by Mark Johnston
Landlords to Make Properties More Energy Efficient.
According to the English housing survey 11.4 per cent of homes in the private rented sector in 2011 had the lowest energy ratings of F or G. This equates to 670,000 homes, more than a fifth of the total 32 million currently in the private rented sector.
It seems that in part the poor energy efficiency scores of many of the privately let homes reflects a relative lack of basic insulation. A recent report revealed that more than 12 per cent of properties in this particular sector had no double glazing.
Experts believe that this problem is due to the fact that over half of all private rented homes were built before 1944, meaning they are often cold, expensive to heat and have traditional solid walls.
A lot of rented properties are therefore old, drafty buildings with thin windows which ‘rattle and whistle with any strong wind’. This can make putting the heat on like pouring a load of cash down the drain.
Chris Hulme, the Energy and Climate Change secretary, has therefore set out radical plans to upgrade rented homes in the country over the next decade.
A new law introduced by the government which takes effect from 2018 will make it an offence to let out any property with an energy efficiency rating of F or G.
Tenants will also be able to demand improvements to the insulation of their homes from 2016.
However, this could mean that one in ten homes will be unlettable in just five years time that is unless landlords take steps to improve their properties energy efficiency.
This new law will mean that no longer will landlords be able to give their tenants the cold shoulder when they demand that steps are taken to make their home a bit warmer.
In line with this new law the National Landlords Association (NLA) has launched a scheme to help investors to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties. It is based on the governments new Green Deal, under which energy efficiency measures are paid for by a loan that is repaid via a supplement on the property’s electricity bill.
This can be a win win situation as landlords get home improvements without upfront costs and tenants have warmer homes to live in, neither needs to be out of pocket or cold!
David Weatherall, housing strategy manager at the Energy Saving Trust, says “landlords should act now to make improvements rather than waiting until 2017 when the same funding might not be in place”.
The chairman of the National Landlords Association (NLA), David Salusbury, states that “our research shows that many landlords are keen to take advantage of the Green Deal, a third of landlords are not yet aware of the initiative. Furthermore, it is imperative that landlords future-proof their properties and their investments”.
The government has made it very clear that there will be consequences for those who do not voluntarily improve the energy efficiency of their properties by a specific time. Time will only tell how this will pan out in the future.
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