31 Mar 23

A think tank is accusing landlords of being unwilling to spend money on insulating draughty rental properties.

The cross-party Social Market Foundation claims 60 per cent of landlords are unwilling to commit over £250 towards the costs of improving the energy efficiency of a rented property.

The SMF says government targets to decarbonize homes are likely to fail if politicians cannot ensure private rented sector landlords do more to better insulate rented homes.

Polling for the SMF asked landlords and homeowners how much they were willing to pay out of their own pockets towards a government-discounted insulation upgrade.

Homeowners were more willing than landlords to say they would contribute. Some 41 per cent of homeowners said they would contribute more than £500 to state-funded energy efficiency work on their property, but only 30 per cent of landlords said the same.

The foundation claims that 60 per cent of private rented sector homes have an EPC rating of D or below, and says: “That means understanding how to encourage the private rented sector to make energy efficiency upgrades should now be a key focus of climate policy.”

Previous SMF work on the private rented sector has found that just over half of renters dislike being unable to make energy efficiency improvements to the home, rising to three in five among parents.

The SMF says it’s going to conduct a series of focus groups and interviews of the different groups throughout the spring “to better understand barriers to home energy efficiency upgrade.”

Niamh O Regan, a researcher at the Social Market Foundation, says: “Too many British homes have poor energy efficiency, so the people who live in them are poorer and colder than they should be. And too many of those homes are rented out by landlords who aren’t willing to make their properties less draughty.

“Given the continuing growth of the private rented sector, the reluctance of many landlords to take action on energy efficiency is now a significant threat to Britain’s carbon reduction targets. 

“The politicians who rightly see Net Zero as key to our future should be working urgently on new measures to ensure rented properties become warmer and cheaper and more energy efficient.”

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