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Sunak has “let landlords off the hook” over EPC reform

There’s been a strong personal attack on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak by anti-landlord activists over the subject of energy efficiency.

The Generation Rent says government failure to regulate landlords is discouraging nearly half of private renters from applying for grants to insulate their homes.

It claims fears of rent rises and evictions, or simply the landlord saying no, are putting off 48 per cent of private renters from applying for grants which would improve their home’s energy efficiency and cut their bills. This rises to 53 per cent for renters getting housing benefit or Universal Credit, who are already suffering most from fuel poverty.

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However, Generation Rent’s figures are based on what it calls “1,021 supporters living in the private rented sector” rather than randomly selected, and the poll took place in June and July 2023 - well before Sunak’s change of heart of some energy efficiency measures. 

Following the Prime Minister’s cancellation of plans to raise minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) two weeks ago, landlords now have no obligation to agree to insulation works, even if they are funded by government grants. 

Using the survey conducted before the cancellation, Generation Rent now claims that the lack of a “stick” will undermine the “big government grants” that Rishi Sunak held up as an incentive for energy efficiency in his speech two weeks ago.

The activists also go on to claim that one in four private renter households is in fuel poverty, higher than in social housing and owner occupation. 

In its survey back July this year, Generation Rent also asked 914 respondents - again presumably “supporters” rather than randomly selected tenants - about what would discourage them from applying for grants.

Some 29 per cent said they thought their landlord would say no; 28 per cent said they thought their landlord would raise the rent, cancelling out the energy savings; 17 per cent said they thought their landlord would sell the property once it was improved.

Generation Rent says it is calling on all parties to commit to raising MEES to Band C as soon as is practical, while tightening protections for tenants around evictions and rents, to assure them that they will benefit from the resulting energy savings.

Dan Wilson Craw - now deputy chief executive of the group - says: “Tenants in draughty homes currently pay hundreds of pounds more per year than they would if their home was insulated properly. The government has made funding available to lift households out of fuel poverty but it won’t reach enough people if landlords don’t have a clear responsibility to allow improvements.

“There is more the government could have done to assure tenants that they would benefit from green grants. In recognition of the tight timeline, the government could have delayed the new standards’ start date by a couple of years, but by scrapping new regulations entirely the government has made the situation worse. This cruel, disproportionate and reckless decision means renters will be living in cold homes that make them poorer and sicker for many more years to come.”

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    It could equally be argued Sunak has enabled large numbers of tenants to remain in their conveniently located, substantially built homes by backing off the unrealistic EPC targets.

    Insulation isn't suitable or possible for some properties. Leasehold properties need freeholder consent and often the agreement of other leaseholders. Any properties close to the sea or that are exposed to driving rain are questionable. Poorly installed insulation can cause major damp problems.
    For suitable properties I can't see why any landlord would object to grant funded insulation as long as it was an appropriate type for the building.
    The article states 74% of Gen Rents very small sample of respondents made assumptions about what their landlord might do. Hardly scientific research.

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    Activists continue with their campaign to make hundreds of thousands homeless by their attack on Private landlords the providers of Rented Accommodation who are selling up or switching to AirBnB creating mayhem.
    How can they possibly say Government fail to Regulate landlords when we are one of the most over Regulated in the Country plus over 150 pieces of legislation adding huge extra costs, causing more homeless pushing up rents by the costs they imposed.
    Regarding insulation we had Government funded Cavity Wall
    before about 11 years ago which was a disaster. I had a number of properties done under the Scheme. There was at least 4 major Companies doing the installations who milked the Schemes making millions then Bankrupted their Companies or re appeared under a different name.
    It brought some of mine up to a “C” now 10 years on got marked down to a”D”.
    Rented Property is not their home they don’t own it, they didn’t buy it. They are Renter’s temporary occupants there’s a clear difference between Renting and Buying at least until The Rogue Renter’s Reform Bill become Law and Confiscates your Property making it worthless. What individual is going to buy a house and get half a million pound (but you won’t get a house in London for that) Mortgage wrapped around his neck to house some one else, there you are here are the keys it’s your indefinitely you have all the rights, I’am just Mr Muggins.
    Come on now Activist’s step up how many do you house or is it how many have you made homeless.

  • Steven Williams

    I’ve been wanting to upgrade my rentals, I’m all for trying to help the tenant long term etc.

    But when ever I’ve asked or applied for help/advice regarding it, I either get ignored or told I’m not eligible.

    They need to make it more transparent and straight forward.

