In October 2021, the UK Government published its Heat and Buildings Strategy. The strategy sets out how the UK will decarbonise homes, and our commercial, industrial and public sector buildings, as part of setting a path to net zero by 2050.
The role of decarbonising buildings in delivering carbon targets for Wales is set out in the Welsh Government’s Low Carbon Delivery Plan.
In October 2021, the Scottish Government published Heat in Buildings Strategy — achieving net zero emissions in Scotland's buildings.
We want to see more energy-efficient homes, but new rules and requirements must be realistic and achievable. Without providing landlords and homeowners with incentives and access to sustained funding, it is unlikely that energy efficiency targets for the private rented sector and a reduction in emissions across the property sector will be met.
Decision makers across the UK must move away from a one-size fits all policy and develop energy efficiency proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties. This way government can target grants and funding support based on the architype of a property rather than its tenure.
Governments across the UK are consulting on implementing new energy efficiency standards for private rented property. Propertymark wants to see more energy–efficient homes, but new rules and requirements must be realistic and achievable.
Green Homes Grant
Following the closure of the Green Homes Grant scheme there needs to be a long-term financial plan to support homeowners and landlords with energy efficiency and combating climate change.
- The scheme was time limited so homeowners and landlords needed to have redeemed the voucher and ensure improvements were completed by 31 March 2022.
- The scheme was only applicable in England and there is no equivalent scheme in Wales despite UK Government’s energy efficiency targets for the property sector applying to both England and Wales.
- There were delays in vouchers being issued which meant many homeowners and landlords put their installations on hold, and reduced the time left to complete the work.
Long term investment needed
The UK Government must continue to invest in the Green Homes Grant scheme or introduce additional schemes to help landlords and homeowners to make their properties more energy-efficient, cut their carbon footprint and reduce energy bills.
The Scottish Government has set out a series of actions and long-term commitments in its Heat in Buildings Strategy to accelerate the decarbonisation of homes and buildings across Scotland in order to meet its net-zero target by 2045.
We responded to the UK Government’s consultation on improving home energy performance through lenders by raising concerns that the proposed targets are unrealistic, too simplistic and could deter people from moving home.
We highlighted a number of concerns relating to affordability and the need to look beyond a one-size fits all policy. We see a need to develop proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties in the private rented sector.
The Scottish Government asked for views on their proposals for a long-term standard for Scotland’s privately rented and owner occupied homes. Whilst we support improving energy efficiency, we are concerned that the timescales for the private rented sector beyond EPC E are unrealistic.
Lagging behind: energy efficiency in low viability properties
A research report co-sponsored by Propertymark and the NRLA identifies policy levers at national, local and industry level that could facilitate the work being undertaken in the most cost-effective manner.
This report raises concerns over the affordability of retrofitting properties and highlights that residents in the North of England will be the hardest hit. Failure to factor in huge regional variations in property costs when incentivising homeowners and landlords to meet national net zero targets risks deepening economic inequality.
Smart meter awareness
Smart meters are a part of plans by policy makers for a smart energy system that will facilitate carbon emissions reductions—a key focus is improving take up in private rented properties.
Propertymark believe that tenants, landlords, letting agents and energy companies all have a role to play in improving smart meter take up but this can often be down to different types of properties and tenancy management arrangements in the private rented sector.
Smart Energy GB has launched a dedicated page on their website with information about smart meters for the private rented sector, including resources for private landlords, letting agents and tenants.
Fact sheets and FAQs for members
On 30 September 2020, the UK Housing Minister launched a new digital service to help homeowners improve the energy performance of their homes and cut their energy bills.
The UK Government have introduced a plan to allow homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion scheme to help fund the cost of upgrading the energy performance of their homes.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 introduce measures to improve the energy efficiency of private rented property.
Propertymark warns that 40 per cent of privately rented homes in England are unlikely to achieve the energy efficiency rating target that is due to come into force later this decade.
The UK Government has published a response to a consultation on improving the data offer and enabling innovation for non-domestic customers.
The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC) has published a report making practical and workable recommendations based on the expected changes to be introduced in the Renters' Reform Bill.
The UK Government Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) is accepting applications in England and Wales for grants for the installation of low carbon heating systems.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a consultation to test the design of the EBSS, ensure that support is provided as widely as possible in a simple and cost-effective way and that the recovery mechanism is clear and efficient.
The UK Government's three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme opened on 1 April, offering grants of up to £6,000 to property owners in England and Wales towards the cost of low carbon heating systems.