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We Quit! The landlords who will sell if EPC changes become law

Research from Mortgage Advice Bureau shows that almost two-thirds of landlords would consider selling their property due to not being able to afford the changes needed to meet the minimum EPC level under new regulations.

With an expected deadline of 2028 for landlords to retrofit their properties to a minimum of an EPC C rating, there is a need for more clarity regarding the help that is available to landlords says MAB.

Currently, landlords must have a minimum energy efficiency rating of an E to be able to let a property out, with exemptions for those properties which would cost more than £3,500 to retrofit to this level. It is expected that the government will announce a similar exemption for the new enhanced level, but with the additional cost involved to go from an EPC of E to C. This exemption is due to be set at £10,000, with the average home expected to cost £4,700 to retrofit to this level.


This leaves many landlords concerned and anxious about how they will afford these changes. 

According to the research, 25 per cent said it was likely they wouldn’t be able to afford the changes while a 34 per cent said it was quite likely they would sell their property instead of upgrading it.

For others, it seems the potential upgrade bill will be passed onto tenants, with a third saying they’d do this in the future. A further third said they had already passed on bills for other upgrades to tenants.

With many landlords facing a hefty bill and a race against time, a fifth of landlords are hoping that more help will become available to combat the cost of energy performance upgrades.

The government has placed a focus on retrofitting and renewable energy, with their recently expired ‘Green Home Grants’ and the newly announced ‘Great British Insulation Scheme’ (formally ECO+) to help improve the performance of the least energy efficient homes. However, there has been little in the way of policies, announcements, or clarity for landlords, leaving them confused about what upgrades will help.

In the MAB survey some 26 per cent said they are planning on installing a smart meter to help hit a grade C, 25 per cent would install LED lighting, while only 16 per cent have sought the help and advice from a professional tradesperson to understand which changes would benefit them most.

Other, more proven methods to improve EPC ratings were less popular, but are still being considered by landlords. 

Only 22 per cent would consider installing a new modern boiler, and only 20 per cent would consider installing more insulation - a proven way of keeping heat in.

Almost a third said the cost of upgrading was extremely concerning and couldn’t have come at a worse time for them, considering the cost-of-living and interest rate increases which have squeezed the finances of many landlords. 

Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive of Mortgage Advice Bureau, says: “The need for more efficient housing is obvious and has had a lot of focus placed on it in recent months. For renters, it means potentially lower utility bills, and for the UK’s climate goals, our leaky housing stock is a big barrier to getting to net-zero.

“However, for landlords, the proposed changes to upgrade to at least a C instead of the current E will mean they face having to foot large retrofitting bills. Our research shows just how confused and worried they are by this. Even if (as rumoured recently) the government delay the proposed deadline to 2028 for all rental properties, it isn’t long to find the money needed for the upgrades. 

“This is especially challenging when considering the recent economic climate, which has seen mortgage rates increase and the cost of everyday items go up and up. There clearly needs to be more advice, guidance, and help for landlords.”

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  • icon

    More research from the mortgage advice bureau with no information on how many were surveyed and following a recent totally incorrect article from them. Who is producing these articles with no proper facts?? I have never been surveyed by any of these organisations. Has anybody else been surveyed by the mortgage advice bureau?

    Matthew Payne

    Research = asking some of their own BTL LLs when they remortgage. The quality of any Qs would need to be considered as well, leading Qs destroy the integrity of any reasearch.