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    I've experienced the self same thing Steven

     
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    Several senior politicians from Labour and the Lib Dems have stated that they will re-start the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (introduced by the Conservatives in 2015) for the domestic PRS after next year's general election. The bookies have it as a Labour/Lib Dem coalition win in May'24. I think this is correct.

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    On this Gibbo you may be correct 😎, but….. if they do, then my original plans to sell are back on track 😜 💰……. And my tenants are in a world of pain.

     
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    It's common sense for all landlords to fit 2 x layers of Rockwool in the lofts of their units (and then padlock the hatch shut), fit 5cm of Celotex on the inside of external walls when they are doing redecoration works and install an intelligent electric heating system. Heating systems that my business partner and I have installed include Dimplex high heat retention storage heaters (running off the cheap midnight to 4am Octopus Energy electricity tariff), Panasonic air-to-air heat pumps and Powrmatic heat pumps with no external condensers (we've used these in a couple of flats where external units were not permitted).
    Adding value to PRS assets is not rocket science. These are common sense, long term decisions for a brighter future.

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    There’s no real perceived added value for landlords. Some upgrades are worthwhile but not to get many properties to a C.

     
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    Really? Is spending £30 grand on EPC recommendations to lift a fully insulated, double glazed property with a brand new combi boiler, from a D to a C, for an annual saving of £110 regarded common sense in your mind, and night storage heaters? Oh dear, you call that adding value? I just sold it as that was the sensible thing to do. Regarding all electric properties. How about a modern electric wall panel with sophisticated controls instead , they detect a person in the room before turning on and also detect open doors or windows and switch off to avoid waste, in addition to giving close control of temperature and time. Fit a heat pump in an UK home? No way. As an aircon/heat pump tech working worldwide for over 30 years on commercial and industrial systems, I would never ever install a heat pump in my UK home, the climate does not suit them, although I have one in my Cyprus home where the winter climate suits them better and the main use is for cooling in winter.

     
    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Gibbo, I would pay attention to The Williams. He makes pure sense and backs it up with real life knowledge.

    Are you on commission from Dimplex or work for them?

     
    George Dawes

    Nurse, he's off his meds again

     
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    Cavity wall insulation. Building control in Wales want a 50mm cavity between the external wall and the internal wall as well as insulation. This is to stop driving rain permeating through the external wall and tracking across through the internal wall. In some areas the wall ties have corroded. I believe in cavity wall insulation,but in areas of high rainfall, water, used the insulation to bridge the cavity gap and cause damp.

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    I have exactly that experience in my former personal home. As an early adopter of cavity insulation some 40 years ago in a 60s built end terrace house. It was not a recognised problem then but now it is so needs to be considered.
    And as for internal wall insulation with a tenant in situ......when they won't even let us in for an inspection!!!

     
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    Common sense it’s not very Common is it, its hardly relevant when The Renter’s Reform Bill have Confiscated your property.

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    Martin, Walsall had a lot of immigrants moved onto it en bloc. They have no comprehension of our laws or customs, they were given social housing. An I installer and an EPC assessor both said the properties were modernised with extraction systems that heated the incoming air with the expelled air. Tenants were going into the loft and turning off the units "to save electricity," l struggle to get my tenants to use the bathroom and kitchen extraction fans for the same reason.

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    Exactly they just turn it off. It’s saves money and for some tenants they enjoy giving aggravation to the landlord. Might get some compensation too.

     
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    I had one tenant rip out a whole house heat recovery ventilation system complete with half the ductwork because the neighbours could smell the cannabis from the discharge. The agents did not even notice. Both the tenant and the agent were given their marching orders.

     
  • Ian Deaugustine

    "Activists also say that one in four private renter households is in fuel poverty, higher than in social housing and owner occupation". Have they ever heard the expression "hard work"? Had they worked hard and not spent all their money on expensive Friday night drinks, they would have gotten more money to pay their bills, and I do not see why they expect private landlords to subsidize them, thus making them lazier than they already are. Alternatively, they could ask the government for small, decent and warm public housing (and stop pestering private landlords, as we are not responsible for social housing, for God's sake).

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    I bet most of those in fuel poverty are on benefits. What are they complaining about, they are getting free money! I'm on close to minimum wage but can't claim any benefits because I am a home owner.

     
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    Honestly where does Craw get his numbers from? It never tells you. I’m 100%behind any tenant bringing a grant to the table as many of us would be. Picking lucky dip numbers and turning it into rabble rousing chants from another organisation that houses nobody does not help. All they are doing is causing more to bail out and leave people on the streets. When will they open their eyes?

