The government must “get realistic” over the difficulties involved in reaching Net Zero targets when dealing with older properties in the private rental sector, it’s been told.
The Propertymark trade body says it’s supportive of the government’s Net zero aim, but in evidence given to a formal consultation progress it says there will be huge impacts on landlords and the sales and lettings sectors, especially given the short deadlines and absence of any apparent financial support.
The government has made clear that it will move towards a situation whereby it will be mandatory that all properties let out on the private rental market will have an Environmental Performance Certificate of at least a B by 2030. It has given a cost cap of up to £10,000 for landlords to transform properties - some very old and poorly-performing on EPCs - to meet the new standard.
Propertymark says: “We warn that the devastating impact of the pandemic, confusion over the absence of a long-term strategy and the lack of financial support, is likely to lead to further shrinkage of supply in the private rental system. This is going to be hardest felt in parts of England and Wales with the lowest house-price values and subsequently where economic growth is sluggish.”
And it continues that “the government must get realistic to the challenges in decarbonising the PRS which has some of the oldest housing stock, most off-grid properties and high numbers of vulnerable tenants. Landlords need to be supported in improving stock gradually otherwise we may see a continuation of landlords exiting the market.”
Propertymark’s submission to the government’s official consultation on the Net Zero policy calls for a package of financial and taxation incentives to support landlords get their properties up to scratch while continuing to provide housing options for many.
- The reintroduction of the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA), which let landlords claim on their income or corporation tax return against the cost of buying and installing certain energy saving items. Tax relief was for a maximum of £1,500 per property;
- Additional funding at local authority level that is tenure blind that addresses the challenges the PRS has in obtaining grant funding;
- Implementing a new streamlined Green Homes Grant that is flexible to the sector’s needs;
- Considering tax incentive measures such as a reduction in VAT for energy efficiency measures or incentives for landlords and home buyers through stamp duty.
Propertymark also calls on the UK government to embark on a national communications campaign for tenants, landlords and owner-occupiers.
“A central part of enabling a retrofit revolution on the path to net zero will be adequately conveying the wider benefits to homeowners and landlords” it says.
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