Energy efficiency reforms could be the “nail in the coffin of buy-to-let”, according to Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Beadle said that while the NRLA “fully supports” making homes more energy efficient, the proposed blanket ceiling of £10,000 for landlords to improve the efficiency of each property is “unworkable” and “fails to reflect that in areas with low property values, landlords are unlikely to have either the rental income or the equity within the property to finance the works required to meet the benchmark”.
Beadle believes the cost cap should be tapered according to the Valuation Office Agency’s Broad Rental Market Areas, which are used to estimate market rents and set Local Housing Allowance rates. This, he explained, would mean a gradual taper from £5,000 to £10,000, taking into account the different rental values and, therefore, property values across the country.
Beadle also used the column in the Telegraph to condemn the government’s “hostile rhetoric” on private renting and private landlords, which he said has “dissuaded many would-be investors”. He added that tax policy has “reduced potential margins and hiked rates on capital gains, whilst uncertainty about rental reform has driven many to exit the market altogether”.
Beadle hit out at the government’s current silence on proposals made two years ago to require a minimum EPC rating of C for all new tenancies by 2025 and all private rented homes by 2028. This, he said, has “allowed confusion to reign” and led to landlords quitting the market to avoid unaffordable costs in the future.
“Ministers must restore confidence urgently, initially by making clear that the target dates envisaged in the consultation no longer apply given the long delay and by finally responding to their own consultation,” Beadle said.
He added that “government policy needs to properly support and encourage the improvements we all want to see”.
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