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Eco U-turn Welcomed … but private rental sector still needs a plan

There’s been widespread relief at the government’s eco U-turn which may lead to thousands of pounds of savings for landlords.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last evening confirmed that, amongst other things, landlords will no longer have improved EPC ratings to meet, while the Boiler Upgrade Grant scheme by give larger grants of £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers with a low-carbon alternative like a heat pump.

But Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, says there’s still a need for a plan.


“The NRLA wants to see all properties as energy efficient as possible. However, the uncertainty surrounding energy efficiency policy has been hugely damaging to the supply of rented properties.

“Landlords are struggling to make investment decisions without a clear idea of the Government's direction of travel.

“It is welcome that landlords will not be required to invest substantial sums of money during a cost-of-living crisis when many are themselves struggling financially. 

“However, ministers need to use the space they are creating to develop a full plan that supports the rental market to make the energy efficiency improvements we all want to see.

"This must include appropriate financial support and reform of the tax system which currently fails to support investment in energy efficiency measures.”

Under revised plans, the Government will:

- Scrap policies to force landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties, but instead continue to encourage households to do so where they can;

- Raise the Boiler Upgrade Grant by 50% to £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers with a low-carbon alternative like a heat pump;

- 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. Many of these homes are not suitable for heat pumps, so this ensures homeowners are not having to spend around £10-15,000 on upgrading their homes in just three years’ time;

- 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. This is expected to cover about a fifth of homes, including off-gas-grid homes - those that will need expensive retrofitting or a very large electricity connection;

- Rule out policy ideas that would require people to share cars, eat less meat and dairy, be taxed to discourage their flying, or have seven bins to hit recycling targets – removing worrying proposals that would interfere in the way people live their lives;

- Move back the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by five years, so all sales of new cars from 2035 will be zero emission. This will enable families to wait to take advantage of falling prices over the coming decade if they wish to.

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    This U-turn is at least a short-term relief. Quite why Sunak waited so long is baffling. It had been made very clear 2025 was an impossible target purely down to a lack of tradespeople at least a couple of years ago. How many people have needlessly lost their homes because of his shilly shallying? How many landlords have sold good, solid, well located long term rental homes because there was no financially viable way to get them to EPC C? How many former tenants of those properties have been needlessly uprooted from their much loved homes and neighbourhoods at significant expense to themselves because of his shilly shallying? I'm all for innovation and improvements but they have to be financially beneficial and logistically possible. MPs are supposed to be intelligent people. Why has it taken so long to scrap a policy that was clearly logistically impossible in the time frame they chose?

    How long is it going to take him to see sense over the RRB and Section 24? How many more tenants are going to needlessly lose their homes in the meanwhile?


    It can only mean one thing - General elections are round the corner.
    Rishi, Starmer et all politicians are coming up with weird & wacky unrealistic manifesto plans to eradicate homelessness, help charities, attack PRS landlords, build more houses whilst both the Conservatives & Labour are stealthily promising to sell off UK by stealth agreements to be ruled by EU & take their illegals to continue the demand for more housing in our small island.

    RRB needs to be scrapped alongside any agreements with EU based rulers to take their illegals aka refugees, many of whom intentionally made themselves homeless by not applying for refugee status in the first safe country.

    People’s votes 🗳️ need to be for Britain First instead of Cons, Liebour, or LiarLibDems to stop illegals, EU and UN ruling over U.K.’s self governing Democracy.

    Best wishes to all Legal, Good PRS Landlords and Tenants.


    It is likely that this will be reversed if Labour get elected and this is a distinct possibility.
    You are lucky that you don't have the communist inspired government that we have here in Wales, yet.

  • George Dawes

    I don’t recall voting for rishi or his wef based policies

    So much for democracy

  • Fed Up Landlord

    Rishi has just " woke" up. Volts mean votes.😀
    Perhaps this might be the start of a massive rewind of the "War on Terror Landlords". All we need now is the Rent Reform Bill and scrapping of Section 21 to go the same way as EPC targets, and revocation of Section 24. But I won't hold my breath.

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    The NRLA should have fought the totalitarian Renters Reform legislation very strongly. That is what primarily matters to landlords.


    Spot on @Ellie Edwards!
    I second that.
    The NRLA team and it’s leaders don’t seem to be vocal to raise PRS landlords points of views, it’s negative impact on tenants or anything about it in the media or in Parliament to fight RRB strongly & repeatedly.
    Best wishes.

  • Ian Deaugustine

    Excellent, good news, finally some common sense; I am a little Welsh landlord: does someone know if they will scrap the stricter EPC rules in Wales, or will we have to wait for the Welsh parliament to "awaken"?


    No doubt Drakeford will try and' do things differently', as he likes to remind us and keep the EPC 'C' in Wales, after all we have the equivalent of the Rental Reform legislation already enacted by our Politburo.

  • John  Adams

    Personally I'd rather Ben shut up and leave it to estate agents and other professionals as he achieves very little.
    What needs to be done is stop building new shoe box properties that still don't have Solar PV , Triple Glazing and Rain Water storage as standard. We need a realisation that a significant proportion of houses in the UK are pre-war and built to be draughty to remove the fumes from open fires and humidity, this was fine until you started sealing up chimneys and double glazing and then the issues with mould began - now these have been largely mitigated but when you start introducing heat pumps that are operate at much lower temperatures for longer and generally need more space already at premium, these homes stay colder for longer and the risk of condensation and mould goes up. And then the practicality of sighting the equipment needed in a back yard filled with a rainbow of wheelie bins?
    As for digging up floors and panelling walls it's simply too expensive and impractical in many terraces. Improvements in technology are coming and any changes to homes need to be in tandem with these. Solar PV is far more practical in many cases compared to whipping out a modern condensing boiler and I believe domestic gas usage is not the problem after all manufacturing and business uses far more.

