The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has urged the government to be more ambitious than the current proposals for all new or renewed private sector tenancies that require properties to have at least a “C” rating on their energy performance certificate by 2030. To achieve this, the RLA has called for all work carried out by landlords that is recommended on an EPC to be considered a tax-deductible repair.
The RLA’s research body, PEARL, has found that 37% of landlords with properties rated F or G are unable to afford to bring their property up to at least an E rating. On average, such landlords reported that it would cost them almost £5,800 to bring their properties up to the required standard.
David Smith, RLA Policy Director, believes these issues are better tackled through use of taxation to change culture. Regulatory approaches ensure changes are made to comply with minimum standards but often fail at achieving anything more. Introduction of monetary savings through tax relief may encourage struggling landlords to not only raise efficiencies to minimum standards but to even higher standards. Installing a culture that looks at improved energy efficiency as making physical monetary savings could be key in incentivising change.
In the Committee on Climate Change’s annual report, UK carbon budgets were projected to miss carbon targets set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. A key reason for this was found to be the lack of progress towards reducing buildings’ emissions. Previous government approaches to tackle this included the Landlord Energy Savings Allowance, which failed and was withdrawn due to lack of take up by the private-renting sector.
Regulation is effective at hitting targets in the short-term but in order to ensure greater improvements in energy efficiency and sustainability in the long-term, changing outlooks on the matter may be more appropriate. Proposals from the RLA to use taxation as the lever to change could be a smart approach that the government should consider utilising.