Yesterday, 30th September 2020; the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced a consultation period, which has been produced as part of the governments’ plan to mitigate the effects of climate change, by lowering the waste in the energy performance of buildings. The consultation period runs from 30th September 2020 to 30th December 2020, with initial results being produced in the Spring of 2021.

The 48-page document suggests that UK housing, has a tendency to be older than the rest of Europe, and therefore the potential for improvement in energy is significant. The governments’ proposal is that improvements to the rental housing stock should be improved, to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with energy efficiency rating (EER) band ‘C’ or above. This will be for new tenancies from 2025, and all tenancies from 2028. The government want a “fabric first” approach to the improvement of energy performance, by upgrading the quality and functioning of the materials that make up the building’s fabric, before looking at using any mechanical system.

It is worth noting that there have already been several comments on the proposal. Some have suggested that if you had an EPC carried out between 2008 and 2015, it would be worth spending the £35 on getting a new one to see if the result is still the same. During the first years of the scheme, the standard of inspections was inconsistent, and assumptions were made. For instance, the certificate may show that your building has no insulation, simply because you were not there to show them during the inspection. Consequently, your EPC could have been downgraded.

Listed buildings are also going to be an issue. They may need the local council to inspect and register for exemption, as the cost would be prohibitive to get it to the required “C” standard. The government has increased the maximum investment amount, resulting in an average per-property spend of £4,700 under a £10,000 cap.

Understandably the governments’ idea, is that this will help the private rental sector by decreasing bills for low income, and vulnerable tenants; increase the quality of the landlords assets; ensuring warmer homes, and lowering the energy demand on the grid, and therefore reduce fuel imports. However, it also has the potential to deter potential new landlords, and also add to the list of things that landlords have to think about before even considering any investment in buy to let properties.

Full consultation document available at: