A recent study by British Gas has shed light on the pressing need for energy efficiency improvements in the UK’s private rental sector.
According to the study, 81% of landlords acknowledge the necessity for such improvements, yet only 23% are prepared to undertake them. This gap highlights a significant challenge in making rental homes more environmentally friendly.
Key Findings from the Report:
- A substantial majority (81%) of landlords recognize the need for environmental improvements in their properties.
- Despite this awareness, 44% of landlords are not familiar with their rental properties’ Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, and over half (52%) lack knowledge about available grants.
- As a result, a mere 23% of landlords are willing to make the necessary improvements.
- There is uncertainty about who should bear the cost of upgrades, with 28% believing it should be shared between landlords and the government.
The private rental sector, comprising around 19% (4.6 million) of all UK households, lags behind in adopting low-carbon heating solutions and smart technology. Nearly two-thirds of these homes require energy efficiency upgrades.
Landlords’ concerns about the environment are evident, with 56% feeling that not enough action is taken to address climate change. However, many remain skeptical about the impact of environmental improvements on property and rental values.
The study also highlights a significant knowledge gap among landlords regarding EPC standards and the cost of upgrading properties to EPC C standard, estimated at £7,430. This lack of awareness extends to the grants available for such improvements.
Gail Parker, Director of Low Carbon Homes at British Gas, comments on the findings: “This report shows that landlords are willing to make their properties more energy-efficient for tenants, but they lack the knowledge and financial support to do so… We are calling for more focus to be made on the issue to help make homes more energy-efficient for everybody, not just property owners.”
The report also reveals a disconnect between landlords’ perceptions and tenants’ desires. While landlords underestimate tenant interest in green improvements, nearly half of the tenants consider the absence of green practices a deal-breaker. When tenants request green technology, most landlords (61%) respond positively with installations.
Landlords generally view the responsibility for environmental improvements as either solely theirs (31%) or a shared one with the government (28%), with mixed opinions on tenant involvement.
British Gas proposes several recommendations for the government to bridge the gap between homeowners and the private rental sector. These include introducing a Green Upgrade Relief for landlords, offering low or no-interest loans through private lenders, launching a comprehensive advice and guidance service, starting data collection for Building Passports, and updating the Renters Reform Bill to include smart meter installation.
Parker adds: “With energy efficiency, it’s critical we find the right solutions for each home… Landlords can use our home health check to see what they can do to bring their home’s efficiency to a better standard.”
The study underscores the urgent need for concerted efforts from landlords, tenants, and the government to enhance energy efficiency in the UK’s private rental sector.