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    🎉🎉👌🏻👌🏻 Some of my tenants have no clue how close they came to eviction 😱😱

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    Hmmm... Wonder if this will apply in Scotland?


    😂 not a chance with the SNP zealots 🆘😱

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    Looks like some semblance of common sense to our community but in the bigger picture it is just a sop to the mill in the desperate efforts of this conservative government to stay in power. I can't believe we have a government whose whole environmental policy strategy is now based on the intentional misinterpretation of an emissions regulation that lead to a 500 vote by-election win!

    I wonder what Gove is thinking given what he was saying just a few short weeks ago.

  • Antony Whitbread

    I personally do not recognise this as being a long term policy change. Only have to look at less than a few months ago when Rishi was very supportive of the 2030 goal. They are all very fickle and can see this U-turn being u-turned if another party were to come in, who are famously red in colour.

    Daniela Provvedi

    As mentioned before....
    They caused all the problems, resulting in everything @Jo Westlake rightly mentioned above (and more) and then they do a u-turn, to make themselves look good.
    You're right Antony, they are fickle; definitely can't be trusted, the whole lot of them.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    We have raised the point this policy is completely unworkable, my real world job is in automotive and there is no way they can have everything on the electricity grid by 2030. It was always going to be rowed back. The same with EPC and other crackpot ideas.

    I genuinely think they have realised by the amount of properties sold and landlords bailing out has had more of an impact than they will admit. The "calming language against landlords" quote from Gove the other week was the start. Starmer making the EU his best friends and opening more scope for illegals has got Rishi on the front foot and seized the opportunity.

    The election nonsense starts now and I can see landlords being welcomed back into the fold and being given a few incentives.

    Watch Out Beadles About has made not a jot of difference except getting everyone a discount card for Tradepoint..! The people have made a point with selling off this has woken them up, shame people have had to sell up to get this point across.

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    Thanks Tories. Last year I sold off the old family home we had had since 1975 as the last EPC rated it D and it would have cost £30,000 to upgrade to a C for an annual saving of approx £100 on energy bills.
    I could have kept it. in the family.


    This is exactly why I have done nothing ! Not even a light bulb 💡👌🏻 Politicians can NEVER be relied upon. Let us see what Labour does though 🤔💀


    As I have pointed out, this policy is likely to be reversed if Labour win power, so you may be premature in your assessment.

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    • B L
    • 21 September 2023 13:31 PM

    Finally, it makes some sense. Any measures shouldn't be extreme and forceful, to give space to make adjustment and changes in the process. NRLA need to be more supportive to landlords, not contradict to government in this particular case. One minute we complained the EPC requirement is too aggressive and expensive, and not cost effective. When the government scrapped the deadline, then we complained again. We called NRLA few times for advice, we find they are not strong enough in principle of right and wrong, especially the young advisors. It is always "it depends". The mature advisors show experiences and know what to advise. When the economy is not good, when the recession is about to begin, this is the right decision to protect the economy and people's households when many are suffering. Don't use the democracy to dispute something makes sense endlessly. Don't abuse democracy. The law has collapsed and use media to define right and wrong which is our major problem.


    I doubt very much this is related at all to a specific sensible reconsideration of the effect of EPC or RRB on the housing market or its effect on us landlords. We are simply being dragged along with everything else in the Tory party knee jerk reaction to not losing the Harrow seat because of the apparent opposition to the ULEZ.

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    When I rang NRLA advice line yesterday, the lady stated that Ben Beadle had worked very hard in communicating and discussion with the government regarding various issues of the RRB. One of things she said that has been won is that the changes to energy efficiency is unnecessary for the properties. I said I am more concerned with other areas, S21 disappearing and AST will be in the past, so we do not have any control of our properties at all. RRB is trying to educate the landlords by saying they do need to have certain responsibilities, while they are already carrying out these function of maintaining and ensuring all the relevant documents. However, here is nothing to state how the tenants should be responsible people and the consequences of the rent arrears, damage to properties, insuring against damage responsibilities. Every time the tenants leave there is a lot of damage to the properties. They need to be educated properly. How to rent Guide has to be given by the landlord every time of new tenancy or renewal. Why treat tenants as if they are children. They need to learn to be responsible adults and government or their delegate needs to distribute to all the tenants. There is landlord's database but no corresponding tenants' database so LL do not feel they are in same playing field. The proposed RRB is very biased. PRS will be destroyed, before the government come to their senses and close down Shelter, Generation Rant etc. These charities have caused a lot of havoc. She said it will happen, Ben B is still fighting for the cause and it has already been delayed and will not come into effect until 2024 but it will be further diluted. Let us wait and see.

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    Yes, B L, you are right some people NRLA advice line are very reluctant to advise you on some issues. It is almost as if they are scared of being incorrect or do not have long term experience. Their tenancy agreement is not fit for purpose for LL, it needs a lot of rework by the LLs to be effective.


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