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Elmhurst supports move to 'EPC band C' private rented homes


Elmhurst has submitted its response to the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation which looks at improving the energy performance of privately rented homes in England and Wales.

As with all consultations Elmhurst reflected on the questions posed by the consultation and created a draft response before Christmas in order to stimulate debate amongst our expert members as well as other housing and energy professionals within the industry. We listened to all feedback and incorporated the views into our final response where we could.

A huge thank you to our members who took the time to respond to our draft. The overarching feeling was that these homes are some of the worst in terms of energy efficiency, but that the step to EPC band C may be tricky for some homes. Many responded saying that the policy needs to be careful to ensure that landlords do not either ignore the rules, or due to cost implications, end up selling homes back into the owner occupied sector.

We advocate throughout our final response that energy assessors need to be the first port of call when undertaking assessments and understanding EPCs. Elmhurst members can offer advice to landlords on how to achieve the minimum energy requirements for their property. PAS 2035 also gives the quality control framework to obtain whole house medium term plans on what measures to install in order to make the home warmer, cheaper to run and compliant with legal requirements.

The principles which influence our responses are:

  • To assist BEIS to consider all aspects of the impact of changes to legislation on the private rented sector taking into account ways in which the national housing stock can be improved in respect of energy efficiency, whilst considering fuel poverty, energy costs and the need to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Approximately a fifth of the UK population now lives in privately rented accommodation.
  • Robust enforcement of the Private Rented Sector Regulations in general and the Exemptions Register in particular is timely for review.

Executive summary of Elmhurst’s response:

  • We support the move to EPC band C private rented homes
  • We support the addition of a carbon metric to be used, using medium term plans to ensure good outcomes for landlords and tenants
  • We advocate for a fabric first, whole house approach, using PAS 2035 principals
  • We call for adequate funding and resourcing for compliance and enforcement
  • We call for independent competency scheme to apply for exemptions (not self-declared)

Stuart Fairlie, Technical & Operations Director at Elmhurst, states “We welcome the consultation and we fully believe that the PRS regulations implemented a few years back, was just the beginning of the road towards warmer, cheaper to run, more energy efficient and healthier rental homes. We therefore support the drive towards a tougher target where it is appropriate, achievable and safe to do so.”

“We must ensure that we not only drive down the costs to run these private rented homes, but, also create better homes for the climate by reducing carbon emissions. The methodology and assessment process delivers both metrics (cost and carbon) and we support the move towards compliance on more than one metric. All metrics should be given equal prominence on the new look EPC, with policy dictating the standards required. If landlords and thereby tenants are to meet the new targets, they will need to seek advice from energy professionals (Elmhurst members), and the whole house approach is needed so that the right measure(s) go into the right home in the right order, for the good of the landlord and the occupier.”

Elmhurst encourages all stakeholders to respond to this important consultation, which you can do using the link provided below.

The deadline for this consultation is: 8th January 2021 at 11:45pm

Link To Consultation