Private Rental Homes To Require Energy Upgrades

In a bid to address the issue of cold homes across England and Wales, landlords will soon be required to install energy-efficient measures in the properties that have the lowest energy performance ratings of F or G.

It’s thought that the changes will save households an average of £180 annually, while also driving down carbon emissions and even increasing property values. Not only that but the move could also help protect the health of some of the most vulnerable people in society, since excess cold is the biggest preventable cause of death in the private rented sector.

World Health Organisation figures show that 30 per cent of avoidable winter deaths are down to people living in cold properties and these deaths could be stopped if residents were kept warm at this time of year.

The majority of landlords will be unaffected by the proposed amendments, since their homes will already be compliant. Where upgrades are required, the average cost to improve properties to a band E will be about £1,200, with measures including the likes of more loft insulation, low energy lighting and floor insulation installation. Note that if upgrades are expected to cost over £3,500, landlords will be able to register for an exemption.

Some 290,000 properties are expected to be affected by the changes (about six per cent of the domestic market) – and the upgrades will need to take place before houses can be put on the rental market for new tenancies.

Heather Wheeler, housing minister, commented on the news, saying: “I strongly welcome these new measures, which will help improve the coldest homes, protecting tenants whilst also saving them money.

“This builds on our ongoing work to crack down on the small minority of rogue landlords and drive up standards in the private rented sector, including through our reviews of health and safety standards and carbon monoxide alarm requirements in the home.”

The move comes after the inaugural Green GB Week, taking place between October 15th and 19th this year. The idea behind this particular campaign is to help further innovation needed to drive clean growth, with trillions to be spent in sectors such as construction, transport and power.

When it comes to the construction industry, it’s worth remembering that around 75 per cent of the heat from an industrial unit is lost through the building fabric – so the roof, windows, walls, doors and floors… and as such, focusing on a fabric first approach can be especially beneficial.

Prioritising the improvement of the building fabric can help to reduce both energy and maintenance costs, as well as improving thermal comfort for those in the building. Those involved in the construction of timber frame houses may well want to ensure that they make this the focus moving forward as we head into 2019.