Future minimum EPC requirements scrapped
Plans for a mandatory elevation of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings in rented properties to be rated C, have been scrapped.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a pivotal shift in the government's energy efficiency goals this week (October 5th, 2023).
Originally designed to propel the UK towards its ambitious Net Zero emissions target by 2050, the revised plans indicate a departure from stringent measures.
The initial proposition mandated landlords to enhance their properties' EPC rating to a minimum of 'C' by 2025 for new tenancies and by 2028 for all tenancies.
Ed Tyman, Operations Director at Sowerbys, said: "Sowerbys has been apprehensive about the potential impact of this proposal on the private rental sector, particularly in rural counties where a diverse range of rental properties might struggle to meet the grade.
"With landlords grappling with tightening legislation and shrinking margins, we feared an exodus from the market, dwindling stock availability, and an eventual surge in rental prices amid a cost-of-living crisis."
Landlords can breathe a sigh of relief as the burden of costly upgrades has been lifted, with penalties for non-compliance removed. Instead, both landlords and homeowners are encouraged to voluntarily pursue energy-efficient upgrades.
Despite this reprieve, the private rental sector remains on alert as a general election looms on the horizon. The Labour party continues to champion concrete reforms in energy efficiency.
Depending on the election results, these proposals may resurface sooner than expected.
Ed added: "At Sowerbys, we appreciate a phased approach to energy performance but advocate for a sensible balance between timeframes and support for landlords.
"We endorse the pursuit of better-quality, energy-efficient rental homes but emphasize the need for caution. Unintentionally escalating monthly rents due to landlords exiting the market and reduced stock could undermine the sector's sustainability. While supporting tenants with enhanced energy efficiency is paramount, indirectly driving up rents is not a viable long-term solution for the sector."
This is of course an evolving landscape in the property market and Sowerbys recognises the importance of a balanced and sustainable transition for both landlords and tenants.
As we navigate this changing terrain, our commitment to delivering quality rental homes remains unwavering.
Stay tuned for updates as we continue to monitor and adapt to the dynamic property market.