Future energy efficiency requirements to ease for landlords

20 September 2023

Rishi Sunak has announced that the government's plans to amend EPC rating requirements for properties and ban gas boilers will be watered down for homeowners and landlords.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has delivered a speech outlining the watering down of the government's energy efficiency targets. These aimed to help achieve the government's goal of Net Zero by 2050 - yet his speech suggests that plans to up the required EPC ratings for properties may now be scrapped and the plan to ban gas boilers could be delayed. 

Plans for landlords to upgrade to EPC C to be scrapped

Previously the government shared that it would require landlords to upgrade their properties to an EPC C rating by 2025 on new tenancies, and 2028 for all tenancies. 

However, Sunak has now shared that homeowners and landlords are likely to no longer be required to meet these new energy efficiency targets.

That means that landlords wouldn't be expected to pay up to £10,000 in upgrades -  with no fines for those that fail to reach this standard.

Landlords and other households will instead continue to be encouraged to upgrade where possible.

The NRLA advises caution, saying that, with a general election on the horizon, a Labour government could revisit the possibility of introfducing legislation to upgrade EPC ratings.

“The Labour Party has yet to respond in full to Rishi Sunak’s announcement, but Ed Miliband, the shadow secretary for climate change, has already said he is ‘in favour’ of requiring rented properties to meet a minimum EPC C rating," says the Deputy Policy Director, Meera Chindooroy.

Delayed transition to gas boilers

Rishi Sunak has announced that households will get more time to make the move to heat pumps or other forms of low carbon alternatives, with only 80% of gas boilers now expected to be phased out by 2035. Off-grid gas homes also have until 2035 to upgrade.

This avoids the need for households to fork out £10,000-£15,000 on upgrades within the next three years. Unsurprisingly, this decision is popular with homeowners. Eighty-three percent of those recently surveyed shared that they were in favour of the deadline being pushed back.

"We will never force anyone to rip out their existing boiler and replace it with a heat pump," says Sunak. "You’ll only ever have to make the switch when you’re replacing your boiler anyway – and even then, not until 2035."

Increased support through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme

Alongside the delay, Sunak has also announced an update to the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which offers a grant to cover part of the cost of replacing gas boilers with a heat pump or biomass boiler.

These grants will increase by 50%, to allow people to access up to £7,500. Octopus Energy even offers a heat pump that is priced so it could be installed for free, when accessing this government support, the Guardian shares.  

This article is intended as a guide only and does not constitute legal advice. For more information, visit gov.uk.

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