  • icon

    Very interesting research from MAD. I'm so pleased that I attended a CPD lecture from Franklins Solicitors in Milton Keynes back in 2015 when the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regs came into force. The penny dropped that this was the State's direction of travel for sorting out the energy wasteful stock of house/flats in PRS. Thanks to the Conservative Government giving all UK landlords plenty of written notice and encouragement, for the last 8 years I've been improving my commercial and residential rental portfolio. I, like thousands of other landlords, focus investment when the unit is vacant and between tenants. Insulation to the walls (I've used cavity, external and internal over the years), 2x layers of Rockwool in the loft (and the hatch security bolted down so the tenants can't wreck my work) and install a lower running cost heating system (use to be gas combi - more likely these days smart phone controlled night storage heaters on the super low cost night-time tariffs). Throughout the past 8 years I've always had a draft predicted EPC carried out before the works and I and my business partner are constantly speaking to tradesman about better and cheaper upgrade options. It's strange that from MAD's own research only 16% of landlords would pick the brains of professionals. This would seem the obvious thing to do.


    When your fully insulated property with the latest combi gets a D grade as one of mine did , with recommendations costing £30k including ripping up the solid oak floors to install underfloor insulation , giving an annual energy saving of just £100. You would not bother. Like I did you would likely sell.


    "Thanks to the Conservative Government giving all UK landlords plenty of written notice and encouragement...".
    I've not had any written notice, even though HMRC know I am a landlord, and certainly not encouragement of any sort to meet minimum EPC level.
    Before the minimum came in, luckily there was some help to all households to improve insulation (from energy suppliers subject to Government pressure, I think the Coalition Govt. and one before it) and I took advantage of some of that when rentals were vacant. Luckily cavity walls as I am cautious about insulating solid walls successfully.
    Did so as offers available (or free); I hate waste (including wasted energy); and I've known about the climate change issue for many of the over 30 years since the warnings about it were known.
    Good idea about bolting down loft-hatches, if padlocked.

  • icon

    I am not going to knock this platform at least its giving us a voice even if we are talking to ourselves.
    Landlords are not leaving because of EPC’s.
    They are leaving because of Section 21 Removal and loss of ownership.
    The are leaving because of the introduction of Section 24 increasing the burden of tax.
    They are leaving because of licensing Schemes and the huge costs associated with them.
    No it’s not EPC’s we are able to
    cope with that in the main, although it can be difficult in some situations, just so much media hype portraying that as impossible, let’s face it if Martin can do it anyone can.
    So sorry for been a landlord, so sorry for the work I done in Milton Keynes, Bletchley & Newport Pagnell, taking over and completing 67’000, sq ft of warehouse & Office’s (Seal, Gull & Len), when Lunnen Brothers of Woburn Sands went bust, one of the Units was taken over by Open University. another one making Selotape, don’t know who took other.
    I needn’t have done any of this, what on earth for ?, I could have doodled along with the others I’d be grand, all this persecution ?.


    I think it's a North/South thing.

    While Section 21 obviously affects all landlords nationally, Section 24 only really affects Southern landlords. We have much higher house prices (so bigger mortgages) and much lower yields.

    EPCs are more problematic for Northern landlords. The costs of improvements are completely disproportionate to the value of their properties.


    Michael - it’s all of what you mentioned, The EPC C will be a reason I sell, I am not willing to spend anything like the amounts needed, no way. I will evict everybody and sell to FTB’s.

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    It's not a case of not being able to afford to do the work, it's more a case of is it viable to do the work, I'm not in the business of wasting money. I've worked long and hard for what I have. I have some that are Cs, some that are very nearly Cs, and others that are a long way off a C, so when I know for sure what is required of me I will chose the ones to evict and sell

  • icon

    Since when did installing a smart meter give an improved EPC score? If it did we'd all be queuing up to have them installed.
    It's only function is to measure the amount of energy consumed and report back to your supplier. It's fairly standard for the In House Display to not work properly. I think only one out of the four houses I have them in show any kind of meaningful information relating to the cost of energy being used. The IHDs don't work with time of use energy tariffs. There's no consistency with what information they give. One of mine can show daily, weekly, monthly and annual kWh usage if I scroll through it. The others don't have that information.
    The actual smart meter itself gives access to some very good electric tariffs but they only save money if people are willing to change their usage to outside the peak times. They don't reduce consumption and if people don't shift usage can make those time of use tariffs very expensive.

