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Charity backs landlord case for cash help to meet new EPC targets

A charity is warning that landlords may not government help in reaching new EPC targets.

Citizens Advice Scotland says the private rental sector accounts for 14 per cent of the country’s housing stock and currently the sector’s levels of energy efficiency are below average standards.

The charity claims this not only means high energy emissions but high fuel bills for their tenants. It also results in some having to live in cold, damp, houses, which contributes to poor health and wellbeing.

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CAS says landlords need to “properly incentivised and helped to make these improvements.”

A CAS statement continues by saying cost is the key factor. 

“This is a particular sticking point for the private rented sector as those who need to make the investment – AKA the landlords – aren’t the ones benefitting from warmer homes and reduced energy bills.

“Landlords feel they need to be properly supported to make these investments, with better communication from government along with some form of financial assistance.”

CAS says it accepts this but warns that the cost of this support can’t come at the expense of the tenant. 

“They are the consumer, and we want a just transition, so the cost of retrofit shouldn’t be recouped through increased rent and can’t inconvenience tenants already living in the property” says CAS.

Following a survey of landlords in recent months, the charity states: “They believe EPCs are flawed in their methodology, as using different assessors can often result in widely different ratings being given out. We feel they may well have a case here. 

“But on the plus side, the Scottish Government has recently announced a consultation to reform EPCs, so there is a clear opportunity to resolve these problems and make the system more user-friendly.”

CAS concludes: “Another positive point from our research is that the inclination to make change is definitely there, both among the general public and landlords. And that’s not nothing. It shows that the long battle for public opinion on climate change is being won.

“But now landlords need to be supported to channel this into meaningful action. To delay will come at a higher cost down the line, not only to landlords’ finances – and those of their tenants – but to our warming planet overall.”

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  • George Dawes

    Reform EPC's ?

    Good luck with that one . More pointless waffle in the hope of catching votes

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    There is definitely something wrong with EPCs. I had over 140 HMOs where I paid for the heating and the EPC rating bares no relationship to the heating costs . In my experience a modern building with a good EPC can cost more to heat than an old Victorian building with a lower EPC.

    I have tried most of the conservation measures , for example fitted A rated boilers, outside insulation, loft insulation, double glazing, LED lightbulbs as I would like to save money on heating costs and none have made any difference. The most annoying was replacing perfectly good old boilers, some over 30 years old which could have been quite cheaply repaired with new A rated boilers only to find not only did they not save any money but very quickly broke down. The new boilers would rarely last much longer than their one year guarantee . I now buy boilers with a seven year guarantees. I do not know how long they're going to last as they have not been fitted for more than seven years .

    I even wrote to Which the consumer association who declined to investigate. Am I the only one who believes there is some massive conspiracy come fraud going on with energy conservation?
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO daddy

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    Agreed, I have 2 properties with boilers 25 + yrs old, and still going strong, the others last a max of 7 yrs, how is that green ?

     
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    The whole climate thing is a fraud. In 1989 the scaremongering was that by 2000 some countries would be under water. Can anyone name one? Now they're at it again. Meanwhile China continues to build coal fired power stations at a greater rate than the rest of the world combined.

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    The assessment algorithm is hugely complicated yet assessors have very little training & just tick boxes. Assumptions are made on the age of the building (and are often wrong) and the insulating properties of different building materials are often inaccurate. Factors that cannot be changed (location, orientation, size) can affect the rating. Very little benefit is derived from improvements such as new radiators vs old; the efficiency of a boiler isn't measured so a well maintained one is no better than a poorly maintained one, and cost is a factor regardless of whether the fuel is clean (green electricity) or carbon releasing (gas). The improvements suggested are ridiculous - under floor insulation at a cost of hundreds of £ to save tens of £ in heating with no consideration to the difficulties of installing in a tenanted property and the knock on effect of having to raise kitchen units, door frames, skirting boards, sockets where that floor is solid. Similarly internal wall insulation requires massive alterations. No points are given for 10mm of underlay (that must make a difference). Over time the algorithm changes - properties can lose 10 its over a decade and trying to achieve a C is like throwing darts at a dartboard blindfolded - with the target constantly moving!

    EPC C is tick box exercise to show how green the Govt is, when much more could be achieved by concentrating on getting the basics right everywhere - loft insulation, water tank insulation, LED bulbs, high quality double glazing & boilers with good controls.

