The landlords’ trade body has urged the government to think more strategically about energy efficiency in the private rental sector, and to fund initiatives appropriately.
Over the weekend the government announced its £1.5 billion Green Homes Grants scheme was ending tomorrow, at the end of March. Its implementation was shambolic; after launching last September, by the end of last month there were over 123,000 applications for the grants but just 28,000 vouchers had been issued and only 5,800 energy efficient installations made.
Now the National Residential Landlords Association is urging the government to adopt a more long-term approach to upgrading properties to meet its zero-carbon target by 2050.
Many private rented sector landlords were unable to take advantage of the Green Homes Grant scheme due to the initial short deadline, continued problems with finding Trustmark-accredited installers, and eligibility issues regarding the primary and secondary measures.
Meera Chindooroy, NRLA deputy director, says: “The government’s decision to scrap the Green Homes Grants, proves that a new, long-term plan for upgrading properties is needed.
“The NRLA have consistently called for further funding to be made available to help landlords to go above and beyond the legal minimum of energy efficiency measures set out by the government for the private rental sector.
“One way for the government to ensure it avoids the pitfalls which have affected the Green Homes Grant scheme is to consider the Environmental Audit Committee’s latest recommendations. In our view the EAC’s report, which features several NRLA recommendations, can provide a useful starting point for a longer-term strategy to energy efficiency.”
The all-party EAC, chaired by Conservative MP Philip Dunne, says Energy Performance Certificates are outdated and do not support modern energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures.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.”
In addition, the committee wants additional funding for other existing schemes such as Home Upgrade Grants and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund; new thinking on green mortgages, green finance and low-cost loans; and 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.
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