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Mis-shaped carrot – the new green

As COP26 – the United Nations Climate Change Conference - gets underway we will all be wondering how we can do our bit. One of the most significant challenges in reaching net zero is the need to retrofit the nation’s housing stock with improved insulation and green heating systems to increase energy efficiency.

The UK Government announcement of £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings from 2022 to 2025 is a substantial investment, but only a fraction of this will specifically help bring privately owned and rented homes up to target standards.

In parallel the Government is currently proposing to, again, raise the bar for landlords, requiring all rented properties to reach band “C” by 2025 and for new tenancies and 2028 for all tenancies.

It was hoped that that our Government would recognise the need for a long-term financial plan to support homeowners and landlords with making energy efficiency improvements. Instead, a £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme will provide £5,000 grants to incentivise the installation of low-carbon heating systems. However our experience on the ground is that there is still deep scepticism regarding air source heating systems which have a reputation for being expensive to run and maintain before capital cost is considered.

The second caution is that these grants will not be accessible unless energy efficiency can be demonstrated. Insulation and double plus glazing are items which tenants are prepared to pay a premium for and therefore are positive landlord investments which we would be encourage landlords to consider.

The above may be a mis-shaped carrot, but there is no doubt the stick won’t be far behind.

Jackie Monro FARLA FNAEA, Head of Lettings

Jackie 2021

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