Latest News

Rent controls are not the answer

08 April 2021

On 6 April, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced his manifesto ahead of the local elections in May 2021 with some key policy announcements that impact the housing sector, including proposals to introduce rent controls in the private rented sector. Read More...

Rent arrears mediation service information released

08 April 2021

Details of the UK Government’s housing possession mediation service was released yesterday, 7 April 2021, which was initially introduced in February 2021, as part of the current court process for housing possession cases. Read More...

COVID-19 restrictions relaxed and financial support announced

01 April 2021

From today, 1 April, restrictions across Northern Ireland have eased further as part of the Executive's roadmap out of lockdown and the Coronavirus Financial Assistance (Business Support) Scheme 2021 was launched on 31 March by the Department of Finance. Read More...

Long term financial plan needed for greener property sector

Thursday 08 April 2021

The UK Government announced that the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme launched last year will close to new applications on 31 March 2021, twelve months earlier than originally planned.

The Scheme opened in September 2020 to allow homeowners and landlords in England to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion pot to fund at least two-thirds of the cost of hiring tradespeople to upgrade the energy performance of their homes up to a maximum contribution of £5,000.

According to the UK Government, the scheme was designed to provide a short-term economic boost while tackling the country’s contribution to climate change. However, as widely reported, finding contractors to complete the work was a problem. Contractors needed to be accredited against both TrustMark and Publicly Available Specification (PAS) standards, but very few general builders are PAS accredited.

Despite the sudden closure of the scheme applications made before the end of March deadline will be honoured and any vouchers already issued may be extended upon request.

EPCs

For the private rented sector in England and Wales, it is only a year since rules came into force to ensure all private rented tenancies meet EPC Band E, but the UK Government has now proposed going to Band C within five years.

In addition, at the start of this year, the UK Government consulted on introducing a target-based approach for improving the energy performance of lenders’ portfolios. This includes a portfolio average target of EPC band C by 2030 and an assumed maximum spend for improvement works set at £10,000.

Propertymark's view

Propertymark has long held the view that the UK Government must provide more help for the private rented sector with energy efficiency and combating climate change as well as working to the principle that every home should become as energy efficient as practically possible within the limits of cost, consent, and technology.

Read the Government announcement

Quote mark

The UK Government must understand that homeowners and private landlords have little access to funding outside of their own incomes and savings to make high-cost energy efficiency improvements to their properties. Consequently, ambition and setting targets for improving energy efficiency are meaningless if opportunities and support are not offered in order to achieve them.

Lessons must be learned from how the Green Homes Grant Scheme operated and the cancellation of earlier energy efficiency schemes to provide a long-term financial plan to support the property sector.

Timothy Douglas

Timothy Douglas
Propertymark Policy and Campaigns Manager