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Michael Gove Urges Government to Ease Energy Efficiency Plans for Rented Housing

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph following the Uxbridge by-election, Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, has called for a revision of the planned energy efficiency reforms for private landlords. Gove emphasized the need to “relax the pace” of implementing changes to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards for private rented housing.

The government had concluded its consultation on minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties in January 2021. The proposal outlined that by April 2025, all new tenancies should be for properties with an energy performance rating of C or higher, and this requirement should be extended to all private rented housing by April 2028. Additionally, a national cap of £10,000 on landlords’ contributions to energy efficiency improvements was suggested.

However, in the interview with the Housing Secretary, the Sunday Telegraph reported, “Gove wants to relax the current rules that will ban landlords from renting out their homes unless they pay to increase the Energy Performance Certificate rating of their properties by 2028, which could include spending thousands on fitting a heat pump, insulation or solar panels.”

Gove stated, “My own strong view is that we’re asking too much too quickly. We do want to move towards greater energy efficiency, but just at this point, when landlords face so much, I think that we should relax the pace that’s been set for people in the private rented sector, particularly because many of them are currently facing a big capital outlay in order to improve that efficiency.”

Ben Beadle, Chief Executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, expressed concern in response to Gove’s suggestion of a delay in energy efficiency proposals for the private rental sector. Beadle remarked, “It is over two years since the government completed its consultation on energy efficiency standards in rented homes. As a result of the delay in responding to this, there was never any hope of meeting the originally proposed deadlines, as we told the Minister earlier this month.”

While the National Residential Landlords Association supports efforts to enhance energy efficiency in rental properties, they stress the necessity for a clear plan with a fair financial package to support these improvements. Beadle added, “Ministers need to develop a proper plan that includes a fair financial package to support improvements in the private rented sector. We will continue to work with all parties to develop pragmatic and workable proposals.”

The debate over the timeline for implementing energy efficiency measures in private rented housing is ongoing, with stakeholders calling for a balanced approach that ensures both environmental progress and financial feasibility for landlords. The government will need to consider these concerns while striving to achieve its energy efficiency goals in the housing sector.