Thousands of landlords could win exemptions from new energy efficiency rules due to a lack of available funding for improvement measures, BusinessGreen has learned. From April 2018, it will be illegal to rent out a property with the lowest energy efficiency ratings of F and G without a valid exemption under the government’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards regulations. The rules are expected to impact around 330,000 buy-to-let homes in the UK and are regarded as a key measure in improving the energy efficiency of private rented properties. However, official draft guidance seen by BusinessGreen reveals landlords will be exempt from the rules if they can prove they cannot access financing or grants to fully cover the upfront cost of installation. Such funding comes in the guise of local authority or central government loans, or support under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme or Green Deal, the recently-revived programme that offers loans to homeowners to pay for energy efficiency measures, with the balance of the loan paid back through savings on energy bills. However, with severe cuts to council funding, a scaling back of the ECO scheme to focus on the fuel poor, and the Green Deal only just re-launched following the government’s decision to scrap the scheme in 2015 after poor take up, concerns are mounting the guidance will open the door for thousands of landlords to avoid the new standards. Joanne Wade, chief executive of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, fears the scarcity of ‘no cost’ funding schemes will mean many landlords will apply for an exemption to the standard, leaving thousands of tenants left in draughty, energy-hungry homes.
Business Green 3rd Aug 2017 read more »