TIME TO MAKE THE SUSTAINABLE CHANGES THE PLANET NEEDS
Published 22 November 2021
As the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow draws to a close, everyone’s attention is focussed on how they can make a personal contribution to tackling the problem of global warming – and given that a huge percentage of carbon emissions in the UK derive from housing, it’s not surprising that how we heat our homes is firmly in the spotlight.
For residential landlords, the rules are already strict, and they are about to get stricter. Currently a home can only be let if its EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating is ‘E’ or better. From 2025 even that is being tightened up, and let properties will have to have an EPC rating of ‘C’ or better.
2025 may seem like a long time away, but with millions of UK homes falling below this benchmark, there is going to have to be some considerable investment by many landlords to make their homes lettable.
Getting a home to an EPC rating of ‘C’ is not just about replacing the boiler (although more about that in a moment), but may require a whole raft of measures such as improving insulation, installing higher-performance windows, and considering renewable solutions such as photovoltaic solar panels.
The good news is that a recent survey by Shawbrook Bank suggests that whilst tenants are increasingly demanding that their homes are sustainable, they are prepared to pay higher rents for the privilege. The bank’s research showed that 18 per cent of tenants would be willing to pay more rent if windows were replaced, 15 per cent would be open to a rent increase to achieve a new boiler and heating system, and 10 per cent would pay more for a home with solar panels installed.
Hopefully this will give landlords the confidence to invest now, rather than waiting until 2025 and having to spend on upgrading their properties at the last minute. And those early adopters of new sustainable technology tend to be the ones who receive the most government help to make the change.
This was the same with solar panels (many early adopters are now enjoying Feed-In Tariff payments of 55p per kilowatt), and an announcement last month suggests that similar subsidy will be available for those willing to replace existing gas boilers with more planet-friendly air-source and ground-source heat pumps.
From April 2022, grants of up to £5,000 will be available for those switching to low carbon heating systems, which will sweeten the pill considerably. While heat pumps won’t be suitable for every property – they require space outside for the pump, and indoors for the water cylinder – for many this will be an attractive prospect, especially for landlords whose homes may be unlettable in just four years.
With tenants apparently willing to pay a premium for energy-efficient housing, with government subsidy available next year to make the switch, and with the prospect of new rules forcing landlords to make their properties more sustainable, there is little reason to wait. And the most important thing of all is that only by making the UK’s housing stock genuinely more planet-friendly can we hope to come anywhere near the climate targets which are necessary for us all to have a future.
Share this story
Find out more Contact Phil Cooper>
Arnolds Keys Blog
27 October 2021
The oft-quoted but as yet unfulfilled promise of ‘levelling up’ is finally starting to come to the political fore as Covid slowly starts to recede – and it is vital... Read more >
26 October 2021
The seemingly inexorable rise in house prices is leading to a buoyant residential development market – but soaring building costs are altering the economic balance when it comes to land values. Read more >
26 October 2021
TV courtroom dramas often feature an expert witness: a pathologist outlining the cause of death, a psychologist expressing an opinion about someone’s state of mind as they committed a crime,... Read more >
22 October 2021
A new survey has revealed the most in-demand towns in Norfolk when it comes to property sales – and at first glance its content might surprise some people. Read more >