Landlords scramble to buy eco properties and avoid £10k upgrade costs

The Telegraph has published a series of articles recently on landlords.  This one is about buying energy efficient homes.  It can be seen here, and says:

Landlords have scrambled to buy energy-efficient properties in a bid to get ahead of costly eco upgrades that could land them with a £10,000 bill.

Half of all homes bought by investors so far this year had an Energy Performance Rating of C or above. This was a record high, and up from a third of buy-to-let purchases in 2020, according to estate agency Hamptons.

Landlords have flocked to more eco-friendly investments ahead of Government targets to ensure all new lets have an EPC rating of at least C by 2025, and by 2028 for existing lets.

The new rules are yet to be finalised, but they are expected to land investors with a bill of £10,000 per property to make upgrades. Landlords who miss these deadlines will be fined up to £30,000.

Aneisha Beveridge, of Hamptons, said: “Given it will prove impossible for all homes to secure an EPC rating of at least a C without significant cost, it’s likely to mean older homes will become considerably less attractive to landlords.

“Instead, investors may focus their strategy on buying new-builds, with rental homes becoming concentrated in blocks or streets where properties already hold a C rated EPC certificate, or where it’s possible to achieve this without significant work.”

The share of landlords purchasing property with an EPC rating of A to C surged last year

Line chart with 11 data points.
It comes as investors face costs of £10,000 to meet EPC targets by 2025
The chart has 1 X axis displaying values. Range: 2011.9 to 2022.1.
The chart has 1 Y axis displaying Share of landlords (%). Range: 25 to 55.

End of interactive chart.

Investors have increasingly turned their attention to newer build homes, especially flats, which typically have better EPC ratings.

This trend has contributed to a north-south divide between the energy efficiency of rental homes, with landlords in London buying the most efficient buy-to-lets in England and Wales.

In the capital, 66pc of homes bought by investors so far this year already had an EPC rating of C or above. Meanwhile, just 34pc of landlords in the North East bought a buy-to-let with a rating of between A to C.

Investors keen to get ahead of the incoming eco rules have been buoyed by a growing number of banks and building societies offering lower mortgage rates to landlords buying more energy efficient properties.

Eight more lenders are offering these green mortgages to landlords since August last year, according to Property Master, a buy-to-let broker. The number of deals has jumped by a third to 524 in the same period.

Angus Stewart, of Property Master, said: “Lenders are now willing to offer landlords preferential mortgage rates if they are buying a property with a higher EPC rating, so we are seeing an increase in investors doing just that.

“These landlords are saving on their finance costs and avoiding having to do work on properties they are buying now, to make sure they meet these requirements when the regulations change in 2025.”

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