Landlords body backs higher energy-efficiency standards

by Gary Whittaker

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has backed a call made by representatives from across the property and construction sectors for the government to implement tighter environmental standards. 

More than 50 business leaders signed an open letter to secretary of state for housing and communities Sajid Javid and energy secretary Greg Clark calling for all buildings to be constructed to net zero carbon standards by 2030. Signatories included investors, housebuilding firms, property developers, engineers, architects and consultants. The letter also urges that the government takes a first step towards this eventual goal by ensuring energy standards are swiftly raised from 2020 onwards.
The letter was devised by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and has been motivated by the desire to provide more certainty in policy, which in turn will enable more innovation and investment to take place in green building solutions. 

Chief executive of UKGBC Julie Hirigoyen noted that there is universal recognition from the government and the property sector alike that the built environment has a "huge part to play" in reducing emissions. 

The NLA stated that it supports the letter, but it wants to see landlords getting more support to make energy-efficient improvements to properties. In particular, it expressed a wish to see the restoration of the Landlord Energy Savings Allowance to incentivise property owners to carry out such work. 

At present, the government is looking at removing the exemptions that currently exist in relation to the rules that will come into effect next week prohibiting the letting out of properties with Energy Performance Certificate ratings of F or G.  

Landlords who cannot obtain third-party funding to bring their properties up to scratch currently have a five-year exemption, but this could be replaced by a cap on costs levied on them of up to £2,500 for improvements, a plan criticised by NLA chief executive Richard Lambert.

He said: “We are calling on the government to take the challenge of improving the energy efficiency of our country’s housing stock seriously.

“Simply placing yet more costs on landlords is an entirely unambitious proposal that does nothing to help improve the properties where the vast majority of fuel-poor households live."
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27-March-18General Lettings News