Letting agents concerned with Energy Bill proposals

Lincoln residential letting agents have raised concerns over the Energy Bill, which is set to go for a second reading through government.

They are concerned about the implications of energy efficiency standards in private rented properties as then Bill aims to set the minimum standards for the private sector.

Jill Elkington, the Midlands spokesperson for the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), said that allowing F and G rated properties to remain on the market until 2018 is practical “given that around 17% of properties in the Private Rented Sector fall into this category”.

Elkington, who is also the letting manager for Hodgson Elkington the Lincoln based chartered surveyors, continued: “However, we remain concerned about the lack of detail on ‘greening’ rental stock. So far, there is no clarity on how energy improvements will be assessed or enforced – or, importantly, how this assessment will be funded.

“ARLA would like to see the Energy Performance Certificate Register made publicly available so that those properties that do not meet energy efficiency standards can be identified.

“We believe that the Bill in its current form risks disincentivising the lettings market and discouraging landlords from investing in the PRS, at exactly the time when the Government should be focused on keeping properties in circulation.

“We fail to understand why successive governments continue to subsidise landlords with the lowest standards of property including energy efficiency by making uncontrolled payments of benefits,” said Jill Elkington.

Marc Jones, owner of Iglu Lettings and Lincolnshire’s new ethical social letting agency New Dawn Housing, said: “I am firmly behind the intention of Government to increase energy efficiency in the private sector but remain sceptical as to whether the Bill will deliver the changes required.”

Jones says there is a “fundamental problem” with the lettings market as there is room for landlords to not comply with the law: “Until the derisory fine of £200 for not having an energy performance certificate is increased and trading standards are provided with the finance to enforce it then I don’t see standards in energy efficiency rising in the worst affected accommodation.”