  • Peter Lewis

    What happens after the next election if Labour win? Landlords would be back too square one, villains and the enemies of renter.

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    This whole EPC thing seems wrong to me. If the idea is to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy then it should be on all properties, not just rented accommodation. I guess it's easier to just pick on landlords.

    If the tenants want better insulation then they should find better insulated properties. Trouble is theirs's not much choice, so the government should ease the restrictions on landlords and encourage investment. This will allow market forces to work and tenants can take their pick of properties.

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    GR seem incapable of using facts with a calculator. Dan Wilson Craw says there is no need for Pet insurance as that is what the max 5 week deposit is for. He just has a deep seated hatred for anyone owing a property. Even if we were paying tenants to live in our houses he would still find problems
    As Michael said before they are making people homeless whilst I and other LL’s are trying to keep the roof over their heads. The NRLA have a hidden agenda and won’t represent us. We are losing this battle

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    Finally Sunak makes a sensible decision. Generation Rent can't care about private renters or they would recognise their actions dire tly impact on a shortage of private rental houses. EPC C should be a goal of LL's who own houses that it is easy to upgrade. Unfortunately Victorian terrace houses are difficult and expensive to upgrade and I don't see government offering LL grants to upgrade the internal cavity walls. When they do offer a full grant I expect lots of LL would apply and get the work done but I have quoted £13.8k to do internal cavity walls on a 3 bedroom terraced house and it would need redecoration afterwards costing a further £1500. All to save £8.28 a month on fuel. It's just not cost effective. All easy options such as thick loft lagging, double glazing, valves on central heating radiators and energy efficient lights have already been done by most LL.

  • jeremy clarke

    It's the beginning of the month, pay day, Craw has purchased his supply of whatever halucogenic pills he enjoys and is off on another rant!

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    I have a serious problem with Stick in the Craw and his data.

    1. The data is completely flawed as the 1021 people are from one side (theirs).
    2. If you want a balanced view then go and get 1021 from this forum.
    3. Combine the two and then and only then will you get a broad view of what needs to be done.

    Makes me laugh as everyone on here has stated that if a tenant pays and behaves then we do not kick them out and do not raise the rent, so if a tenant wants to improve the property we would all support it.

    Making the point about fuel poverty is also has a degree of ambiguity as carrying out 15k + of improvements via the grants or private landlords would still leave 99.9% still in fuel poverty as the savings are no more than a tenner a month.

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    Is it perhaps because the Sunaks are landlords I wonder?

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Morning Sandy B you little ray of sunshine..!

     
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    😴 Zzzzz,,,,,,, zzzzzzz

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    I've encouraged tenants to apply for grants but most can't be bothered to do so, woundn't lift a finger to help themselves. simply too damm lazy

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    It's incredibly frustrating when they refuse to have grant funded or partially subsidized improvements carried out.

     
  • Ian Deaugustine

    Private Landlords carrying out £ 15k + of improvements via grants would still leave 99.9% in fuel poverty as the savings are no more than a tenner a month. True. The solution for this in fuel poverty is to get their bums out of their sofas, watch less Netflix, exercise (it burns calories and keeps you healthy and warm), and get a job as a new lifestyle: they will then discover the pleasure of being able to look after themselves!

  • George Dawes

    They found the property with the worst energy efficiency in the UK was no less than Buckingham Palace !

    Wonder what King Charles and his mate Klaus have to say about that ??

    Ian Deaugustine

    Certainly they will do some epc upgrade works (with tax contributors money)

     
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    Generation rent...again.

    I just want to say to landlords who are form the law-abiding majority, you are hardworking, you have knowledge, skills and you massively contribute to the United Kingdom's 800 billion plus revenue through your taxes.

    As for Generation rent and the rest of these do-gooders, you snivelling retards are unskilled, jealous losers parasiting off the unfortunate. You should feel utterly ashamed of yourselves. You also massively contribute to 900 billion plus of spending this government makes to put us in huge debt. I will not be told what to do by you lot.

    Every problem you see out there right now, rising rents, lack of rental housing, evictions etc were caused by this incompetent socialist government interfering in the market. When idiots from central government (usually non-achievers in life) interfere, this is what happens which is why communism doesn't work and that has been proven time and time again.

    A £5 draught-proofer on the front door is the least of our problems.

  • Ian Deaugustine

    Why focus only on private landlords? Why don't they equally persecute everyone who has or lives under a roof? I do not understand where all this madness comes from.

  • Peter Lewis

    Simple solution, let the Landlord claim the grants.

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