Tax incentives can power up energy efficiency standards

Propertymark has added their voice to a group of financial, commercial and housing sector partners in a letter to the Chancellor to encourage new fiscal support in the form of a simple tax restructure to allow energy performance improvements to be offset against rental income to help make investment more attractive for landlords.

EPC on a tablet

EPC targets could be at risk

There is a compelling case for boosting energy efficiency in the private rented sector. Around two-thirds of privately rented properties in England and Wales fall below EPC C, the UK Government’s target rating for all fuel-poor homes by 2030.  Renters face widespread problems with dampness, mould and cold, with 1.6 million children exposed to these conditions. 

Other countries, including Scotland, have already introduced tax incentives and green loans to support higher standards.

Change the income tax rules for landlords

Individual landlords currently pay income tax on their rental properties at the same rates of tax as other earned income. Landlords may deduct costs of managing the property, legal fees, replacement furniture, insurance, utility bills, ground rent and maintenance and upkeep – but not energy-saving improvements.

The collective voice is encouraging this allowance to be expanded to include expenditure on improvements that result in an increase in the efficiency of the property.

A simplified exemptions regime and additional financial support must be made available to property owners otherwise the measures in their current form will not be achievable and that would mean further reductions in the supply of rented accommodation available.

Timothy Douglas Serious
Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark

Propertymark’s position

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 ages, conditions, and sizes of properties. This way grants and funding support can be targeted on the archetype of a property rather than its tenure.

Loft insulation being installed
Energy efficiency

The UK housing stock is amongst the least energy efficient in Europe and the Committee on Climate Change says that energy use in homes accounts for about 14 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Non-domestic buildings account for around one-third of UK emissions from the building stock.

Read the letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer