The National Landlords Association (NLA) has warned the Government to tread cautiously in introducing minimum energy efficiency requirements in the private rented sector (PRS).
The NLA has also called for an extension to the deadline for rented properties to reach minimum energy efficiency standards after the difficulties in introducing Green Deal finance into the sector.
The warning was outlined in the NLA’s response to the consultation on the implementation of the provisions in the Energy Act 2011 to set minimum standards in the PRS.
NLA Chief Executive Officer Richard Lambert said:
“The Government set an original implementation date of 1 April 2018 for all private rented properties in the expectation that Green Deal finance would be available from autumn 2012, and that it would be supported by ECO subsidy.
“As it turned out, Green Deal loans were inaccessible to private landlords until April 2014, by which time the restructured ECO was by and large unavailable to the sector.
“The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund proved to be an inadequate replacement, with all the funding for the 2014-15 financial year apparently allocated within seven weeks, and the prospects for future funding are now highly uncertain.
“This means that landlords have already effectively lost almost two years’ time to act and there is likely to be a hiatus in Green Deal applications until the future of the Government incentives has been clarified.
“Setting the backstop date by which all tenancies must meet the minimum requirements at April 2020 is too soon. Given the difficulties associated with the funding, which look likely to persist, we believe that it would be sensible instead to review actual progress in 2020 and to set a new ‘working’ provisional date of April 2023.
“It is vital that we prevent the situation arising where a responsible landlord, faced with the choice between not complying with the regulations or investing thousands of pounds in the knowledge that they are unlikely to recover the cost, let alone see a return, concludes that the rational business decision is to leave a property unimproved and empty.”