Landlords should be offered tax breaks to cope with a surge in the cost of insulating homes for energy efficiency, the National Association of Property Buyers has suggested.
According to the NAPB, wage increases and a rise in production costs amounting to as much as 20% mean property owners now face having to find hundreds more pounds for the job of insulation. Association spokesman Jonathan Rolande said the rise in price has created an “enormous” task for fulfilling the government commitment to improving energy efficiency ratings of homes to band C by 2030.
Rolande believes a potential answer is to offer tax incentives to landlords in a bid to encourage them to provide better insulation to rental properties. The NAPB would also back a national awareness campaign to highlight the scale of the issue, he added.
Before Christmas, parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee recommended a “war effort” to insulate homes in 2023 – saying officials had failed to take the opportunity “during the warmer months of 2022” when it became clear that consumers would be facing a huge rise in energy costs this winter. While the government has committed in theory to improve the energy efficiency ratings of homes to band C by 2030, the committee said this was was “vague and unspecific” without appropriate interim targets to measure delivery.
The new government insulation scheme launched in November was criticised by Rolande as being “disastrously ill-timed”. He said: “Whoever decided to launch that campaign in November has serious questions to answer. It was never realistic that rushing to insulate homes in late 2022 was going to work. The effects of increased post-pandemic demand, coupled with rising costs and wages in the sector has made insulating your home a far more costly job now than 12 months ago.”
Rolande believes the “quickest and most beneficial fix” would be to target the private rented sector. “Around five million homes are let in the UK and landlords currently have little incentive to insulate, leaving hard-pressed tenants to foot the bill for heating,” he said. “This is exacerbated by the fact that often, rental homes are within older, less efficient buildings.
“Often the poorest and most vulnerable people rent their home. Landlords are often amongst the wealthier in society. Why haven’t tax breaks to these landlords been offered to give an urgent reason to improve the homes of their tenants? The cost would be far less than a full subsidy, and the work required to administer it far less too.
“Well publicised clarity from the government is now essential too, in order to explain precisely what the ambitions are and crucially, who will pay for them,” Rolande added. “Landlords need a clear reason to improve their investments.”