    In its efforts to tick a green box that will achieve virtually nothing in terms of reducing our emissions this Govt will destroy the PRS and put thousands of families on the street with nowhere to go as LLs of older properties sell up and leave the market all together. The remaining PRS will consist of well insulated, boring boxes that will become too warm to live in in the summer because of the insulation requires to meet the new EPC requirements!

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    All that free Cavity wall Insulation by Government some years ago that everyone grabbed didn’t help very much, very poorly done (when I took a window out a bit either side & nothing below) and the 3 / 4 major companies that make fortunes out of the Scheme quickly liquidated the their companies & disappeared with their loot as I discovered when trying to contact them afterwards.

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    I like the suggestion that these improvements should be made with "the cost of retrofit shouldn’t be recouped through increased rent and can’t inconvenience tenants already living in the property". Please remember we LLs are a business. If we are required to improve our properties then rents will go up, that's business. And how do you think the improvement requirements such as internal insulation is going to be carried out without inconvenience? These suggestions are just naïve!
    Until EPCs are carried our by properly qualified individuals, cease to make assumptions and fully reflect the green situation ie support electric heating over gas we are on a hiding to nothing. Following that then perhaps the government can train tenants to switch energy suppliers regularly, choose the best tariff and run their heating and hot water efficiently!

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    Homeowners who install EPC friendly stuff in their own homes have a financial cost and suffer some inconvenience while the work is being done. How can it be done in tenanted properties with no installation inconvenience?

     
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    Scottish Government? Scotland doesn't have a government, they have a regional assembly.

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    I really wish that were true. The SNP and their little green helpers have far too much power and ignore those of us who pay for their crazy schemes through the highest income tax rates in the UK 61% but would never vote for them.

     
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    “They are the consumer, and we want a just transition, so the cost of retrofit shouldn’t be recouped through increased rent and can’t inconvenience tenants already living in the property” says CAS.“

    Hahahahaha good luck with that. The landlord is highly inconvenienced to the point he will probably sell some high cost properties and the ones he upgrades will inconvenience the tenant. How the hell are we meant to do major changes and in the property without inconvenience?
    And it will be at the tenants or tax payers expense this is not a charity

  • George Dawes

    Scotland is lovely apart from one thing;

    It’s politicians

    Share the same dilemma as us , where the government is the real enemy

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Are Citizens Advice, ' waking-up and smelling the coffee ? '
    Next thing they'll realise that all the Govt Bureaucracy and red tape measures ( that CA have helped campaign for ) have actually caused rent increases for Tenants.
    So-called [Rogue-only] Tenant support groups need to stop Shooting 95% of Honest tenants in the foot.

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    What is, oor who are possesion friend? I note that Scotland has an enormous hard drug problem.
    When the British Governenjt .started paying tenants directly a local lettings HMO company reported that only 15% of tenants passed the money to their landlord, the rest kept it.

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    Are you sitting down, Brent are offering big rewards for their Council housed Tenants to down size, why if property is bigger than they need Council tell them to move, over £12’000 to down size from a three bedroom which is the most numerous ones but can be £30k plus and even up to £50k, a disgraceful waste of public money is it’s not enough they had subsidised for years but now she wants to reward them. What about the people that weren’t renting from the Council but work flat out full years in many cases and paying taxes to house those very same people so no reward for them. No Surprise really many using the benefit system as well, they are well looked after by their friends that have taken over the Civic Centres. They can’t go wrong this Council Head who has already lashed out £50’000’000 buying blocks of new Flats from Developer I think Its very cosy, could Council not build them or what purse is the money coming from they are supposed to be cash strapped but no problem for them to hike our c/tax 6% this year, forgot to ask tax payers where to get the extra from .

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    Beg pardon, Typos, sorry, must replace my old secondhand laptop, but cant afford it. Who, or what, is possession friend? British government paid English tenants directly.

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    Edwin, google possessionfriend. A landlord support outfit run by Chris

     
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    Also they can have a big chunk of money to buy their own place, they must have been saving up the rent money for them, ???

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    According to Brent & Kilburn Times, Council will give grants up to £50’000.00 / 10% of the price to people living in Council Flats to buy their own in the private sector, so they can purchase a property for £500k and get £50k off Council tax payers money. They get subsidised housing from Brent Council for years then as a thank you the Council pays them to leave, maybe they should have a Section 21 instead of throwing away tax pay money. What about the people not renting from Council and paying their way for years, where do they get £50k for nothing, even though they would be far more entitled having paid market rents and no subsidy, Council Tenants are given an unfair advantage over they fellow Citizens.

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