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Gobsmacked! EPC changes backed by prominent property analyst

A prominent property market analyst says he was “gobsmacked” to hear Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tone down the energy efficiency requirements previously demanded of landlords.

Doug Shephard - director at the Home website, which produces a respected monthly rental and sales markets index - says: “I was gobsmacked to hear some sense for a change. Of course, the climate alarmists – always keen to be generous with other people’s money – are having hissy fits over their soya lattes.”

Last month Sunak announced a raft of U-turns on previous government policy.


Under revised plans, the government will scrap proposals to force landlords to upgrade significantly the energy efficiency of their properties under Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, but instead continue to encourage households to do so where they can; and raise the Boiler Upgrade Grant by 50 per cent to £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers with a low-carbon alternative like a heat pump.

In addition the government will now delay the ban on installing oil and LPG boilers, and new coal heating, for off-gas-grid homes to 2035, instead of phasing them out from 2026. It will also set an exemption to the phase out of fossil fuel boilers, including gas, in 2035, so that households who will most struggle to make the switch to heat pumps or other low-carbon alternatives won’t have to do so. 

Shephard  says landlords around the country will be heaving a sigh of relief, especially as certain rental dwellings are harder to insulate than others. T

Shephard writes in the latest edition of the Home index: “Of course, no one wants people to be forced to live in substandard housing. However, tenants in the private sector choose the property they wish to rent (or buy). Energy Performance Certificates provide a good indication as to how costly the property will be to rent. Hence, a savvy prospective tenant will choose to pay a bit more rent to ensure their energy bills are lower. 

“On the other hand, a tenant who chose a grade ‘F’ EPC rental property should expect to pay more for heating. Higher demand for energy-efficient housing will naturally drive the sector in the right direction provided there is sufficient choice. 

“Sunak is right not to impose draconian rules on an eclectic mix of housing types, which would only scare landlords out of the market. Better to encourage more focused investment in the private rental sector (especially Green Mortgages for Landlords and Build to Rent), thereby increasing the stock of energy-efficient rental accommodation. Let’s hope that future policy pushes harder in this direction, which would have the added bonus of alleviating the chronic shortage of rental properties.”

Meanwhile the October edition of the Home index - which analyses over 100,000 homes listed to let and over 500,000 to buy - says gross yields for landlords have improved considerably allowing many, if not most, landlords to cope with higher interest rates. And the index says that the high cost of renting helps to ensure that demand for home purchases remains significant.

It continues: “A strong rental market has been key to supporting the sales market. Such large increases in rent over the last five years were brought about by a dramatic fall in the stock of on-market properties availa­ble to let.

“Today, the total rental stock is 48 per cent lower than it was in October 2018, although the actual record low point was in September last year. Since then, stock has steadily increased (by around 37 per cent) and this is why rent hikes are now slow­ing. Despite this rise, the amount of prop­erty available to let is still historically very low and this will support smaller rent rises going forward and therefore also the sales market.”

Home says stock levels of unsold property rose again during September but remain within the range which existed during the seven years pre-Covid. 

“However, given both a low supply of new instructions and the relative strength of the rental sector, an overabundance scenario would appear unlikely, at least in the short term” it says. 

Rents continue to rise albeit more slowly due to an increase in supply of 19.7 per cent over the last 12 months. Overall, the mix-adjusted aver­age annualised rise in rents for the UK stands at 9.7 per cent, while rent inflation in the North West continues to lead the regional growth table at 15.0 per cent.

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  • icon

    Trying to force landlords to spend vast amounts of money out of tax paid income on eco upgrades that may possibly save the tenants a miniscule amount of money was always insane.

    Incentivising us to install upgrades would be far more effective and would enable tenants to experience the reality of living with modern technology. I'm a huge fan of solar panels and clever heating controls. These are items that someone who is on a tight budget can't afford to take a risk on. Right now 15 of my tenants are living in houses with solar panels. About 30 of them have clever heating controls. They can see that they work and can ask me any questions they like about the financial benefits of them. Several will go on to be homeowners and some will have solar panels installed on their own houses because they have knowledge of them.

    Being too prescriptive in which upgrades should be done was a huge turn off for landlords. Underfloor insulation was never going to be a practical solution so quite why it was nearly always first item on the list was baffling. Most people would save far more energy and be more comfortable with decent heating programmers and thermal lined curtains.


    Underfloor insulation is a no no, especially in my case where I would have had to rip up 70 year old solid oak wood block floors which are irreplacable today and would cost a fortune to be specially made as replacements.

  • George Dawes

    All it takes is a little push back against these quite frankly draconian measures

    Did anyone vote for them ? Nein !

  • icon

    Analysts Gobsmacked if he was a landlord out here he would be well gobsmacked.
    What difference is it if you have Solar Panels or not or even a roof when Section 21 is gone it’s not your property anymore let the Council’s that causing all this house them.
    The constant attack on Private landlords is Bankrupting London Council’s to tune of £400m debt.
    Brent alone are gone £13’000’000.00 over Budget on temporary accommodation housing the homeless in Hotels B & B style many of whom would have housed by Private landlords in the past at a fraction of costs, so they have spent all this money they don’t have just to despise LL’s and drive him out of Business.
    I have seen many articles on here about vacant properties assuming that they all need renovations but many are already very habitable and owners too scared to let because of the Anti-landlord Government legislation.
    I have a house vacant now I won’t be in any hurry to re-let, C/tax or double C/tax on empty property or not (blackmail) because of the nightmare’s of the last episode caused solely by Regulation’s or they wouldn’t have got away with it,
    What is to be expected with the landlords hands tied behind his back.


    I totally agree with the last two paragraphs. I have one property empty at the moment. Empty since June. But I’ve enjoyed the summer. Gone to Majorca and California too. Not worried about it. Too scared to let it. I know if I let anyone back it I’m now virtually guaranteed a legal aid challenge. Always planned to put it on the market next year anyway due to the market. I don’t really care what I get for it sadly. The RRB is not even an option.


    I Love it. Brent brought in article 4 direction and forced landlord’s out of HMOs and have ended up with 13 million over budget.
    They should thank Harrow, if not for them this lot will have bigger debt.

  • icon

    Given the number of s21”s issued since the RRB was announced, this rollback is not a surprise at all 😎 they had little choice other than a scheme to manufacture government ⛺️ tents 😁 or go all Scotland and put in an immediate emergency 🆘 evictions ban 😨.

  • icon

    Penny wise and pound foolish, pence saved on energy bills and many pounds placed on rents

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    Rental stock down 48% since 2018 tells its own story, suppose we can look at Osborne and Gove for accelerating the exit of landlords.


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