One in 10 buy-to-let homes may be unlettable in five years’ time unless landlords take steps to improve their properties’ energy efficiency.
New laws that take effect in 2018 will make it an offence to let out properties with the worst energy efficiency ratings.
Tenants will also be able to demand improvements to insulation from 2016, when landlords will not be able to refuse tenants’ “reasonable” requests for energy efficiency measures.
The legislation states that landlords must not let out properties with the two lowest energy efficiency ratings, F and G, after April 2018 at the latest. According to the English Housing Survey, published earlier this month, 11.4pc of homes in the private rented sector were rated F or G in 2011.
The poor energy efficiency scores of many homes reflect a relative lack of basic insulation.
The Government is consulting on whether the ban on letting poorly insulated homes will take effect on a set date or whether properties with an F or G rating can continue to be let until the end of an existing tenancy.
The National Landlords’ Association has launched a scheme to help investors to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties. It is based on the Government’s new Green Deal, under which energy efficiency measures are paid for by a loan that is repaid via a supplement on the property’s electricity bill. The idea is that the loan repayments are cancelled out by the reduction in energy bills, so there is no net cost to either landlord or tenant.
“The Government has made it clear that there will be consequences for those who do not voluntarily improve the energy efficiency of their properties by a specific time, so there is no excuse not to comply with the cost-neutral scheme,” the association said.
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