measures.

The CLA, a rural trade group, is warning this will mean higher rents and a worsening housing crisis.

In September, the government proposed to increase the minimum energy efficiency rating from Band E to Band C for new tenancies from 2025 and for all existing tenancies from 2028. 


The proposals also recommend increasing the landlords cap – the maximum amount of money a landlord must invest to improve a property’s energy efficient rating – from £3,500 to £10,000. 

This investment needs to be made every five years to allow the property to continue being rented if its energy efficiency rating remains below band C.

The CLA says while decarbonising rural homes is an important contribution to tackling climate change, these regulations are based on an assessment methodology which continually undervalues the energy efficiency of older, off-gas grid homes.  

This means that many rural homes will never be able to reach the tightened minimum standards simply due to how they are measured, which is likely to result in landlords selling these houses. 

In addition, it claims these regulations would mandate tens of thousands of pounds worth of potentially harmful measures to older buildings, such as solid wall insulation.

And it adds that the Green Homes Grant, which funds at least two thirds of the cost of upgrading the energy performance of homes, up to £5,000, has hit trouble.

This is because all upgrades must be undertaken by Trustmark installers and there  is a severe shortage of rural TrustMark installers, partly due to the cost of membership. 

The demand has been so high that urban accredited firms have no interest in travelling to remote areas, when there is work on their doorstep. This has led to rural homes not having access to the grant, despite being the least energy efficient and arguably the most important to decarbonise.  

Modelling from the CLA, which represents 30,000 rural businesses across England and Wales, shows that a 12.4 per cent reduction of rural privately rented sector homes, which do not currently meet energy efficiency rating of Band E, would result in 51,653 fewer rural privately let homes.

The CLA is calling for:

- The assessment methodology for EPCs to be fundamentally reviewed so that rural homes are accurately assessed;

- The metric used for the minimum energy efficiency standards to be based on carbon (environmental impact rating) not fuel cost (the current method of energy efficiency rating);

- The Green Homes Grant, or similar, to provide targeted funding of £10,000 to rural homes to enable their transition to low-carbon heating.

“Our members play a crucial role in the provision of homes in rural communities across the country. But this new raft of Government legislation could have a devastating impact for those who live and work in the countryside” claims Mark Bridgeman, CLA president.


“There is already a rural housing crisis and this will only increase if a large portion of the existing rental stock ends up being sold, as it is no longer economically viable for landlords to retain” he continues.

“Our members understand the importance of decarbonising these houses and want to do their bit in helping the environment, and many have already invested significant sums on renewable options. Some insulation solutions will work in rural homes, but many of the ones that work on old houses are often incredibly expensive.

“The unique challenges that affect rural properties in decarbonising seem to have been forgotten about in the new policy proposals. If the government are serious about decarbonising rural properties, they need to support and invest in the sector. Rural areas are so often left behind with government initiatives and this must not continue.”

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  • George Dawes

    All designs to squeeze the little guy out

    Eventually there will be government controlled properties - council flats that look like a bit of lego , just like the old days but even worse


  • icon

    10k from landlord to improve insulation quality? I agree it is important but there is no thought as to how this stacks up against the value of the property. 10k represents almost 3 years rent in some parts of the country where there are cheaper houses and cheaper rents. It also is about 20% of the capital value of the house. Many of the tenants in these houses are LHA and have been staying for a very long time, quite happily. BUT if this is really going to happen there will be house sales aplenty in these areas and a significantly dwindled housing stock. Perhaps this policy thought (like so many others) has been dreamt up by a London/SE bubble person.
    Also why are landlords being targeted for this? Surely if home insulation is so important (and it is important for sure) then all home owners should be forced or fined to the same standard? Already my rental properties are at a higher standard than many privately owned homes, so go pick on everyone, because everyone should be a part of the solution.
    It would help if we actually made most of the insulating materials in this country. Celotex/Kingspan etc are all made in one factory in Germany with different badges put on them. Why are we not making these materials here?


    Agreed. Far more owner occupied homes, so more climate change benefit to do them first.

    Wait a minute.... That means far more disgruntled voters!

    Surely the Government and LA's wouldn't be influenced by that?

  • icon

    All the climate change levies are currently loaded on to electricity bills - according to the Times this morning 25% of your electricity bill is this levy whilst it is only 2% of your gas bill. This discriminates hugely against properties with electric heating and adversely affects the EPC as the algorithm is based on cost.

  • icon

    its a scam--all part of schwabs plan

    carbon trading will be the biggest scam ever

  • George Dawes

    They’ll get us all on electric only , then pull the plug . Quite literally

  • George Dawes

    I was quoted 15k to improve my epc putting wall cladding on and save 350 a year , 350 , it’d take almost a century to recoup ... what planet are this load of muppets living on ?


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