In this age of environmental awareness it’s hardly surprising that there is more government intervention than ever to ensure that every industry is doing its bit towards reducing global warming.
House builders, construction companies, landlords and other associated property industry participants have made great strides in the decades since global warming and climate change became a focus, but there is more still to do.
The government this week rolled back a promise to exempt some landlords from making their homes more energy efficient if the cost of the work exceeds £2,500. Some have seen it as a climb down whilst others have claimed a victory over the announcement.
Previously landlords who owned properties in the worst energy efficiency bandings, F and G, were required to upgrade them to band E or be barred from agreeing new tenancies. If the cost of achieving this was too great then landlords could get an exemption.
The government has now said that the threshold for exemption will be raised to £3,500 meaning that fewer landlords will now be able to take advantage of the exemption.
Max Wakefield, the lead campaigner at green group 10:10 Climate Action, said: “Whilst this move is a step forward the government has chosen not to take the advice of fuel poverty campaigners by setting a higher landlord cap of £5,000. This means that those in the very worst homes will still be left in the cold.”
Energy minister Claire Perry said: “Everyone should be protected against the cold in their own home and today’s announcement will bring this reality closer.”
The government is hoping that this will stop privately rented homes from being unnecessarily cold and damp, raising living conditions as well as the energy efficiency of the home. The new regulations are expected to affect 290,000 landlords, but there are many who are campaigning for the cap to be lifted even further.
By increasing the cap by £1,000 it is estimated that a further 5,000 homes will be affected, whereas lifting the cap to £5,000 would affect a further 40,000 homes. The original plan was to have the cap set at £5,000 but this was later reduced.
Peter Smith, the director of policy and research at fuel poverty group National Energy Action, said: “The vast majority of private landlords are still going to be able to rent out properties which are dangerously cold and damp.”
For anybody whose properties currently fall into the lowest banding for energy efficiency the changes are expected to come into effect sometime next year, so it may well be worth assessing the cost of any upgrades now in order to prepare for their introduction.