  • icon

    Until EPCs measure what they are supposed to - energy efficiency not cost, until EPCs are consistent & fair, until the Govt actually publishes its plans, I will simply carry on doing what I have always done - updating & improving my properties where I can & selling those that no longer make financial sense to keep.

  • icon

    While council tenants live in appalling conditions in substandard homes leaking energy and emissions in vast quantities the energy efficiency of the rapidly reducing private sector continues to be of increasingly less significance
    We now hear of the admission that the government and shelter have been working together to decimate private housing as they can no longer keep it a secret
    We expect the evidence to leak out of the manipulation of regulation and taxes to discriminate in favour of the large corporate landlords and drive out families to surface fairly soon

    On a more positive note for those who wish to upgrade their properties ,although we don't have a tame solicitor to give us the benefit of their extensive building qualification to advise us ,we are fortunate in having the expertise of a local fishmonger to share their construction expertise and they are happy to show us how to scale up our efficiency I understand his expertise in waterproofing foundations in floodplains is particularly noteworthy his work in designing the foundations for Atlantis is legendary

  • icon

    Jo. I am not sure about this North South divide.
    Isn’t S.24 the same for all Private landlords taxed on Mortgage Repayments.
    Yes property is cheaper up North you could get a house for £200 / 250k, one house in the South will cost you as much as 3 in the North but the rents isn’t 3 times as much ?.
    So pound for pound better value in the North, also if you have trouble with the one house it’s big trouble where as if you had the 3 and got trouble you still have the income from other 2, many people have moved up North, students also trying to get into Universities up there for cheaper living.
    Sometimes their Parents buy a property for this purpose not much chance of this in the South


    Section 24 only affects people when their taxable income exceeds £50K. As rents are higher in the South Southern landlords are more likely to exceed £50K with a combination of their day job or pension plus rent. Allowable costs are going to be broadly the same regardless of location (insurance, safety checks, letting fees, etc). The purchase price is much higher in most of the South so the necessary mortgage is also likely to be much higher.
    Just a quick look on Rightmove shows within a 5 mile radius of Newcastle there are numerous 3 bedroom houses for less than £100K and rents are around £600 or £700 a month. Within 5 miles of Southampton a 3 bed is at least £225000 and rents start at around £1100 a month. In the South East the costs will be higher.
    So for the amount a Southern landlord needs as a deposit a Northern landlord can virtually pay for an entire house, which then removes Section 24 anyway.

    While you're totally right about 3 houses being less of a problem if one tenant is trouble, from an EPC upgrade point of view the costs will be 3 times higher. Three lots of insulation, 3 central heating systems, etc.

  • icon

    What a load of old cobblers this article is, £74000 to upgrade, who plucked that daft figure out of the air.

  • icon

    Whilst the idea of the EPC Rating being increased for rental properties, is by itself laudable, the underlying problem is how the EPC Value is determined, and there being no sense applied in the improvements requred.

    As "William Williams" pointed out in his comment, to achieve a C rating he has to have floor insulation installed. He could have this done, but then when he comes to having his EPC redone (Every ten years) then the assessor my choose to not include any improvement as, "They had not seen it being done".

    I myself, like a lot of people will be in a similar situation, to achieve a C rating in one of my properties, I need the solid ground floors insulated, around £5,000 to install, but that does not take into account replacing the solid wooden floor, raising doors, and probably having to replace the kitchen. Let's say an estimate of £25,000 to fully undertake this task. After this huge capital invetment, the indicated savings are £70 per annum. Nobody with any financial idea would undetake this. The investment would never be repaid, and if the original £25,000 was invested in a savings account of only 1/2% would lose £55 a year in interest alone.

    There then becomes expemptions, the exemption is currently £3,500, if this is increased to £10,000 then you can not use that examption in the above scenario, as the cost of the insulation is less, the incidental costs are ignored.

