The report found that 56 per cent landlords are concerned about the environment and think the UK government and public generally are taking too little action to address climate change. However, they remain unconvinced that making environmental improvements will benefit their property and its rental value.
British Gas claims that one of the main barriers for landlords upgrading their properties comes from a lack of knowledge around EPC standards, with 44 per cent of respondents not knowing their EPC rating. However, the requirement for the EPC rating to be E or higher has already been in place since April 2020.
Additionally, two thirds of those surveyed either don’t know or have overestimated the average cost of bringing a property up to EPC C standard, which had previously been a target for rental homes before tPrime Minister Rishi Sunak changed Net Zero policies in September 2023.
The cost of bringing a property up to this standard is estimated to be £7,430. There is also a lack of knowledge about the grants available with 52 per cent of those surveyed stating that they do not know enough about their options.
Gail Parker, director of low carbon homes at British Gas, says: ”This report shows that whilst landlords across the UK are willing to make changes so that their properties are more energy efficient for tenants, they lack the knowledge and financial support to do so. It's key that we work with the government and the industry to ensure they have the ability to make these changes easily and affordably. We are calling for more focus to be made on the issue to help make homes more energy efficient for everybody, not just people who own their own properties.”
Another barrier in landlords upgrading their homes comes from the miscommunication about what their tenants want.
The study suggests that landlords think that tenants don’t find these improvements attractive, despite nearly half of tenants considering a lack of green practices to be a deal breaker when choosing a property. Only 30 per cent of landlords report receiving requests from tenants for green technology and of the tenants that had made a request, landlords were responsive to these requests with the majority - 61 per cent - making an installation as a result.
In addition, most landlords think it is their responsibility alone or it is a shared responsibility between the landlord and government to pay for environmental improvements, and don’t think should be the tenant’s responsibility.
In response to the findings, British Gas is recommending to government that it should:
- introduce a Green Upgrade Relief which allows landlords to deduct green improvements from their annual income;
- introduce government-kitemarked loan terms for private lenders to offer low and no interest loans partially funded by the UK Infrastructure Bank;
- launch a one-stop shop for advice and guidance service from Energy Saving Trust modelled upon Scotland’s Home Energy service, something British Gas and Barclays have started by launching a series of free events to help Plymouth residents explore how to make their homes more energy efficient;
- start the data-gathering process to implement Building Passports for individual properties;
- update the Renters Reform Bill so landlords cannot reasonably refuse smart meter installation, to strengthen renters’ rights and awareness of rights.
British Gas’ Gail Parker continues; “With energy efficiency, it’s critical we find the right solutions for each home so that we can lower emissions and help customers to make savings on their bills. Landlords can use our home health check which will allow them to see what they can do to bring their home's efficiency to a better standard and equip them with the knowledge they need ahead of making any green changes.
“The recent update to the government grant for heat pumps rising from £5,000 to £7,500 in England, has made it more accessible for people to upgrade homes. At British Gas, we will also continue to reassure customers with our best price heat pump offering that’s guaranteed to heat homes as efficiently as a gas boiler. This year, we also launched a new suite of Net Zero services to support customers in solar, insulation, home energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging.“
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