Government ambitions to improve the energy efficiency of the private rental sector are just “a pipedream” without financial assistance according to the leading industry trade body.
Analysis by the National Residential Landlords Association shows that only five per cent of private rented households have received government help to fund energy efficiency measures despite having the greatest need.
Although more of those classed as fuel poor live in the sector, private rented households received only half of the help given to those in the social sector.
According to the English Housing Survey, a third of private rented sector housing was built before 1919. This is the hardest to treat and accounts for a larger proportion of the sector than for any other housing tenure. Across England’s entire housing stock, 84 per cent of properties built before 1919 had an energy rating or D or worse.
With 62 per cent of private rented homes having an energy rating of D or below this will largely account for why 37 per cent of all households classed as fuel poor are in the private rented sector compared to 23 per cent in the social sector.
Data shows that 97 per cent of private rented properties with an energy rating of D or lower could reach C or better.
Despite this, just five per cent of private rented households across England have received any financial support under government schemes to improve the energy efficiency of housing.
This compares to 21 per cent of owner-occupiers, 12 per cent of council households and 11 per cent of those in housing association properties.
The government want SL all new private rented tenancies agreed from April 2025 to be in properties with an energy performance rating of C or better.
According to government figures, it would cost an average of over £7,500 to bring rental properties needing it to an energy rating of at least C.
The NRLA claims this makes the government’s ambitions to improve the energy efficiency of the rental housing stock a pipedream when the average net annual rental income for a private landlord is less than £4,500.
That is why the association is calling for a bespoke financial package to support the improvements that are needed.
Among the NRLA’s proposals is the development of a scrappage scheme to upgrade windows in private rented homes. A higher proportion of properties in the sector have no double glazing than any other tenure.
It is calling also for energy efficiency measures carried out by a landlord to be offset against tax as repair and maintenance, rather than as an improvement at sale against Capital Gains Tax. This would address anomalies including that whilst replacing a broken boiler is tax deductible, replacing one for a more energy efficient system is not.
NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle says: “We all want to see energy efficient rental homes. They cut bills for tenants, make homes more attractive to potential renters and help the country to achieve its net zero commitment.
“The Chancellor needs to develop a financial support package that works for landlords and tenants. This should especially be targeted at the hardest to treat properties where the cost of work will be prohibitive for landlords. In this way, he will also be doing the most to help the fuel poor.”
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