The National Residential Landlords Association says it backs a report by MPs sharply criticising EPCs and urging more effective modern energy efficiency measures for homes.
Currently EPCs have to be shown to prospective tenants and each rental property must have a rating of E or above; the government wants to raise the minimum energy efficiency rating from E to C for new tenancies from 2025 and for all existing tenancies from 2028.
However, now the all-party Environmental Audit Committee, under the leadership of Conservative Philip Dunne, says EPCs are outdated and do not support modern energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures.
Instead EPCs should be replaced by Building Renovation Passports “developed with an approved, standardised methodology.”
The MPs say the government appears to have underestimated the costs to decarbonise UK homes by 2050, at between £35 billion and £65 billion.
Some 19 million UK properties need energy efficiency upgrades to meet EPC band C, and the committee has heard in evidence that it can cost on average £18,000 per home - far greater than the government’s estimate.
NRLA local authority policy officer Gavin Dick says: “We welcome the report, which features a range of recommendations that the NRLA have been calling for, which we believe would ensure landlords are empowered to make these essential changes.
“We know that landlords are willing to do the work, but they require more information on what updates to make and the order in which to do this work to make their properties energy efficient.
“The committee recommendation also supports the NRLA’s calls to Government to roll over funds for the Green Homes Grants scheme. We’re also very supportive of the Committee’s call for the introduction of Building Renovation Passports to aid in the decarbonisation of homes.
“In our view the Committee’s recommendations would give landlords confidence to carry out the work to ensure the PRS plays its role in helping to bring about a net zero Britain by 2050.”
In addition to replacing EPCs with Building Renovation Passports, the MPs' committee recommends:
- The government should set out how energy efficiency improvements can be reached in homes currently out of scope in its "cost effective, practical and affordable" criteria;
- Schemes such as the Home Upgrade Grants, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and phase two of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme should all have their funding front-loaded and the schemes rolled out without delay;
- All allocated funding for the Green Homes Grant that has not been spent by the end of March 2021 should be rolled over;
- The social rented sector should be subject to the same standards as the private rented sector;
- Government should set out an ambitious but realistic trajectory for owner occupiers to achieve minimum EPC C standards in its Heat and Buildings Strategy;
- The Chancellor should reconsider proposals to reduce to five per cent the rate of VAT on the labour element of refurbishment and renovations, and reinstate the reduced rate of VAT payable on Energy Saving Materials at five per cent while expanding its scope to cover energy storage, heat pumps and electric vehicle charging. Up until 2019, certain clean technologies were eligible for a reduced rate of VAT of five per cent;
- Government should work with the financial sector and major landlords, including local authorities and other social landlords, to stimulate renovation through green mortgages, green finance and low-cost loans;
- The government should consider how the national infrastructure bank could be used as a vehicle to finance energy efficiency given the scale of success achieved in Germany through its state funded low interest loan scheme;
- The government's basic energy advice service available in England should be upgraded to a specialist bespoke advice service similar to the Home Energy Scotland network.