Government Energy Policy Is No Good for Rural Landlords

The government is being accused of issuing misleading and inaccurate information about its new energy policy, which is wrong for homeowners/landlords that have older rural properties in many areas of the British countryside.

Under the new legislation starting from the 1st April 2018 it will be illegal for landlords to rent out properties with an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating below E for any new tenancies. Two years later (April 2020) the rating will apply for all tenancies.

A country landowners association states that the new rules are causing widespread confusion amongst private renting sector landlords, particularly those who have older countryside properties. In its recent report the association criticises the government for not clearly stating in the information as to how the regulations will work and types of properties that will be included.

The Membership of the association is responsible for nearly 40% of all private rented housing stock throughout the British countryside, and the authority has demanded that the Government should thoroughly review the information and to revise the mistakes that should not penalise traditionally built homes. If the mistakes are not rectified then more than 100,000 older properties will record a higher EPC rating than previously affecting nearly a third of privately rented homes making them falsely illegal to rent out.

The association is demanding the Government to review the EPC, as it should not be basing their calculations by fuel prices but on energy use.

The president of the association, Ross Murray, said: “Uncertainty over how the Government intend the MEES regulations to work, the failure of the EPC to accurately assess older homes and the potentially damaging impact of some energy efficiency improvement recommendations constitutes a perfect storm not just for rural landlords but all owners of old houses. We want to encourage better investment in the rural private rented sector to provide safe, warm homes. But to ensure all property owners are channelling the right kind of investment into the right type of improvements, we want to see the methodology used for assessing energy efficiency urgently reformed so it does not discriminate against or recommend inappropriate retrofits for old rural properties.”

He added: “Rural landlords are in a very difficult situation. It is scandalous to have this level of uncertainty with just over a year to the deadline, especially with such an acute shortage of rented properties in rural areas.”

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