    Then there is the additional problem, finding three tradespeople to come and quote you for this work, if they know it is for a rented property, then they know their quote wont be enacted upon as so will assume they are havig their time wasted.

    Until the EPC Rating is properly reavulated, it is difficult to make any decisions, and if the above scenario does play out, then it will be a very difficult target to meet. The returns and any possible gains when selling the proerty later will just not make some of these required C improvements viable. A lot of properties will not only need the flooring done, but then enter the territory of salr panels and solar heating.


    Given a choice of invisible, highly invasive floor or internal wall insulation or solar panels I would opt for the solar panels every time. They take one day to install with virtually no disruption for the tenant and provide a tangible discount on every electric bill. They are totally visible and can't possibly be "accidentally" overlooked by an assessor.
    I've actually got them on 5 houses and the newest ones really are a serious improvement on the older ones. One of my systems produced over 34kWh of electric today which is nearly 3 times the daily consumption of the house.



    Your comment about three quotes is absolutely right.

    When I was running my business I was often asked to quote by various Councils but never got any business.

    I challenged one about whether they bought on price or value and they asked me what was the difference. They couldn't understand why I refused to give any more free quotes because surely that was my job and what I was paid for!

    Insurers are another group who don't understand that insisting on three quotes just pushed up prices as every unsuccessful quote needs to be paid for.

  • icon

    Jo. I was talking about comparisons on Property £ for £ and you proved my point.
    I said in my example a property would cost 3 times as much down South as up North thinking of North West as an example like Liverpool.
    Ok go North East take your example or Newcastle, buy the house you say £100k, ok so it’s not 3 houses I can buy in Newcastle but it’s now 7 houses I can buy for the Price or one down South, come on now Jo give me a break even your suggested average rent letting price in Newcastle of £650. pm now x 7 = £4’550 pm, but I am actually getting less than £1’900. pm for several each costing 7 to 1 of your example. Jo my learned friend since when was £4’550. pm less than £1’900. pm.
    We are making comparisons on £ for £ property investment and returns.
    Oh dear ! and we can’t get 100k signature's, protesters have got 100k signatures to ban horse racing since Saturday as I understand it, how many of them ever even handled a horse or know one end from other.


    Michael - most landlords don't suddenly think 'Shall I buy one house in London or 7 up North'. They buy them one or two at a time. The majority of landlords only own one or two BTLs in total.

    My point is that it is more likely for Southern landlords to be more heavily impacted by Section 24 and in fact all the other anti landlord taxes. We pay vastly more SDLT because we pay more to buy each house. In your example of one house for £700K or 7 at £100K each the Southern landlord would have to pay £43500 SDLT while the Northern one would pay £21000 (7 x £3000).
    Our rents are higher per house (but not on an overall yield basis) so it's harder to not be impacted by Section 24. Because we pay more for houses our mortgages are likely to be higher so we have to pay much higher finance costs that aren't tax deductible.
    If we decide to sell we pay far more CGT. If I decided to sell some of my longest held properties the CGT per house would be around £100K. That's more than the entire cost of a house up North. It's much easier for Northern landlords to best utilize CGT allowances.

    So Northern landlords have choices to operate to their best advantage within the tax system. Those choices simply aren't available to Southern landlords purely because the numbers are all bigger even on just one property.

  • Ferey Lavassani

    I have had enough. I started back in 1987 and I guess its time to say "its good bye from me, and its good bye from PRS". Those of you who will stay in the PRS, on your way out, kindly turn the lights out. Why I want to get out? I tell you why. Like I always said, Five things keep a landlord awake at night.
    Maintenance (repairs), Rent arrears, Void periods, Tax and the last nail in the coffin, Legislations. Under no circumstances I shall give up my ownership to a tenant, under the new legislative changes in the PRS, no matter how decent the tenants they are.

  • icon

    Anthony, you have that right about Shelter and Government conspiring together.
    I am waiting for the Article to appear here.
    Recent Meeting of Property Housing Industry experts
    (1) Generation Rent, that’s one off the list of experts they don’t house anyone.
    (2) Shelter that’s another housing expert off the list they don’t house anyone,
    (3) Mr Michael Gove the Anti-Private Landlord Housing Secretary the root cause of homeless Scrapping S.21 and unfairer renting Schemes driving out landlord.
    Ok that’s 3 of the so called Industry Experts meeting in Private to decide on housing Policy behind closed doors.
    So they are all discredited that Meeting has to be declared null and void no fair Representation for Landlords that House 9m Tenants.
    Oh’ Ben Beadle was there with that broad grin he’s no grass roots landlord, it will be from the academic culture which is why he got control and we lost
    Richard & NLA, good night.
    Some Industry experts the stitch up and collusion is unbelievable.

  • icon

    Jo, I agree we are much worst off in the South and licensing Applications fees much higher too, as I understood you were previously saying the regulation’s were impacting them more up North which is what were referring to.
    Anyway there is no issue between us and you make some very good comments.
    I observed on here you appear to been head hunted. 👍


    The EPC upgrades will be more onerous for Northern landlords. Upgrades cost broadly the same all over the country. Spending £10K to upgrade a house in the South is painful enough. Spending £10K on a house that's only worth £70K or £80K is completely disproportionate.

  • icon

    I think it a very poor landlord won’t a taxable income of £50k.
    I know loads of working couples have a combined salary of more than £50k and their biggest gripe is they don’t get Children’s Allowance even though they contribute to it, its reserved for the Benefit milkers

  • Ted Sim

    Good idea to lower energy bills, but will have virtualy no impact on emmissions, as UK
    emits under 2 % of world total. Far from being a pollutant C02 sustains all life on
    Earth. Plant life would die if levels were under 180 ppm.

  • icon

    My opinion on government requests:
    Low energy lights - ok
    Insulation in the loft - ok
    Efficient boiler - ok
    Double-glazed windows where allowed - ok
    Draft protectors etc - ok
    Solar panels - need more research
    Unproven, expensive heat pump which is useless for old houses - No thanks.
    Internal wall insulation which has potential to cause damp - No thanks.

    If I cannot get an EPC C with the above, the tenant is getting evicted and the house is getting sold. Simple as that.

  • Sarah Fox-Moore

    I for one will not be playing "Chase the Government Goal Posts" game of EPC retrofitting. By 2028 they need to be C then by early 2030s they need to be a B. Nope. I will be selling up. This, along with stamp duty, cgt, imminent removal of section21, the Renters Wrecking Ball Bill etc etc, I will be selling up & getting out! That will be several more families evicted and more properties will leaving the PRS stock.


    It is definitely a 'perfect storm' the PRS at the moment.
    Like you, my worry is that governments may push the boundaries even further.
    I am going to sell a property in the summer, once I get it back from a non - paying tenant who's cost me in the region of £7000 in unpaid rent and solicitors fees.
    My health is declining due to stress and uncertainty, so I am definitely getting out.
    It is a shame that the Tories have reduced the CGT allowance as my wife and I stand to loose £18000,600 next year, when the allowance is reduced to £3000 for each of us.

  • icon

    John, don’t let it get you down rise above that.
    I have one leading me a merry dance in arrears £10k and rising, never says he won’t pay but we know ourselves when it gets that high its not coming.
    I have taken no legal action yet and trying to avoid it as it adds insult to injury.
    There’s no viable legal remedy and they know it. the more their hand is strengthened the more default will happen.
    Chin up and carry on even take a hit if they go, start again with an Agent at a higher rents to cover your costs, don’t be driven out making money for Government with c/gains and next person paying Stamp Duty, especially if you are in an area that’s not too densely populated meaning the big boys won’t be coming to you with high rise blocks.
    Good side out worry is no good Best wishes.


    Yes John, don't let it get to you. Your health is more important. Once you manage to sell out you can relax, look forward to that. I expect you have had a good run for your money.


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