Research from Mortgage Advice Bureau shows that almost two-thirds of landlords would consider selling their property due to not being able to afford the changes needed to meet the potential minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) regulation minimum level.
Almost two-thirds (59%) of landlords admit they might have to sell up, whilst more than a quarter – 28% – of landlords said they were extremely concerned about the costs of upgrading their property and that it could not have come at a worse time.
A third – 34% – said it was quite likely they would sell their property instead of upgrading it one in three -30% – said they will potentially pass the cost of upgrading onto their tenants.
iHowz have been urging the Government to make it clear what will be required of them (see our campaign), with little in the way of policies, announcements, or clarity for landlords, leaving them confused about what upgrades will help.
A quarter – 26% – said they are planning on installing a smart meter to help hit a grade C, 25% would install LED lighting, while only 16% have sought the help and advice from a professional tradesperson to understand which changes would benefit them most.
Other, more proven methods to improve EPC ratings were less popular, but are still being considered by landlords. Only 22% would consider installing a new modern boiler, and only a fifth (20%) would consider installing more insulation – a proven way of keeping heat in.
Many landlords are concerned and anxious about how they will afford these changes. According to the research, a quarter – 25% – said it was likely they wouldn’t be able to afford the changes, while a third (34%) said it was quite likely they would sell their property instead of upgrading it.
Almost a third (28%) said the cost of upgrading was extremely concerning and couldn’t have come at a worse time for them, considering the cost-of-living and interest rate increases which have squeezed the finances of many landlords. Although they did realise the need for the changes, 20% of those surveyed said it was an unfortunate but necessary spend, even though the cost was a concern. On the other hand, 32% said it was an unwelcome spend and a big worry of theirs.
Ben Thompson, deputy CEO of Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The need for more efficient housing is obvious and has had a lot of focus placed on it in recent months. For renters, it means potentially lower utility bills, and for the UK’s climate goals, our leaky housing stock is a big barrier to getting to net-zero.
“However, for landlords, the proposed changes to upgrade to at least a C instead of the current E will mean they face having to foot large retrofitting bills. Our research shows just how confused and worried they are by this. Even if (as rumoured recently) the government delay the proposed deadline to 2028 for all rental properties, it isn’t long to find the money needed for the upgrades. This is especially challenging when considering the recent economic climate, which has seen mortgage rates increase and the cost of everyday items go up and up. There clearly needs to be more advice, guidance, and help for landlords.”