Whilst the Government reneges on increasing energy efficiency regulations for private rented housing, improving the energy performance of the Private Rented Sector by 2030 must remain a priority for the Government to meet its net-zero target.
In September last year, the Prime Minister announced a U-turn on increasing energy efficiency regulations for private rented housing. However, it was also announced that the Government remains committed to a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
With homes accounting for a third of the UK’s total gas usage, improving the energy performance of the Private Rented Sector will continue to play a key role in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions. This is why the Climate Change Committee’s original recommendation to the Government was that, in order to meet the 2050 net-zero target, the energy efficiency of private housing be improved before 2030 to help bring emissions down by 68%.
Multiple benefits have been associated with upgrading our home’s energy performance. Not only could it support households struggling with the cost of living, it has been estimated to save the NHS as much as £340 million per year.
In his speech, the Prime Minister raised concerns about the costs of upgrading homes and the knock-on effects this might have on tenants’ rents. Criticising the Government’s ‘one size fits all’ approach, the NRLA indicated that, whilst many landlords support energy efficiency improvements, there were concerns that some properties would require more financial support than would be made available through government funds.
The most recent English Housing Survey showed that energy efficiency in private rented housing was significantly lower when compared to owner occupied and social housing. Whilst landlords have an important role to play, their concerns indicate that what is needed is not fewer policy initiatives for the private rented sector but more that reflect the sector’s diverse needs.